Commercial Trucks with Loose Loads
Trucks with improperly secured loads can wreak major havoc on U.S. highways. The AAA Foundation reported that 25,000 accidents occur annually due to improperly secured truck cargo, resulting to 80 to 90 annual deaths. If you or a family member have been involved in this type of accident, then you know how devastating and scary the experience can be.
Falling debris and loose objects from a truck with a loose load can become dangerous projectiles which can fly into the windshields of cars and other trucks, or can cause hazardous road conditions, causing vehicles to lose control and crash. Whether the cargo falls off of a pickup truck, a flatbed truck, a tractor trailer, a box truck or a dump truck, loose loads can cause a frightening and hazardous driving experience.
The damage could be as small as a cracked windshield caused by loose gravel to a steel beam or log impaling a car and causing serious damage and injuries. Trucks today carry all types of loads and these loads can present challenges when attempting to secure them to the truck or trailer. Add driving at high speeds on a highway, these accidents can even be deadly for motorists.
Besides flying debris, loose truck loads can also involve spills of chemicals or fuel. These types of spills usually occur after a truck has crashed, causing slick and dangerous road conditions for other motorists, as well as environmental problems and property damage for surrounding areas (e.g. polluting nearby bodies of water).
Not only can unsecure loads cause dangerous road conditions, but it can also make the truck itself unstable. Generally speaking, trucks have a higher center of gravity than automobiles, which increases their instability, as well as the chance that a truck’s load can become unstable. Overloaded or improperly secured trucks can have their loads shift while the truck is in transit. This can subsequently cause poor braking and cause the driver to lose control of the truck, resulting in the truck jackknifing or rolling over, all of which could cause a major highway crash that can involve multiple vehicles and potentially serious injuries.
Unsecure truck loads are dangerous as well as unlawful. In Mississippi, truck drivers can be fined up to $1,000 and charged with a misdemeanor for an improperly secured load. As a way to prevent these kinds of truck accidents from happening, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides explicit guidelines and regulations on how to safely secure cargo on commercial vehicles. There are also stringent rules on how much a truck is allowed to carry, because an overloaded truck can also cause a major truck accident.
Sometimes, it’s clear what caused the loose load to spill or fly off, but in other instances, more information needs to be obtained. Unlike accidents with cars and light vehicles, accidents involving trucks can be complicated. It is important to hire an experienced and knowledgeable Mississippi truck accident attorney who has successfully investigated and litigated truck accidents.
Establishing a sequence of events can be tricky, but is an extremely important element of a truck accident investigation. In a jackknife or rollover accident, it is important to determine if the truck’s load spilled as a result of the accident or if it may have caused the truck to crash. This may seem inconsequential since truck accidents can be so destructive, but forming a timeline of what actually happens means that there could be more negligent parties than the truck driver, such as the trucking company and the company that loaded the materials. In order to find who is responsible, it may take some additional investigation by industry experts including accident reconstruction specialists and engineers.
Since these kinds of truck accidents have more impact than passenger vehicle accidents, you may be facing a growing mountain of medical bills, extensive damage to your property, a long rehabilitation process, short-term or permanent disability, or even the death of a family member. If you have been impacted by a truck accident with a loose load, it’s important to contact a Mississippi personal injury attorney who is experienced with the complexities of cases like yours and can hold the negligent parties accountable for their actions.
The Gardner Law Firm has a deep understanding of the rules and regulations regarding the loading, securing, and transportation of truck cargo. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident with a loose load, you do not have to handle the pain and suffering of this accident alone. Contact us today at (228) 436-6555 to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.