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Rockford falling cargo accident lawyerGetting into a car accident can obviously cause significant personal injury. Such an accident can also result in significant financial losses, as well. Even automobile accidents which are not your fault can end up costing you and your family thousands of dollars. Imagine this scenario: You are driving down the highway when a flatbed truck pulls in front of you. Suddenly, cargo from the bed of the truck comes loose, falls, and strikes your windshield. You veer out of control and crash your vehicle, resulting in significant vehicular damage and several broken bones. Who is responsible for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle? Often, the answer to the question of liability in loose-cargo accidents is not clear-cut.

Falling Cargo Can Cause Fatal Car Accidents

A 2016 study conducted by AAA found that falling cargo was a factor in over 200,000 crashes between 2011 and 2014. Improperly secured cargo was the most common cause of these accidents. Road debris resulted in roughly 39,000 injuries and over 500 fatalities during the same time period. Loose cargo and road debris can cause serious neck and spine injuries, broken bones, traumatic brain injury, and worse. Even more devastating, some people injured by loose cargo are left in thousands of dollars of medical debt and are unable to work.

Is A Truck Driver Automatically Responsible for Falling Cargo?

Many people who are injured in a cargo-related truck accident assume that the truck driver is at fault. While this is sometimes true, there are many other factors that one must consider when assigning blame in a loose cargo traffic accident. For example, say a motorist’s vehicle is struck with items falling from a flatbed truck carrying farm equipment. The loose cargo may be due to driver error, improper loading, faulty restraints, or issues with the farm equipment itself.

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Winnebago County truck accident lawyersMany people feel uneasy driving behind a large semi-truck or other vehicles carrying cargo. Looking past the steering wheel and seeing large crates or other objects strapped the vehicle in front of you can be unnerving to say the least. Unfortunately, these fears are not completely irrational. While most truck cargo is loaded and strapped down securely, loose cargo can and does sometimes fall out of trucks. The debris can easily hit another vehicle or cause an accident. Sadly, people have been seriously injured and killed due to improperly loaded or loose truck cargo.

Trucks with Unsecure Cargo Are in Violation of Federal Law

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that truck cargo is to be properly secured by using equipment like wedges and/or tie-downs so that it does not shift during transportation. The use of inflatable bags and similar materials as filler or padding between pieces of cargo or between the cargo and the trailer walls may be necessary to prevent cargo from moving within the truck and causing problems. Cargo that is not adequately secured can shift during transportation and easily throw an 18-wheeler off balance. This can result in a jack-knife accident or other serious collision. Loose cargo that falls into the road can also be a deadly hazard.

Transportation companies who do not take appropriate measures to secure cargo are not only in violation of the law, but also put the driver of the truck and other motorists’ lives in danger. Companies who fail to uphold proper loading procedures can be held liable for accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by the loose cargo.

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