What if the truck’s cargo caused the accident? Can the driver still be liable?

When truck cargo falls out of a semi-trailer, it is probably the result of someone’s negligence. Though the company may be responsible for loading the cargo into the truck, the truck driver may also be held at fault if the driver did not complete the necessary checks to ensure the load was secure or if the driver‘s actions caused the cargo to fall.

Our Greenville truck accident lawyer can help you explore more insight into when the truck driver or other parties are responsible. Our team at Smith Jordan Law will help you navigate all of your legal options to ensure all parties liable for your losses are held accountable.

truck cargo falling out

Who is responsible when cargo falls out of the back of a semi-trailer?

Cargo can tumble out the back of a truck or fly out the side panel of a truck if it is not positioned correctly in the semi-trailer. A truck accident can occur when the loose freight hits other vehicles surrounding the truck or a vehicle cannot avoid hitting cargo on the road. To determine responsibility, it is critical to consider questions about what occurred in the case.

Was the cargo loaded properly?

When a third party loads the cargo, the driver must ensure the cargo is secure. This includes having the appropriate tie-downs or other methods of strapping it into place. There are rules on the type of securement devices cargo loaders can use and particular guidelines for hazardous, extremely large, or heavy products.

Was the truck’s weight unbalanced?

Another common problem that results in lost cargo is uneven weight distribution on the truck. This causes an off-balance truck to swerve. Truck drivers must ensure their vehicles are adequately balanced before driving and periodically check the load until they reach their destination. Yet, if the cargo was improperly loaded to start, the loading company may be held liable.

Did the equipment fail?

If the straps or other devices used to secure the cargo were defective, worn, or malfunctioned, the freight can fall from the trailer. Depending on the cargo, loading companies have specific guidelines for what equipment to use and how to install it. If these items were poorly made or did not perform as promised by the manufacturer, that company could be at fault for accidents involving cargo falling off a trailer.

When is the truck driver responsible for cargo falling out?

Accidents involving cargo falling out of or off a trailer can be the fault of the driver when they engage in negligent behaviors such as:

  • Speeding
  • Failing to obey traffic laws and signs
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Driving while drowsy
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Failing to perform regular safety inspections
  • Driving while distracted

Your truck accident attorney can examine the evidence, such as cell phone records, black box data from the truck, and witness statements, to determine whether the driver’s actions contributed to your injuries when cargo is the cause of your crash.

Allow our experienced truck accident attorneys to guide you

If you are facing a truck accident for any reason, including due to truck cargo falling out, reach out to us for immediate help and guidance. Our team at Smith Jordan Law provides exceptional legal support and ongoing advice to our clients. If someone else is responsible for your losses, we will determine who that is and work to ensure you receive the total compensation you are owed. Call our office at (864) 343-2222 to schedule a free consultation today.

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