Every year, commercial truck accidents send thousands of victims to hospitals. Unfortunately, many of these victims will never recover. One type of truck accident often reported in Kansas City is a lost cargo load accident. Large trucks carry tens of thousands of pounds worth of cargo. If the straps, tiedowns or doors of a trailer fail, it can dump cargo into the road and cause catastrophic car accidents. The victims of these accidents may have the right to file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the trucking company or other parties for negligence.
What Are Common Reasons for Lost Cargo Accidents?
Truck accidents associated with lost cargo are almost always avoidable. Truck companies, cargo companies and cargo loaders must obey federal cargo securement rules to help prevent this type of disaster. Unfortunately, companies are often negligent. They may skip steps and cut corners to save time or money, for example, when loading cargo. Many different preventable issues could result in a lost cargo accident in Kansas City.
The federal government has regulations in place for the type of tiedown used to secure cargo, as well as the proper use of the tiedown. Using the wrong material or incorrectly attaching the tiedown could result in the device breaking or unfastening while the truck is in transit, releasing the cargo load into the road.
Cargo that is not securely tied down can shift on the bed or trailer of the truck. This could lead to an imbalanced trailer and a related rollover accident. In addition, cargo or materials that are not correctly secured could shift enough to fly off of an open-bed truck in transit.
Commercial trucks have weight limits for safety reasons. Most trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, including cargo, unless they have a special permit for an overweight truck. Overloading a truck without taking the proper safety precautions can lead to lost cargo. Loose materials, such as rocks and sand, for example, could bounce out of an overloaded truck.
Improper and Poor Loading Techniques
There are also laws for how to properly load a commercial truck based on the type of truck (trailer or flatbed) and cargo. For example, the weight of the load should be evenly distributed, and all cargo should be tied securely in place. If the truck is carrying hazardous materials, cargo loaders must take additional steps to ensure the safety of the load.
Truck Driver Error
In some cases, a lost cargo load stems from truck driver error rather than a mistake with load securement or distribution. If a truck driver starts to drift off the road and overcorrects by jerking the steering wheel, for example, it could cause the cargo to shift and throw the truck off balance. Truck drivers should safely and prudently control their vehicles according to their professional training.
Who Is Liable for a Lost Cargo Accident in Missouri?
Cargo falling from the bed of a big rig can cause serious car accidents and catastrophic related injuries. Common injuries connected to these disasters range from broken bones to decapitation. If you get injured in a lost cargo accident in Missouri, you may be entitled to financial compensation from one or more parties, including:
- Independent truck owner or operator
- Trucking company
- Cargo company
- Cargo loaders
- Maintenance crew
- The state or municipal government
- A third-party driver
If the truck company or another party reasonably should have done more to prevent your accident, that party may be financially responsible for your losses. If there is proof of a broken federal securement regulation, for example, the careless or negligent party that broke the rule could be liable. A successful civil lawsuit for a lost cargo load accident could result in payment for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. For more information about your rights as a victim, contact a truck accident attorney in Kansas City today.