Truck Accidents Caused By Failure To Secure a Load
Accidents Due To Improperly Secured Cargo
There are an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States, and an estimated 15.5 million trucks that operate nationwide. The commercial truck driving industry is an essential part of our national economy because trucks are the primary method for manufacturers and distributors to deliver their goods to market. But it is imperative that it be done in a safe manner for the safety of the other millions of vehicle operators they share the road with. Transporting these goods across our country requires state and federal regulations to ensure that cargo is loaded safely. Cargo that is not loaded properly presents a significant hazard to the other vehicles on the road, resulting in major property damage and serious injuries.
Proper Training By The Employer Prevents Load Shifting and Spillage
Both truck loaders and drivers must be properly trained by their employers to prevent loss of loads and spillage. Truck drivers also must be trained in the proper loading, blocking and tie-down techniques. Truck drivers are responsible for inspecting their cargo and knowing if their cargo is properly secured, regardless of who actually loaded and secured the cargo onto the truck. It is the responsibility of the employer of the truck driver to be sure that his drivers are properly trained to use the correct tools and techniques to best secure the specific load being transported.
Duties of the Truck Driver to Conduct Pre-Trip Inspections and In-Trip Inspections
The Texas Department of Public Safety’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Handbook mandates that truck drivers inspect their cargo not only before a trip, but every 150 miles during a trip, and after every break. This is because loads of cargo can shift and become unstable during a haul. Cargo that has not been adequately inspected by the truck driver for proper covering and security not only violates the driver’s duty to inspect, but subjects the truck driver to liability should that cargo come loose during the haul and cause an accident. Failure to maintain a safe load of cargo puts everyone else on the road at great risk.
Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., Holding Companies and Their Drivers Responsible For Not Securing Cargo
In 2010, Paul H. Cannon tried the case of Burkhart v. Loftin, Dacon Corp et. al. before a Harris County District Court Judge. The Plaintiff (age 49) was driving on a major highway in Houston when a truck owned and operated by Dacon Corporation was carrying a load of 18 ceramic insulators. The load was improperly secured because there were not enough tie-downs supplied to hold the load in place and the truck lost its load upon the roadway in busy traffic.The Plaintiff was unable to avoid the spillage and hit one of the insulators. She suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing spondylolisthesis in her lumbar spine requiring medical care, including a lumbar surgery. The Plaintiff went to ER 4 days later then saw a chiropractor who diagnosed a spondylolisthesis that predated the accident. She had a prior recommendation for surgery 10 years before for the condition following 4 prior injuries to her back. Dacon refused to accept responsibility, blaming the prior condition.
After several days of trial, the Jury found Dacon Corporation’s negligence was 100% the cause of the collision and awarded $233,124.00 in damages. (Attorneys fees were $122,077,20, expenses were $51,645.81.) The award was for 20K past medical, 15K past physical impairment, 60K future physical impairment, 20K past lost earnings, 30K future lost earnings, 30K past pain and suffering, 115K future pain and suffering.
Act Now to Protect Your Rights
Improperly secured cargo causes many truck accidents on our nation’s roads and highways, including those in Texas. Our truck accident lawyers know that commercial trucks are required to meet certain standards so that cargo does not become loose in transit, leading to accidents. If you have been injured as a result of someone losing their cargo in the road, call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., for a free consultation today to discuss your legal rights. 800-298-0111.