Falling Truck Cargo Accident Lawyer in Charlotte
When we think of accidents involving large semi-trucks, we typically imagine a collision of a truck with another vehicle like a sedan or SUV. In addition to truck accidents caused by collisions, another dangerous type of truck accident can cause severe injuries and death: falling cargo. When cargo falls from the truck and lands on the road or another vehicle, it can cause deadly multi-vehicle collisions.The Dangers of Cargo Falling from Trucks
A recent study by AAA discovered that over 2,000 crashes a year are caused by road debris. The study surveyed accidents between 2012 and 2016 and found that road debris caused approximately 39,000 injuries. Road debris also caused over 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014. The study also found that:
- Debris-related motor vehicle accidents are more likely to occur on interstate highways. Driving at high speeds increases the risk of cargo falling onto the roadway or slamming into another driver's windshield. It also increases the risk that vehicle parts will become detached.
- One out of every three motor vehicle crashes involving debris happens between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when many drivers are on the road moving heavy items like construction equipment or furniture.
- Nearly 37% of all road debris-related deaths result from a driver swerving to avoid hitting another object. Seeing cargo or debris fall from a truck is unexpected, and many people do not know how to react quickly. When drivers see the debris and over-correct at the last minute to avoid it, it can increase the likelihood that the driver will lose control of the vehicle, making the accident worse. Overcorrecting is especially dangerous in snowy or icy conditions.
The AAA report found that two-thirds of debris-related crashes were caused by unsecured cargo loads and/or improper maintenance. Truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure that their cargo is safely secured. Many large truck companies hire employees who work at terminals. The truck driver does not need to load the cargo himself or herself in these situations. Instead, a team will load and secure the cargo onto the semi-truck or tractor-trailer.
When the team does not properly secure the cargo, it can move and shift while the truck driver is driving. Additionally, imbalanced cargo can cause the truck to flip when the truck driver is making a turn. Truck drivers and trucking companies have a legal duty to secure cargo reasonably safely under the circumstances. To secure a load properly, truck drivers should take the following steps:
- Do not overload the truck
- Always double-check the load to ensure that it is secure before leaving
- Cover the load was a sturdy netting or tarp
- Tie large objects directly to the trailer or vehicle
- Tie-down cargo loads with netting, ropes, or straps
Falling cargo remains a serious issue in North Carolina due to the countless contractors in and around Charlotte. These contractors provide many different services, such as landscaping, moving services, and towing. General contractors who do commercial and residential work such as stone walls, stone masonry, and drywall will frequently drive around and pick up loads of these heavy materials. When these materials are improperly secured, they are incredibly dangerous and could fly off of the truck at any moment. Some of the most common types of cargo that falls off of trucks include the following:
- Car parts
- Household goods, such as furniture or mattresses
- Pails and other contractor equipment
- Debris, rock, and dirt from trucks hauling front-end loaders
- Raw materials like lumber and sheet metal
- Pallets of products being transported long distances
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident involving falling cargo, you need a skilled lawyer on your side. You will need to establish negligence on the part of the trucking company and/or truck driver to recover compensation. If a trucking company failed to secure the cargo when they loaded it properly, or the truck driver failed to check on it, they may be financially responsible for your injuries. The best thing you can do is discuss your case with a skilled personal injury lawyer. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation.