Semi trucks can carry up to 80,000 pounds of freight. With so many tons of cargo crisscrossing the country in tractor-trailers every day, accidents involving loose or unsecured loads are practically inevitable.
However, when a load comes loose and causes an accident, who is responsible for the crash? Truck accident claims are complex, which is why it is so important to hire an experienced law firm to represent your interests and pursue compensation on your behalf.
Unlike car accidents, where the careless driver is generally the sole party liable for injuries in the collision, semi truck accident claims generally involve multiple defendants. These may include the driver of the rig, his or her employer, and other parties that handle cargo or perform maintenance on the truck.
The trucking industry is a complicated network of interactions between many different people and businesses. Generally, the employees responsible for loading a truck work for an entirely different company than the driver. The truck driver might not even be on the loading dock when the trailer is filled. So, if the load is not distributed evenly or freight is improperly secured, the driver may be unaware of the danger this poses to the safe operation of the rig.
This could result in a variety of different accidents, including:
- Rollover and tipping accidents
- Loss of control when making sharp turns
- Intensification of skids
- Freight objects falling out of of the trailer
- Single-car collisions in which drivers try to avoid cargo that spills in the road
Skilled drivers can take steps to minimize the risk of a crash if freight is imbalanced or unsecured. Should the driver fail to take reasonable action to prevent an accident, he or she may be liable for your injuries. In addition, if the carrier failed to screen and hire a driver with the qualifications to handle the semi safely, the employer company may also share in the fault.
And, in the event that negligent loading and securing of cargo contributed to the crash, the company responsible for handling the load may be liable for damages, too.
What Should I Do after a Truck Accident Caused by an Unsecured Load?
Accidents with 18-wheelers commonly result in serious injuries to the people in passenger vehicles. You may need to be transported to the hospital immediately, and getting medical attention should absolutely be your first priority.
However, if you don’t require urgent medical care, you can strengthen your truck accident case by taking the following steps at the scene:
- Take pictures of the rig and the road. Most accidents with unsecured cargo extend from the trailer of the big rig to the middle and the sides of the road. Photos of the position of freight items in and near the road, as well as the condition of the trailer, can capture the hazards at the scene posed by loads that are not secured.
- Take pictures of your vehicle. Photos of your vehicle after the accident present the property damage you suffer in the collision. In addition, the location of damage may strengthen your account of how the accident happened (and, ultimately, help in determining the parties at fault).
- Exchange information with the driver. Be sure you get the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance carrier and policy number.
- Interview witnesses: Ask bystanders at the scene to describe what they saw, and get their contact information should you need their testimony later.
Do not talk to representatives from any insurance companies that contact you without speaking to a lawyer first. You may make a statement that undermines your ability to receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Law Offices of Gary Bruce for a Free Consultation
Attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary Bruce have a mission to protect the rights of injury victims. Accident cases are complicated, especially when more than one party may be at fault. If you were hurt in a semi truck accident caused by an unsecured load, our law firm can help.
Please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-786-4352 today for your free case review. Our lawyers serve clients in Columbus, Fort Benning, and nearby areas of Georgia, as well as Phenix City and the surrounding communities in Alabama.