Bagen Law Firm | January 13, 2023 | Truck Accidents
Truck drivers and the trucking companies employing them are responsible for safely loading and unloading cargo onto their trucks. Moreover, they must comply with all applicable state and federal motor carrier regulations regarding safely securing cargo to truck beds. When truck drivers and trucking companies violate these regulations, cargo may slide off their trucks and into the road, causing a massive vehicle pile-up that leaves numerous drivers and passengers injured.
You have legal options if you suffered injuries in a falling cargo accident involving a tractor-trailer, big rig, or 18-wheeler. A knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine your eligibility for filing a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit for damages.
If you are eligible to file a claim, your truck accident attorney can assist you throughout the process and help you negotiate a fair settlement with the truck driver or trucking company’s insurer. If the insurance company does not offer you the damages you deserve, your lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and litigate your case.
How to Prevent a Falling Cargo Accident
One of the most important ways to avoid a falling cargo accident is for truck drivers and trucking companies to follow all applicable state and federal motor carrier regulations. First, truck drivers must be sure not to exceed the weight limits that motor carrier regulations in their jurisdiction prescribe. Exceeding those limits might make their vehicle top-heavy, causing it to overturn in the middle of the road.
Truck drivers and trucking companies must also ensure that they properly load cargo onto their truck and secure it properly. They must ensure that all fasteners are in working order and will hold the shipment in place while the truck is in motion. If cargo becomes loose and falls out into the road, it can impale a driver’s windshield, causing permanent injuries and fatalities. Alternatively, if an oncoming vehicle strikes the cargo, it may cause their vehicle to run off the road or a multi-vehicle pile-up may ensue.
Truck drivers and trucking companies can also help to prevent falling cargo accidents by performing thorough pre-trip inspections before heading out on the road. If the driver comes across a defective cargo fastener, they should remedy the situation immediately before venturing out. Drivers can also prevent serious accidents by following all speed limits and rules of the road while driving.
If you suffered injuries in a falling cargo accident resulting from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, a knowledgeable truck accident attorney in your area can review your options and help you file the necessary claim or lawsuit.
Sometimes, it can be challenging to determine precisely how a truck accident happened. In that case, your lawyer can hire an accident reconstructionist to investigate the circumstances of your accident and determine how it occurred. Your lawyer can then help you take legal action against all potentially responsible individuals or entities.
Who Is Responsible for a Falling Cargo Truck Accident?
Several individuals may be responsible for falling cargo truck accidents and the resulting injuries. First, the truck driver may be accountable if they fail to load cargo securely onto the truck bed, operate their vehicle too fast, overload the truck, or forget to follow one or more motor carrier regulations. In those instances, your lawyer can file a personal injury claim with the at-fault truck driver’s insurer.
Similarly, trucking companies that employ at-fault drivers may be vicariously liable if one of their drivers causes an accident while on the job. Trucking companies also have a duty to ensure that their drivers perform thorough pre-trip inspections and that they take the necessary protocols to prevent falling cargo accidents. When companies fail to properly supervise their drivers, they may be liable for the accidents and injuries that result.
Finally, in some instances, falling cargo accidents result from product defects. Companies that manufacture truck cargo fasteners have a duty to ensure that their products work correctly before making them available for sale to the public.
Companies also have a responsibility to ensure that their fasteners will properly secure truck cargo when the truck is moving at a high rate of speed. When product manufacturers make mistakes when constructing or designing a product, and a severe accident results, the accident victim may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against the product manufacturer or any other entity in the product distribution chain.
If you suffered injuries in a falling cargo truck accident, an experienced truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction can help you determine how your accident occurred and who is responsible. Your lawyer can then file the necessary claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the maximum monetary damages you deserve to recover for your injuries.
Types of Falling Cargo Accidents
Several types of truck accidents may happen when cargo slides off a truck and into the road. In some instances, loose cargo may slide directly off the end of a trailer and into an oncoming driver’s windshield. If the load penetrates the windshield, it may strike the driver or passengers head-on, causing them to suffer serious injuries or fatalities.
More commonly, loose truck cargo will roll into the road, often causing an oncoming vehicle to strike it. When an accident happens while traffic conditions are busy, a chain-reaction collision, or multi-vehicle pile-up, might ensue. This type of accident occurs when one vehicle strikes the truck cargo, and other vehicles are unable to slow down in time to avoid hitting the front vehicle. In chain-reaction collisions, multiple drivers and passengers may suffer injuries.
The seriousness of these accidents and injuries often depends upon the cargo size that falls into the road and the oncoming vehicle’s speed. Generally speaking, the larger the freight and the faster the vehicle’s speed, the more significant the injuries that an accident victim will suffer.
If you sustained injuries in one of these falling cargo truck accidents, you should reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney in your area as soon as possible. Your lawyer can obtain a copy of the police report and review witness statements. Your lawyer can then help you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the monetary compensation you deserve.
Injuries in Falling Cargo Accidents
A truck accident victim’s injuries depend upon several factors, including the type of accident that occurs, the number of vehicles involved, the accident circumstances, and how the accident victim’s body moves in their vehicle during the collision. In some instances, a driver or passenger’s body might move forward and backward, or from side to side, abruptly, causing soft tissue neck and back contusions.
However, at other times, the force of the collision might be so great that a part of the accident victim’s body strikes something in their vehicle. For example, the accident victim may strike a body part on the headrest, window, dashboard, or door frame, incurring severe injuries.
Some of the most prevalent truck accident injuries include fractures, soft tissue contusions, internal organ injuries, bruises, open lacerations, traumatic head and brain damage, spinal cord injuries, and full or partial paralysis.
No matter the circumstances, as soon as possible after your truck accident, you should follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center for medical treatment. This is true even if you are not experiencing any symptoms at that time. In many instances, injuries do not become symptomatic until days or weeks after the initial accident. Therefore, you are better off going to a hospital emergency room and letting a medical provider diagnose you immediately.
The doctor can diagnose your injuries and recommend future medical care. As you continue with your treatment, your lawyer can begin handling all of the legal aspects of your truck accident case. For example, they can start gathering your medical treatment records and bills, lost wage documentation, photographs of your injuries, property damage photographs, and other potential evidence to use throughout your case.
Once you know your prognosis and overall treatment needs, your lawyer can file an injury claim with the insurance company on your behalf and start negotiating a settlement to compensate you for your injuries and other damages.
Obtaining Monetary Compensation After a Serious Truck Accident
If you suffered injuries in a falling cargo truck accident that resulted from the truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, you might be eligible to receive monetary damages.
To recover monetary compensation, you must satisfy the legal elements of your personal injury claim. First, you must demonstrate that a truck driver or trucking company caused the falling cargo accident by deviating from the prevailing standard of care.
For example, they might have violated a traffic law or state motor carrier regulation. In addition, you must demonstrate that you suffered at least one physical injury in the accident and that your injury or injuries directly resulted from the accident. To establish this causal relationship, your lawyer may need to retain a qualified medical expert who can testify on your behalf.
Assuming you can prove the legal elements of your truck accident claim or lawsuit, you may be eligible to recover various damages. Since every truck accident scenario is different, not all accident victims will recover the same types and amounts of monetary damages. The total monetary compensation that a truck accident victim recovers will depend upon various factors, including the circumstances surrounding the accident, the force of the collision, the injuries that the accident victim suffered, and the accident victim’s total medical costs and lost earnings.
First, an accident victim may be eligible to recover monetary damages for their related medical expenses, as well as for projected medical costs, if they suffered a permanent injury in their accident. A permanent injury is unlikely to recover with time. If the accident victim missed time from work, they may be eligible to recover their lost wages or compensation for loss of earning capacity, if they had to change jobs and take a significant pay cut due to their accident-related injuries.
In addition to these out-of-pocket costs, a truck accident victim may be eligible to recover non-economic damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their mental distress, emotional anguish, inconvenience, pain, and suffering, and lost quality of life. If they suffered a permanent injury, they might be eligible to receive damages for loss of their ability to use a body part. Additionally, they can claim loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
An experienced truck accident attorney in your jurisdiction can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine which of these damages you may be eligible to recover in your case. Your lawyer can then zealously advocate for you and work to maximize the damages you recover through settlement or litigation.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Today
You should take action immediately if you sustain injuries in a falling cargo truck accident. The amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit arising from your truck accident depends on the jurisdiction where the accident happened. In some locales, accident victims have as little as two years to file a lawsuit in the court system seeking monetary damages. Whenever an accident victim misses the statute of limitations deadline and files their lawsuit late, they are no longer eligible to recover the compensation they deserve.
One of the best ways to ensure that you file a timely claim or lawsuit is to retain a skilled truck accident attorney to represent you as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you investigate the circumstances of your accident and file a claim against all potentially responsible parties.
After filing a claim on your behalf, your lawyer can assist you during all settlement negotiations and help you maximize your monetary recovery. Finally, if litigation becomes necessary in your injury case, your lawyer can represent you in all legal proceedings, including at a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing. Your lawyer will do everything to ensure that you recover the total monetary damages you deserve for your truck accident injuries.