Unsecured cargo often causes serious truck accidents
Tractor-trailers transport billions of pounds of freight every year across the country. Unfortunately, some of the contents in 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks are not properly secured. As a result, the cargo can shift and cause serious tractor-trailer accidents.
So who’s at fault when unsecured cargo causes an 18-wheeler accident? Who investigates such crashes? And what legal options are available to injury victims? Unfortunately, the answers to these seemingly simple questions can be much more complicated than you might suspect. That’s why it’s important for truck accident injury victims to obtain accurate information.
The Arkansas truck accident attorneys at McDaniel Law Firm, PLC in Jonesboro know how the compensation system works for people injured in collisions caused by unsecured cargo in tractor-trailers. That’s because we have years of experience handling such complex legal cases.
How does unsecured cargo cause tractor-trailer accidents?
A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Compared to a standard passenger vehicle, which weighs just over 4,000 pounds, that’s 20 times as much as most cars on the road.
If the cargo in a truck's trailer is not properly secured, the big rig can become unstable and cause a collision. Ways in which unsecured tractor-trailer cargo can contribute to a collision include:
- Unsecured contents in the truck shift inside the trailer, making one part of the trailer heavier than another and causing the trailer to tip over, especially on sharp curves, resulting in a rollover truck accident or jackknife accident.
- Unsecured cargo comes loose inside the tractor-trailer and can even be ejected from the truck onto the road, causing a serious collision, especially on highways when tractor-trailers travel at high speed.
What laws apply to tractor-trailer cargo?
Many state and federal laws apply to the cargo being carried and transported by tractor-trailers. A lot of these laws can be found in the Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which apply to commercial truck drivers nationwide.
In particular, Title 49, Section 392.9 includes many rules and regulations regarding how cargo in commercial trucks must be properly secured, evenly distributed, not obstruct the driver’s view, and meet numerous other safety standards before truck drivers can transport such materials.
Who’s at fault if unsecured cargo caused your truck accident?
Unlike some motor vehicle accidents, there might be more than one at-fault party for tractor-trailer accidents caused by unsecured cargo. Such at-fault parties can include:
- Truck driver, especially if the driver didn’t properly inspect the truck’s cargo before transporting it.
- Trucking company the truck driver works for, especially if the trucking company didn’t inspect the cargo or hired an inexperienced or unlicensed truck driver.
- Company that loaded the truck, especially if they did not properly secure the contents of the truck.
- Company that packaged the contents inside the truck, especially if they made a mistake at the factory and the materials were not packaged correctly, resulting in them becoming unsecured and loose while in transit.
Who inspects truck accidents involving unsecured cargo?
If your tractor-trailer accident occurred in Arkansas, several local, state, and federal officials might investigate your accident. A local police officer or state trooper from the Arkansas State Police might be the first on the scene to investigate your collision.
If a severe injury or fatality occurred, an inspector from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) might also investigate your tractor-trailer accident. Specifically, an investigator from the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety might investigate your truck accident.
But it’s important to understand the scope of their investigation. Local, state, and federal investigators are only interested in whether the truck driver or someone else violated any laws governing tractor-trailers. They’re not concerned with whether or not you’re fairly compensated for your financial losses due to your tractor-trailer accident.
How can an Arkansas tractor-trailer accident attorney help?
Commercial truck accidents often turn out to be complicated legal cases. Sometimes, it’s because the truck driver or the trucking company denies doing anything wrong. Other times, it’s the insurance companies for the at-fault party (and who are often responsible for paying you) that are the problem. Either way, you need to fight for the money you deserve.
At McDaniel Law Firm, PLC, our attorneys can demand the financial compensation you need to pay for your accident-related expenses, which can quickly add up after a serious crash.
Discover what our legal team can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with an Arkansas truck accident attorney you can trust. Our law firm handles truck accident injury claims and lawsuits throughout Arkansas.