truck over turned on the side of the road with a spill around it

Truck AccidentsUnsecured Cargo Accidents

The Placement and Securing of Cargo on Trucks is Governed by Safety Rules

Federal Law requires cargo to be secured to prevent it from leaking, blowing, shifting or spilling.

Federal Law Gives Guidance As To How Specific Cargo Should Be Safely Secured.Cargo securement regulations apply to all types of vehicles including enclosed van trailers.

Improperly secured cargo creates two serious dangers to the traveling public. First, if a load is unsecured it could fall off or spill onto a roadway causing an accident or perhaps crushing a neighboring vehicle. Second, improperly secured cargo can shift causing trucks to lose control and crash.

Where cargo has come loose an inspection should be conducted to determine whether the loads were properly secured under federal law. There are detailed requirements as to the number and strength of tie downs that must be used to secured cargo by weight or length. Even if a load was secured that does not equate to the load being properly secured under applicable federal regulations. Each tie down has a working load limit and careful calculations must be conducted to determine whether the working load limits of the tie downs are enough for the load being transported.

The crushing impact of a car accident is not just physical it is also emotional and financial. Many people instantly go from a person that everyone depended on to a person that must depend on others. The disruption often begins with the need for immediate medical treatment. After being rushed to the hospital you soon realize that the emergency room team is really only concerned about unstable or life threatening injuries. They take action for the person with internal bleeding in the brain but not for the person with a concussion. They fix broken bones but will send you home with back pain. After the hospital visit you have little guidance other than to follow up with a doctor that you have never heard of or your family doctor who probably does not routinely treat the injured.

The next day you realize that you are unable to work, unable to care for your family and you no longer have a car. Medical bills are coming, your monthly bills are waiting and you are unable to work and no longer have a car to drive to work. The insurance company for the person that struck you is calling to request a recorded statement while often offering encouraging words. Why does the insurance company need a recorded statement when the accident is clearly their driver’s fault?

Shifting Loads Are A Hidden DangerLoads must be positioned and secured in enclosed trailers

When a truck driver picks up a trailer that trailer will either be open for his inspection or it will be sealed. If the trailer is open the truck driver is supposed to inspect to see if the cargo is properly placed and secured in the trailer. Some loads are sealed meaning that a lock or a numbered tie has been placed on the trailer to make sure that it is not opened during transit. A sealed trailer ca not be inspected by the driver. This fact becomes important to assign fault for accidents that occur because of an improperly secured load.

Trailers are tall and relatively light compared to the cargo. The stability of the trailer is directly connected to the placement, distribution and securing of the cargo. Heavy, high, or offset loads can cause roll over accidents during emergency maneuvers or when driving at high speeds. Route planning can also the minimize the risk of such accidents by avoiding routes on roads that are steep, windy and involve high speeds.

Auto insurance companies have a responsibility to protect their policy holder and that is not the same as a duty to protect the people their policy holders injure.

How To Load Secure CargoProperly Secured and Loaded Cargo Saves Lives

A trained truck driver and motor carrier should make sure that the following procedures are followed by their drivers and those that load cargo:

  • Match the vehicle weight rating with the cargo.
  • Make sure that the weight and axle weights are within legal limits.
  • Inspect tires to make certain that the inflation and weight ratings are compatible with the cargo and driving conditions
  • Inspect the couplings and suspension to make certain it is compatible with the load.
  • If mixed cargo of different weight is placed in the trailer, make sure heavier cargo is placed at the bottom of the trailer.
  • Check to see that heavier cargo is centered and/or evenly distributed in the trailer.
  • Reduce speed if driving with heavy or high cargo.
  • If picking up a sealed payload the driver should inquire about the characteristics of the load.
  • Make sure that load bars, cargo nets and tie downs were properly used to secure loads.

If these basic steps are not taken a truck may rollover or a load may come loose causing a serious accident.

If you are a loved one were injured as result of a truck that rolled over or had an unsecured load, please contact the truck accident lawyers at Patterson Law. George Patterson is a board-certified truck accident attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and a Top 10 Truck Accident Attorney by the National Trial Lawyers. Patterson Law offers free consultation at their offices in Bowie and Annapolis Maryland. Please call 301-888-4878 to schedule a free consultation.

I have had numerous cases against Mr. Patterson and have always found him to be a superb advocate for his clients while always conducting himself in a highly professional and ethical manner.

Andrew Calabrese

Workers Compensation Attorney

Truck accidents caused by improperly secured or positioned loads are not easily recognized by most innocent truck accident victims. An improperly loaded truck may roll over when trying to avoid a car that made an unsafe lane change. Under the law the car and the truck company are both legally responsible. It is often critical to hold the truck company liable because many cars may have minimal insurance coverage.

George Patterson

Advocate Member Of The Academy Of Truck Accident Attorneys

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If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident or suffered a serious personal injury due to someone else’s negligence please contact the best personal injury lawyers at Patterson Law. George Patterson has been featured in an article published in the Best Lawyers in America. The “best” injury lawyers may be reached at their Annapolis or Bowie offices at 301-888-4878.

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