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Accidents Caused by Unsecured Truck Loads

Commercial trucks have many features that can put other road users at risk when driving near and around them. One element that can prove dangerous is the load of cargo the truck is carrying on a flatbed or trailer. If the cargo is not loaded or secured properly, it could fall out in the middle of a drive – potentially striking other vehicles and causing a serious car accident.

Accidents due to unsecured truck loads in los angelesLaws for Securing Cargo in Commercial Trucking

 Several state and federal laws are in place to address the possibility of a tractor-trailer losing or dropping its load in transit. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has cargo securement rules that apply to all common carriers in the country. 

 These federal laws list specific equipment and protocols that must be used when securing cargo on an open flatbed or enclosed trailer, such as weight requirements and special procedures for securing hazardous materials.

 In addition, trucks in California must abide by statewide cargo transportation laws, including requirements for cargo inspections, properly balanced loads, correct load securement, and ensuring a truck driver’s view of the road and access to emergency equipment.

Types of Unsecured Cargo Accidents

 If an 18-wheeler departs for its destination with a cargo load that is not properly balanced, secured or tied down, the cargo could shift dangerously in transit or spill into the road on the drive. These issues can put other drivers at unnecessary risk of harm.

 Cargo-related accidents and hazards can take various forms, including:

 Falling cargo or lost loads

  • Debris in the road from dropped cargo
  • Damage to the road from drops, spills or leaks
  • Reactive collisions from drivers trying to dodge falling items
  • Cargo striking the windshield of a vehicle
  • Overloaded or overweight trucks
  • Imbalanced loads and truck rollovers
  • Tipped semi-trucks and spilled loads
  • Toxic exposure from hazardous materials

 If anyone gets injured or killed due to an unsecured truck load in California, one or more parties – including the trucking company – could face liability (legal and financial responsibility) for the victim’s associated bills and losses.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Accidents Caused by Unsecured Truck Loads?

 It is important to understand your legal rights if you get injured in a traffic accident involving dropped cargo. You may have grounds to hold one or more parties liable for your crash-related losses under California’s fault law.

 The parties that may be held liable for this type of crash in California include:

  •  The trucking company: as a common carrier, a trucking company has duties of care regarding the safety of its drivers and other workers, including those responsible for load securement, as well as the safety of its trucks.
  • The cargo loaders: if a separate company or third party outside of the trucking company was in charge of loading and securing the cargo onto the truck, and this entity did not perform its job competently, it could be held responsible for related incidents.
  •  A manufacturer: if any product involved in the transportation of the goods failed due to a defect, such as a broken strap or tiedown, the manufacturer of the product could be held liable for any subsequent accidents and injuries.

 Multiple parties may investigate your accident to determine fault and liability, including the trucking company and an insurance provider. It is important to protect your rights during the insurance process by hiring a Los Angeles truck accident attorney to represent you. Your lawyer can help you prove your claim, advocate for your best interests and fight for maximum financial compensation.