Many large commercial trucks tow heavy trailers that are fully loaded with cargo.
Some of the most common freight types hauled on Kentucky roads include consumer goods, agricultural equipment and debris, and hazardous waste.
If these shipments are not appropriately loaded, they can easily spill over, potentially causing a catastrophic truck accident.
It is the responsibility of truck drivers, trucking companies, and freight companies to ensure that all loads are properly secured before the driver leaves.
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has represented hundreds of clients in cases against trucking companies. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Are the Risks of Unsecured Loads Or Cargo?
Unsecured loads easily destabilize the rig. This increases the chance of jackknife accidents, rollovers, and cargo spillage. It also reduces driver control.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, road debris caused the following in a single four-year period:
- 200,000 crashes
- 39,000 injuries
- 500 fatalities
Around two-thirds of road debris accidents occur when items fall from a vehicle. This can be due to unsecured loads, improper maintenance, or both.
Regulations for Cargo in Kentucky
There are federal regulations in place to ensure that truck companies and truck drivers appropriately secure their cargo.
The cargo and the devices for securing the cargo must be inspected during the first 50 miles of the trip. Furthermore, truck drivers should always pre-inspect their load before travel and properly secure the load.
Truck drivers must also continuously re-examine the vehicle cargo, as well as its load securement devices, throughout the trip. If necessary, they must make adjustments.
Regrettably, many trucking companies disregard these regulations, resulting in innocent drivers sustaining serious injuries.
What Causes Unsecured Cargo Accidents?
Cargo loads can shift while a truck is traveling for several reasons. These include:
- Improperly tied-down cargo
- Unbalanced cargo weight
- Failure to cover open cargo hold – on a dump truck, for instance
- Defective tie-downs
- Wear and tear on securing devices used to hold down cargo
What Are The Dangers of Unsecured Loads?
Here are four of the most common dangers of unsecured truck loads in Bowling Green:
- Road debris
- Flying objects
- Obstructed views
1) Road debris
If pieces of cargo fall from a truck onto the roadway, all drivers are endangered.
If you do not have time to take evasive action, you could damage or crash your vehicle by hitting a dislodged object. In cases where you see the falling object and swerve, you could lose control of your vehicle, colliding with another vehicle or having a single-car crash.
2) Flying objects
Truck drivers should always secure loads properly, but this does not always happen.
If you are driving down the highway at high speed, a dislodged object flying off a truck could easily hit your vehicle. If a sharp or heavy item penetrates your windshield, this places you and your passengers at great risk.
If items of lumber or other bulky objects stick out beyond the vehicle, this presents a serious collision risk to other road users. Drivers should always aim to enhance the visibility of wide, awkward loads.
4) Obstructed views
All drivers need to have a clear view through the windshield to operate the vehicle safely. When cargo obstructs a truck driver’s view, this can lead to a collision.
Most Unsecured Trucks Loads Are the Result of Negligence
All of the scenarios above stem from someone failing to ensure the truck was safely loaded. This will typically constitute negligence in a legal context.
Both the trucking company and its employees owe a duty of care to the public to ensure that trucks and loads are safe to be on the road.
Failure to comply with government regulations or industry standards also constitutes negligence.
If you are injured as a result of an unsecured load on a truck, the trucking company or the driver may be held liable, entitling you to compensation for your injuries and losses.
Kentucky Cases Involving Unsecured Loads Can Be Complicated
Most truck accident cases that involve unsecured loads trigger unique issues difficult for non-lawyers to understand.
Firstly, you will be dealing with a corporate entity designed to protect owners and management from personal liability. This means the company will almost certainly be represented by legal counsel attempting to minimize exposure to liability for the company.
It can sometimes even be tough to determine who might be responsible for the accident. Often, truck drivers work as independent contractors, so they are not employees of a trucking company. Additionally, trucking companies sometimes hire third parties to load their trucks.
To streamline the process while also maximizing the chances of getting a reasonable settlement, you should consult an experienced truck accident attorney. They can help you to establish liability, and they will then guide you through making a claim for compensation. You will pay nothing unless you win your case.
How To Reduce The Chance of a Road Debris Accident
While there is nothing you can do to influence how someone operates a truck or secures its load, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the chances of being hit by falling or flying debris on the roads.
- Increase the amount of following distance when you are following a truck loaded with cargo or objects. The more distance you leave between your vehicle and the truck, the more time you will have to react if any objects fall off the truck and into your path.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained, especially the brakes and tires. This will help if you need to make an evasive maneuver.
- Be aware of vehicles in the adjacent lines. Try not to allow yourself to become boxed in when you are following a loaded truck. Always look for an escape route in the event of cargo falling from the truck.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Trucking Cases
If you have been injured through no fault of your own by a big truck, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we are not paid unless we collect damages for you. We immediately begin work on these cases to preserve evidence and get our clients medical treatment.