Falling cargo accidents are very serious. We see many large and heavy commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers and big rigs, on busy city streets and highways. Many of these vehicles carry heavy loads, which truck drivers and trucking companies must secure to the truck bed. However, when truckers are negligent and do not take the proper measures to secure cargo, it can slide off the vehicle and into the roadway, causing an accident. For more information, reach out to a truck accident lawyer.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from a truck driver or trucking company negligence, you are not alone. An experienced truck accident lawyer in your area can review the circumstances of your accident with you and determine if you can file a claim for damages.
In some instances, you might file a claim against both the negligent truck driver and the trucking company that employs them. Your lawyer can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf and work to recover the monetary damages that you deserve for your injuries.
Consequences of Failing to Properly Secure Truck Cargo
Truck drivers and trucking companies must properly secure cargo loads to their vehicles. Motor carrier regulations also prescribe load limits for these large trucks and set rules for securing cargo. Truck drivers must use the correct fasteners when securing cargo to the truck bed, and they must check to make sure that the fasteners are tight. Otherwise, the payload can slide off the trailer bed when the vehicle is moving.
Moreover, regulations require that truck drivers not overload their vehicles and properly balance out the cargo when loading their vehicles. When a truck’s cargo is unbalanced, the truck’s center of gravity might become offset. As a result, the truck or trailer can overturn in the middle of the roadway when it is in motion, causing a multi-vehicle pile-up.
Proving that a truck driver or trucking company was negligent in a falling cargo accident often requires expert testimony. Your lawyer can retain the services of a truck accident reconstructionist—or an expert in truck loading procedures—to determine whether a truck driver or other trucking company employee was likely negligent under the circumstances. Your lawyer can then pursue a claim or lawsuit against all potentially responsible individuals or entities.
At-fault Parties in a Falling Cargo Accident
To recover monetary compensation for injuries sustained in a falling cargo accident, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof. Therefore, they must establish that one or more parties acted unreasonably under the circumstances—and that the falling cargo accident happened as a result.
The accident victim must also demonstrate that they suffered injuries in the collision and that some causal relationship existed between the accident and the injuries. Trucking companies and their employees are usually responsible parties in a falling cargo accident, but other individuals and entities can also play a part.
Truck drivers routinely perform pre-trip inspections before they set out on the road. As part of these inspections, they must determine that they have adequately secured all truck cargo to the truck bed, followed all weight limits, and sufficiently loaded the cargo onto the truck.
When truck drivers and trucking companies are negligent in following protocols and motor carrier regulations—and a collision occurs as a result—they and their insurance companies are potentially responsible. Moreover, when trucking companies fail to hire capable and responsible drivers or negligently retain incompetent drivers, they can be accountable for the resulting damages when an accident happens under their watch.
Some cargo-related truck accidents are not the result of a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence. Instead, they happen because of defective truck parts. For example, the trucking company’s fasteners to secure cargo might break or otherwise fail to secure the load properly. When a manufacturing defect leads to a falling cargo accident, the accident victim can bring a claim against the part manufacturer or distributor for negligence.
Poor road conditions may also be to blame for a falling cargo accident. Cities, municipalities, and other entities are responsible for adequately maintaining roads and ensuring they are always in good repair. When streets have large potholes, cracks, and other defects, it can cause cargo to fall from the bed of large trucks into the roadway. As a result, serious accidents that involve other vehicles can occur. When an accident victim suffers injuries under these circumstances, they can pursue legal action against the responsible government entity.
If you have suffered injuries in a falling cargo accident, your lawyer can determine all potentially responsible parties for the collision and file the appropriate claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can then negotiate the claim on your behalf and work to obtain a fair settlement compensation for you.
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Potential Injuries in Falling Cargo Accidents
Falling cargo accidents can lead to severe injuries. This is especially true if truck cargo falls into the road and another vehicle strikes the cargo at a high rate of speed. An oncoming vehicle that strikes truck cargo might also overturn—or spin around—resulting in significant property damage and personal injuries. The force of the impact may also cause the accident victim’s body to strike the headrest, window, steering wheel, dashboard, or something else in the vehicle, resulting in a severe injury.
In some accidents, the falling cargo might even come through the windshield or window of the vehicle, resulting in a fatal injury for the accident victim. Other common injuries include soft tissue contusions, bruises, cuts and scrapes, back injuries, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries.
As soon as possible after your truck accident, you should seek follow-up medical care at a hospital emergency room or another medical facility. While there, the healthcare provider on duty can take the necessary MRIs, CAT scans, or X-rays to determine the full extent of your injuries. If you require an emergency medical procedure, such as surgery, you can undergo that treatment while still at the hospital. Finally, the healthcare provider on duty can recommend the right follow-up medical care.
Failing to seek prompt treatment after your accident can be detrimental to any personal injury case that you might later file. The same is true if you discharge yourself from treatment too early or if there are significant gaps in your treatment. Under any of these circumstances, the insurance company adjuster handling your claim might become skeptical.
They may believe that your injuries were not that serious or that you did not make medical treatment a priority following your accident. As a result, the adjuster may not offer you sufficient monetary compensation to settle your claim. You can avoid these problems by treating your injuries early and often and by waiting for a medical facility to formally discharge you before you end your treatment.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a falling cargo accident, your lawyer can review the circumstances of your accident with you and explore your legal options. If you are eligible to file a claim against the truck driver, trucking company, or other parties, your lawyer can help you do so promptly and efficiently. Your lawyer can then negotiate the claim on your behalf.
Truck Accident Claims
Victims of falling cargo accidents can pursue legal action against the negligent truck driver, trucking company, or other entity for damages. In most instances, the accident victim’s lawyer will file the claim with the at-fault truck driver’s insurance company. As part of the claim, the accident victim’s lawyer will submit a settlement demand letter and copies of the accident victim’s medical records, lost wage documents, and photographs.
The lawyer may also include a copy of any police report or other investigation report and a victim impact statement. The insurance company will review these documents and decide whether to accept fault for the collision. If the insurance company accepts fault, they might offer to resolve the claim through settlement.
Remember that the insurance company adjuster’s first settlement offer is seldom the final offer. Your lawyer can negotiate with the adjuster, often over several weeks, to obtain a better offer on your behalf. If the insurance company does not compensate you fairly, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in court and begin the litigation process in your case. Your lawyer can help you decide whether to accept an adjuster’s settlement offer, continue negotiating, or file a lawsuit.
Filing a Timely Truck Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Victims of truck accidents that involve falling cargo do not have unlimited time to bring their claim or file their lawsuit in court. For example, areas like Alberta have a very short personal injury statute of limitations. Truck accident victims only have two years to file a lawsuit for damages from the accident date.
If the accident victim files their lawsuit even one day late, they waive their right to recover monetary compensation in a personal injury case. This statute of limitations deadline is extremely unforgiving and has very few exceptions.
The best way to avoid filing a lawsuit belatedly is to involve a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible in your case. Your lawyer can file a lawsuit right away, if necessary, to protect the statute of limitations from running. This action will safeguard your right to recover the monetary compensation you deserve. Even after your lawyer files suit in the court system, they can still negotiate on your behalf and work to settle your case favourably. If the case does not settle, your lawyer can pursue litigation and bring your case to a conclusion in court.
Potential Monetary Compensation and Damages in Falling Cargo Accidents
Victims of falling cargo accidents can recover various damages, not only for their wage losses but also for their pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Not all truck accident cases are the same, and some accident victims suffer more severe injuries than others.
The damages that an individual may recover in their truck accident claim or lawsuit will depend upon the nature and extent of their injuries, the duration of their medical treatment, whether they had to miss time from work, and whether they suffered a permanent injury in their collision.
Many truck accident victims have to miss time from work to recover from their injuries and seek medical treatment and physical therapy. If an accident victim had to miss work time, they can pursue a lost earnings claim. To prove lost wages, they may need to produce a copy of a recent earnings statement from their employer, along with prior tax returns.
When truck accident victims suffer severe and permanent injuries, they may be unable to return to their former job or industry. If they have to switch to a different job—or if they have to switch careers altogether—they can file a claim for loss of earning capacity if their wages decrease.
In addition to wage loss compensation, truck accident victims can pursue damages for their mental distress, emotional anguish, inconvenience, pain, and suffering. Accident victims who suffer serious injuries may be unable to partake in recreational and social activities that they once enjoyed. Under those circumstances, the accident victim can file a claim for loss of life enjoyment.
If they suffered paralysis or some other injury that prevents them from using a body part, they can pursue damages for loss of use. Finally, accident victims can bring a claim for loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
Talk With an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
Self-representation in a truck accident case is never a good idea, especially in falling cargo accidents. These are complex matters with technical evidence, and you are in no position to begin investigating the cause of the cargo mishap. Always seek professional help, which allows you to focus on your medical recovery.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer near you can help you bring your truck insurance claim or file an injury lawsuit for damages in court. Your lawyer will do everything they can to maximize the compensation that you recover in your truck accident case. Never wait to seek a free consultation. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.