Not only is Missouri the gateway to the West, but we are also a critical transportation hub for supplies moving across the country. Semi-trucks loaded with all different kinds of cargo are a common sight throughout our state. While most truck drivers make sure their cargo is secure before hitting the open road, they sometimes make mistakes. If and when a truck’s cargo comes loose, it can tumble into the road or destabilize the vehicle, causing an accident.
Since semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are so much larger than passenger cars, the consequences of a cargo spill or roll-over can be very serious.
Why Cargo-Related Truck Accidents Are Dangerous
Any accident involving a semi-truck is potentially dangerous, if not deadly. Improperly secured cargo can:
- Shift unexpectedly, causing a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle, roll over, or swerve into oncoming traffic
- Fall off the truck, potentially hitting or crushing other motorists
- Spill onto the road, creating a hazard, especially if the truck was hauling toxic chemicals or otherwise dangerous materials
How Cargo-Related Truck Accidents Happen
While cargo-related accidents can happen for a great many reasons, human error is often to blame. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, regulates almost every aspect of semi-truck operations, from the hours drivers can spend over the road to the ways in which cargo may be secured. Sometimes, truck drivers or materials shippers do not abide by the rules. They may not use the right straps or the right number of straps for a particular kind of cargo. When these sorts of oversights occur, they can have tragic consequences.
Cargo accidents often occur when:
- A driver or shipper does not properly secure a load
- A driver or shipper uses the wrong restraints for a particular kind of cargo
- A driver or shipper does not account for anticipated obstacles in the course of travel, such as bumpy roads, mountains terrain, or inclement weather
- A driver or shipper has loaded hazardous cargo into a truck that is not designed for it
- The driver does not check the load’s restraints at regular intervals throughout their travel
- The truck’s built-in restraints or restraint accessories, such as straps or blocks, are of poor quality and susceptible to breakages
- The materials are not evenly distributed across the trailer; this frequently happens when drivers pick up partial loads to make more money
- The materials are overweight, and the driver has not prepared for or made accommodations for such a load
Filing a Legal Claim After a Truck Accident
If you were hurt after a cargo-related accident, your vehicle might have been totaled, or you may have suffered severe injuries. Either way, you probably do not want to pay for the damages another person’s negligence caused.
However, filing a claim against a semi-truck driver or their employer is not always easy. In fact, many people are not even sure who to hold liable for their accident. Oftentimes, personal injury attorneys have to pursue claims against multiple defendants, such as:
- The semi-truck driver, whose negligence may have caused the accident
- The semi-truck driver’s employer, who may not have properly maintained the tractor-trailer or who may have pressed the driver into working unsafe hours
- The cargo shipper or receiver, who may have made mistakes in the loading process, causing the cargo or trailer to become unstable
- A parts manufacturer or supplier, if a faulty part, such as a restraining strap, failed without apparent cause
- The semi-truck or trailer manufacturer, if a faulty part caused or contributed to the accident
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Whenever you are hurt in a truck accident, you should call a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. Any trucking company that has been in business long enough has a lot of experience handling accident claims. If you are not preparing to make a case for recovery, the trucking company, its insurer, and its lawyers will have already started putting together a vigorous defense. They will probably try to pay you as little money as they can, even if they are at fault.
Your Missouri cargo crash lawyer knows trucking companies’ strategies and how to beat them. The Law Office of Layton & Southard will open an immediate investigation into your accident, begin collecting evidence, and formulating a comprehensive, compelling case for your claim and recovery.
After all, if you are going to take on a multi-billion-dollar industry, you need the advantage only experience affords.