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Unsecured Truckload Accidents

Unsecured truckload accidents are preventable when companies and their drivers take the time to properly secure loads and safely operate the vehicle. Unfortunately, profits sometimes trump safety, leading to negligent loading that can cause cargo to shift during transit. If you or a loved one was injured in an unsecured truckload accident, the Houston truck accident lawyers at The Doan Law Firm want to help. We offer a free case review to discuss your legal rights and options.

Unsecured Truckload Accidents

What Leads to Unsecured Loads?

When loads are not properly secured when truck drivers pick them up, the cargo can shift during transit, leading to serious accidents. In some situations, the truck can tip over or jackknife. In others, cargo may fall off the truck and hit other nearby motorists.

What leads to these types of accidents? Usually negligence. Trucking companies often expect drivers to make unrealistic deadlines, pushing them to take safety shortcuts like quickly loading up cargo to make the next delivery. Truck drivers are paid by the load, so they also want to deliver cargo as quickly as possible. These factors often result in quickly loading up cargo without ensuring the job is safely done.

When cargo is unsecured, it is usually because someone has violated rules such as:

  • Drivers are required to check their load before leaving the pickup spot. They are also required to check loads at certain intervals, such as when going off duty and after driving a certain number of miles.
  • Cargo loading companies or others hired to load trucks must follow specific rules regarding how to load the truck and the number and type of tie-downs to use.
  • Trucking companies must follow rules for maintaining their vehicles and hours of service that drivers cannot pass.

The Dangers of Unsecured Loads

Unsecured or poorly secured truck loads pose significant risks not only to truck drivers but also to other road users. These dangers manifest in several hazardous ways:

  • Roadway obstructions. When items fall off a truck, they can create sudden roadway hazards. Other drivers may not have enough time to react, leading to accidents that can cause serious injuries or even fatalities.
  • Loss of vehicle control. If cargo shifts unexpectedly, it can alter the balance of the truck, potentially causing the driver to lose control. This can lead to jackknifing, rollovers, and collisions with other vehicles.
  • Multi-vehicle collisions. Unsecured loads can lead to multi-vehicle pile-ups, especially on busy highways. Such accidents typically result in more severe injuries and complex legal claims.
  • Increased stopping distance. Shifts in cargo weight can affect a truck’s braking system, increasing the distance required to stop safely, which can be particularly dangerous in heavy traffic or poor weather conditions.

Data from the Government Accountability Office highlights the prevalence and dangers of debris on U.S. roadways, noting that road debris causes over 50,000 accidents annually.

How to Prove an Unsecured Load Caused a Truck Collision

Determining liability after a collision caused by an unsecured truckload in the Houston area is likely to prove challenging. These claims could involve multiple liable parties, including the truck driver, any company in charge of loading the truck, the owner of the vehicle, the owner of the merchandise being transported, and more.

Proving that an unsecured load caused a truck collision involves several steps:

  1. Gathering evidence. This includes photos of the scene, the truck, and the cargo, which can show whether the load was secured properly. Witness statements and police reports also provide crucial details about the accident.
  2. Expert testimony. Accident reconstruction experts and cargo-securing experts can provide insights into how and why the cargo may have contributed to the accident.
  3. Documentation from the loading process. Bills of lading, cargo logs, and other documentation can establish the chain of responsibility for the cargo’s security.
  4. Reviewing safety regulations. Demonstrating that the trucking company or loader failed to comply with federal and state regulations regarding cargo securing can support your claim.

Damages Caused by Unsecured Loads

Unsecured loads can cause considerable damage. The falling cargo can crash into the path of unsuspecting motorists. Debris on the roadway can cause motorists to try to swerve out of the way, causing collisions with others or fixed objects. It can also lead to substantial property damage.

If you were injured because of an unsecured load, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the following accident-related damages:

  • Medical expenses for past, present, and future care needs
  • Rehabilitation and therapy expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
  • Costs to repair or replace your damaged vehicle
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

The car accident attorneys in Houston from The Doan Law Firm can fight tirelessly to pursue the maximum compensation available for your truck accident case.

How Common Are Unsecured Load Accidents?

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, debris on U.S. roads caused more than 200,000 crashes, 39,000 injuries, and more than 500 deaths in a recent three-year span.

Who Is Responsible for an Unsecured Load Accident?

One of the aspects that make trucking accidents more complicated is that multiple parties may be at fault for an accident. Some of the parties who may be liable for an unsecured load accident include:

  • Truck drivers who operate the truck negligently or fail to properly check or secure the load
  • Trucking companies, which are responsible for the negligence of their drivers
  • Cargo-loading companies that do not properly secure loads
  • Product manufacturers that make defective components on trucks

Our team can conduct a thorough investigation into your case and identify all parties who may be at fault. This can help you maximize your financial recovery for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other losses you experienced because of the accident.

Contact The Doan Law Firm

If you were injured in a truck accident caused by an unsecured load, contact The Doan Law Firm for immediate assistance today. We offer a free case review and work on a contingency fee basis, so we only get paid when you do.

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