Houston Lost Loads Lawyers
With their high speeds and large loads of cargo, semi-trucks, and 18-wheelers often lose items that are not adequately secured while on the road. Whether they drop a massive piece of machinery on the road during heavy traffic or hurl stones through a windshield, the injuries from lost loads of cargo can be debilitating and life-threatening. They often occur at high speeds and leave little time for other drivers to react. When vehicles or other pieces of cargo dislodge from these large trucks, objects can be flung into other cars or turn into hazardous road debris. These lost loads can lead not only to severe injuries and extensive property damage, but could also prove to be fatal.
Williams Hart has handled countless truck accident injury cases over the years. Since 1983, we have taken pride in our long track record of successfully helping those injured due to another’s negligence. Passionate about helping people seek justice, we have been fighting for the rights of our clients for over 35 years. Furthermore, our experienced Houston truck injury attorneys have extensive experience with the ins and outs of cases involving lost loads and shifting cargo. Our attorneys are free to contact. We also follow a strict pledge: We charge no fee unless we win your case and secure you the compensation you deserve.
How Frequently Do These Accidents Happen?
Accidents involving lost loads have become so frequent that trucking companies will place stickers on the back of their vehicles. These stickers often claim that they are not responsible for any damages caused by debris from their trailers. Although these stickers do an excellent job of convincing people not to sue for damages, they have no legal basis and are simply false.
If your vehicle is struck by debris from a truck, it is always essential to acquire as much information as you can as soon as possible. License plate numbers, truck descriptions, pictures, or videos of the crash, DOT numbers: all of these will increase your chances of receiving proper compensation for damages. You should also file a report with the Texas State Patrol and your insurance company, then contact a trucking accident lawyer to see what your legal rights are.
When these accidents occur, they are often caused by negligence on the part of the driver or trucking company. Trucks can be overloaded or improperly secure their cargo. Both the state and federal governments enforce safety regulations that require large trucks to keep their loads secured at all times. Although truck drivers and their trucking companies are required to follow these regulations, many of them ignore such laws and incorrectly secure cargo. If the truck driver or company involved in a lost loads accident has been cited for such an offense, such evidence can go a long way in pursuing a lawsuit against them.
Under Transportation Code Section 725.001, Texas law states that failing to properly secure a load is a misdemeanor offense. However, the maximum penalty for failing to prevent a load from becoming a hazard is a maximum fine of $500. Because of this low penalty, anyone injured by a commercial truck’s fallen cargo would likely benefit the most by contacting a Texas truck injury attorney. An attorney with years of truck accident experience can help you file suit against the responsible party and win you the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Causes of Lost Loads
In cases involving 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers, someone injured by road debris or falling cargo may find themselves facing an entire trucking company instead of just a single driver. In such cases, it is important to remember that the primary goal for these trucking companies is to secure their financial profit margins. Their companies prosper when they take the least amount of time to transport the largest possible amount of cargo.
Such goals often become the leading factors in unsecured cargo and overloaded trucks. When truck drivers improperly secure their cargo or overload their trucks, the lives, and safety of everyone sharing the road with them are put at risk. Some of the most frequent causes of lost load accidents include:
- Cargo stacked in an unstable manner
- Imbalanced loads—These are frequent causes of rollover accidents, in which a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. Rollover accidents are some of the most deadly vehicular accidents
- Improper tie-downs or a lack thereof
- Manufacturing defects in the truck or trailer—In cases where the manufacturer may be responsible, it is possible to file additional “third-party” lawsuits against these companies as well
- Shattered windshields from rocks and other small objects
- Cargo falling off of the truck
- Failure to meet specific requirements for dangerous cargo—Certain cargo such as heavy machinery, concrete pipes, hazardous chemicals, and large metal objects must meet special minimum requirements
- Negligence on the part of truck drivers to routinely check their loads as they travel
Regardless of how the accident happened, if you’re hurt by a piece of cargo that fell off of a commercial vehicle, you could be owed significant compensation for your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and other damages. Be sure to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
How soon should I contact an attorney after being injured due to a lost load?
Every state has a statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims following a truck accident. In Texas, this statute of limitations is only two years. This means that it is advantageous to seek legal counsel as soon as possible following such an accident. The sooner an injured individual begins the legal process of filing for damages, the higher the chance they have of receiving the compensation they justly deserve.
Frequently, truck companies will begin preparing a defense and trying to minimize any compensation immediately after a crash. Finding as much information about the accident and the truck involved and directly consulting with an attorney is your best course of action. It will allow you and your attorney a head start on securing evidence and preparing a winning case for any potential lawsuit.
Who might be liable in unsecured cargo accidents? Can I win against a trucking company?
As is true for all accidents involving large trucks, litigation for injury or death can get very complex very quickly. This is because if you or a loved one were injured due to a lost load from a commercial vehicle, you might have the right to sue multiple people or parties.
In some cases, the truck driver may bear responsibility for the incident. Although truck drivers do not usually load the trucks with cargo themselves, they are responsible for making sure the load is secured responsibly throughout their entire trip. In other cases, the trucking company may be liable. This is especially true if they can be found to have failed in their background checks or hired an inexperienced driver. In some instances, the manufacturer of the truck, trailer, cargo, or items used to secure the cargo may be sued for product defects leading to the accidents.
Because these cases are often so complicated and involve multiple parties, it is crucial to seek appropriate legal counsel. Williams Hart’s experienced truck injury attorneys are well-versed in unsecured cargo regulations and will know how to gather any relevant information including driver logbooks and trucking company hiring records.
What kind of compensation might I be eligible to receive?
Although every case is different, injuries due to lost loads can be painful, debilitating, and impact someone’s ability to work. No innocent person should suffer due to the roadside negligence of a third party. If you or a loved one have been injured due to an 18-wheeler or large truck’s lost cargo, there are usually multiple courses of action. You can often sue for various types of damages, including medical and rehabilitation costs, property damages, lost wages, and psychological and emotional suffering.
Lost Loads Trucking Statistics
Commercial vehicles are often stopped randomly on the highway to check for safety violations. Of the vehicles that are cited for violating vehicular safety regulations, at least 10% were cited for improper loading of a commercial vehicle. Also, according to a 2007 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study, cargo shift has a higher relative risk value than any other factor leading to large truck crashes. At least 7% of 18-wheeler crashes causing injury listed cargo securement and shifting issues as a primary or contributing factor in causing the accident.
The FMCSA also provides a driver’s handbook for properly securing cargo onto vehicles. Sections 329.9 of the FMCSA safety regulations provide specific procedures for securing loads. For instance, the driver must inspect and make sure their load is secure within fifty miles of beginning their journey and make any necessary adjustments along the way.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one have been injured due to road debris or a lost load from a large truck, contact the dedicated and experienced attorneys at Williams Hart today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
We have the knowledge and experience to fight for your rights and hold the truck driver, trucking company, and all responsible parties accountable and win you the compensation for your pain and hardship that you so justly deserve.