Dallas Lost Loads/Improperly Secured Loads Truck Accident Attorneys
Semi-trucks are a common sight on roadways throughout the United States. They transport most of the country’s goods each day. However, they’re large and heavy commercial vehicles that can create hazardous conditions for other motorists. They also carry cargo on a trailer that could become loose if not loaded and secured properly.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry and how employees are supposed to load the cargo. A devastating accident can occur if they fail to follow specific federal and state laws.
There are multiple parties you could hold financially responsible for your injuries, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash. To learn more about your options, contact an expert personal injury attorney from The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777.
Safety Standards for Commercial Vehicle Cargo
The FMCSA has specific rules to ensure truck drivers are securing their loads properly so cargo doesn’t fall off the truck and lead to a crash. Some of these rules are listed below:
Applicable Vehicles and Cargo
Cargo securement rules apply to commercial vehicles carrying all types of cargo, except those that lack structure or a fixed shape, such as sand, liquids, and gases. Commercial vehicles include any that use a hopper, box, tank, or similar device, forming part of the vehicle’s structure.
Truck drivers who secure cargo on the back of their trucks must ensure it can’t shift or fall off when they speed up or slow down in any direction. The three deceleration/acceleration forces include:
- 0.8 g deceleration going forward;
- 0.5 g acceleration going rearward; and
- 0.5 g acceleration laterally.
All parts, structures, and systems used to secure cargo loads must not contain any damage and be able to function correctly. There are manufacturing standards for using certain tie-downs, such as chains, webbing, steel strapping, cordage, and wire rope.
It’s a requirement that employees attach and secure their tie-downs in a way that prevents them from opening, becoming loose, releasing, or unfastening during transit. If the trailer has rub rails, the secured load must stay inboard when practical. If a tie-down could come in contact with the cargo, edge protection is also necessary to prevent cutting or abrasion.
Rules regarding the number of tie-downs for each article on the trailer are also crucial for truck drivers to follow. The standards depend on how heavy a piece of cargo is and its length.
- 1 tie-down for items 5 feet or less and weighing a maximum of 1,100 pounds
- 2 tie-downs for items 5 feet or less and weighing over 1,100 pounds
- 2 tie-downs for items between 5 and 10 feet
- 2 tie-downs for the first 10 feet and one for every additional 10 feet for items over 10 feet in length
Types of Truck Accidents Caused By Lost Loads/Improperly Secured Loads
Some of the most common types of accidents that result from loads that are lost or improperly secured include:
Jackknife: A jackknife accident occurs when the trailer swings towards the front cab. Properly securing cargo and ensuring it doesn’t exceed weight limits is essential when the truck driver needs to brake quickly. If the load is heavy, the commercial vehicle will take longer to stop completely. Additionally, if the items aren’t secured properly, they could shift and cause the truck to jackknife.
Rollover: Loose cargo on the trailer of a truck could throw the entire vehicle off-balance. When the driver attempts to make a turn, the loose load could shift and cause the truck to roll over since there isn’t an even distribution of weight.
Lost load: Damaged or worn-out tie-downs, tethers, or other securement systems could decrease its effectiveness in keeping loads secure and in place. That makes it easier for items to fly off the back of the truck in strong winds or slide off when the driver suddenly turns or brakes.
Hazardous materials: Following FMCSA regulations when a trucker carries hazardous materials is even more critical than transporting regular consumer goods. When toxic chemicals spill onto the road, it can cause a fire or an explosion.
Who’s Liable for the Accident Caused by an Improperly Secured Load?
When a lost load or improperly secured load causes a truck accident, it’s usually because of negligence. In Texas, fault laws state that the party responsible for an accident becomes financially responsible for injuries and damages. If you can prove the truck driver or their employer was negligent in securing the cargo load, you might be able to pursue compensation from their liability insurance company.
Truck driver negligence may include:
- Speeding or driving recklessly with an unsecured load
- Failure to inspect the stability of the truck
- Loaded cargo beyond maximum weight limits
- Failure to properly secure all items on the trailer
- Used defective, damaged, or worn-out tie-downs, belts, straps, or another securement system
Trucking company negligence may include:
- Failure to provide training and supervision
- Negligently hired an unqualified or inexperienced truck driver
- Failure to perform adequate background checks, including drug/alcohol use, driving history, and prior accident records
- Lack of routine maintenance and repairs of vehicles securement devices
- Failure to ensure truck drivers are following securement requirements for their cargo
Protect Your Rights by Hiring an Experienced Dallas Truck Accident Attorney
If you become the victim of a truck accident caused by a lost or improperly secured load, you should seek medical treatment for your injuries and hire a lawyer immediately. When you hire The Benton Law Firm, we will investigate the cause of the crash to determine liability.
Relevant evidence we’ll collect for review will include the following:
- Crash site evidence
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Photos and video surveillance
- Truck driver’s driving history
- Data from the vehicle’s “black box”
- Truck driver logs
- Records from the cargo company
- Reports regarding maintenance and repairs of cargo securement systems, the weight of the load, and parts used to secure it
To build a successful case, we’ll have to prove negligence by the driver or trucking company. Five elements of negligence must exist during a truck accident to be eligible for compensation.
- Duty: The at-fault party owed you a duty of care to act or not act in a way that would prevent you from harm;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: Your injury was the result of the liable party’s breach of duty;
- Proximate cause: A reasonable person would find the trucker’s or trucking company’s actions obvious in potentially causing injuries; and
- Damages: You suffered physical, emotional, or financial hardships due to the crash.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Damages
If you got into an accident with a commercial truck, you probably sustained some injury. The injury is most likely severe and requires extensive medical treatment to recover, such as ongoing physical therapy. Over time, medical bills add up and become a financial burden. If another party’s negligence caused your injury, it’s your right to hold them liable and make sure they pay for your expenses.
All motor vehicle drivers must hold liability insurance with coverage for bodily injury and property damage. Since large trucks typically cause substantial harm, truck drivers will have insurance that includes a large amount of coverage for victims of truck accidents. The coverage for bodily injury and property damage could help pay for the treatment of your injury, car repairs, lost wages, and other losses you suffered.
In personal injury, damages refer to an individual’s losses. Different types of losses come in two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those that are quantifiable, such as medical expenses. Non-economic damages are intangible and typically don’t come with a billing statement or invoice.
Economic damages typically include:
- Medical costs, past and future
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Vehicle repairs
- Loss of household services
Non-economic damages typically include:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering (physical and emotional)
- Physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
Choose the Qualified Dallas Truck Accident Attorneys from The Benton Law Firm
We know you’re in pain and under an enormous amount of stress. Getting hurt in a truck accident is devastating. It’s even worse when you find out the accident would have been avoided if the truck driver had adequately secured their cargo.
At The Benton Law Firm, we believe in fighting for victims of truck accidents and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve. When you hire our Dallas truck accident attorneys, they’ll hold the negligent parties responsible for their actions and fight for your rights. You won’t be alone in your legal battle. You can depend on us to seek justice and help you recover.
We’ll meet you for a free consultation if you need legal advice. We’ll review the details of your accident to determine who was at fault and if there’s sufficient evidence to prove your claim. We also take cases on contingency, which means we won’t collect any legal fees unless we win your case.
If you suffered an injury in a lost load or improperly secured load truck crash in Dallas, contact The Benton Law Firm at (214) 777-7777 today.