Fallen Truck Cargo and Highway Accidents
The Los Angeles truck accident lawyers at Salamati Law are all too familiar with the types of catastrophic injuries caused by falling debris from trucks. Cargo such as steel beams or logs can easily crush passenger vehicles if they become loose and fall off. In some cases, motorists may attempt to avoid falling debris and inadvertently crash into other vehicles. In our experience, falling debris truck accidents are often attributed to the negligent actions of the truck driver or trucking company which failed to secure cargo properly.
Falling debris from trucks
Every day, tractor trailers are hauling heavy loads on California freeways and across the country. These commercial rigs are carrying everything from construction materials and vehicles to toxic chemicals. The cargo these 18-wheelers are hauling can turn into deadly weapons when not adequately secured.
At The Salamati Law Firm, we want California residents to understand the potential hazards associated with overloaded and unsecured truck cargo. The trucking industry must abide by state and federal regulations that ensure commercial cargo is properly secured. Truckers are provided with winches, chains, braces, friction mats and other securing devices to ensure their cargo does not shift during travel.
Despite these rules, countless motorists experience near-death accidents when debris falls off, cracking windshields, crushing vehicles and causing irreparable damage. Tractor trailer trucks spill all kinds of cargo that can create hazardous conditions or a serious accident:
- Concrete or cement
- Loose rock and gravel
- Metal beams and other construction materials
- Crude oil
- Natural gas
- Live animals
- Toxic chemicals
- Solid waste
- Produce and frozen foods
- Other hazardous materials
What causes falling truck debris?
The improper loading or securing of cargo is one of the main factors behind these accidents. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which conducts some two million commercial truck inspections annually, the following are the top five cargo securement violations:
- Damaged securement systems
- Loose or unfastened tie-downs
- Inadequate securement of heavy equipment
- Intermodal and/or rear of container not properly secured
- Fail to meet minimum tie-down requirements
In an ideal world, all motorists would be able to safely maintain a 200-foot distance from a truck’s falling debris. But even the most careful of drivers may be unable to avoid dangerous cargo as it slips off tractor trailers that are traveling at intestate speeds.
In some instances, truck debris spills are a result of driver negligence, which may include aggressive driving, distracted driving, impairment or excessive fatigue.
Flying debris hit my car. Can I file a lawsuit?
Under law, tractor trailers and other commercial trucks must have their cargo tied down in such a manner as to prevent debris from slipping, shifting, dropping or otherwise escaping. If the cargo includes dirt, stone, gravel or other fine debris that could create litter or potential dangers to other motorists, the cargo must be covered as well.
When cargo loaders or truck drivers fail to adhere to these standards and an accident results, injured parties may opt to file a road debris insurance claim in search of just compensation. Our attorneys will attempt to secure the best possible settlement on your behalf, and help you obtain maximum compensation.
Who is liable for truck debris accidents?
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there may be several liable parties in a truck debris crash, including:
- Driver of the tractor trailer
- Trucking company that employed the driver
- Loader who improperly secured the cargo
Road debris damage
When cargo is not safely secured, it can come loose and fall off the back of the rig, causing a deadly chain reaction. Besides causing motorists to brake or swerve suddenly to avoid road debris, falling cargo can create dangerously slick road conditions and release hazardous materials.
All too often, victims of truck cargo accidents are left with life-altering injuries such as broken bones, nerve and spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other harm that may call for expensive and lengthy rehabilitation. In tragic cases like these, it’s imperative to have an experienced legal advocate in your corner. The courts afford legal remedies to victims of negligence, allowing plaintiffs to seek monetary relief for:
- Lost wages
- Medical and hospital expenses
- Property damage and repairs
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral costs
If you have been involved in an accident caused by falling truck debris, The Salamati Law Firm provides aggressive yet compassionate representation by a team of dedicated attorneys. If our investigations determine that negligence was to blame, we can help you recover damages from the truck driver, or any individual that failed in their duties.
To schedule a free case review, please call our Los Angeles personal injury law firm at 888-259-4060.
Overloaded truck accident resources
- FMCSA, Cargo Securement Rules https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/cargo-securement/cargo-securement-rules
- National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Large Truck Crash Causation Study http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810646.pdf
- Truckinginfo.com, Top 5 Cargo Securement Violations http://www.truckinginfo.com/article/story/2012/02/top-5-cargo-securement-violations.aspx