COVID-19 Notice: Malman Law’s staff is working at office & from home so that we can do our part to fight the spread of this virus within our community.

Learn more x
Free Consultations | Tap To Call Today: 1.888.625.6265

Speak to a Lawyer 24hrs a Day

1.888.625.6265

Free Consultation, Call Now!

Can I Obtain Financial Compensation for a Truck Accident Caused by Failure to Properly Secure Cargo?

Schedule Free Case Review

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Can I Obtain Financial Compensation for a Truck Accident Caused by Failure to Properly Secure Cargo?

When a negligent truck driver causes an accident, victims can typically seek compensation from the truck driver’s insurance company or his or her employer. But, what happens when the accident isn’t the truck driver’s fault, but is instead the result of an issue with the truck itself? Or, more specifically, when the accident is the result of improper loading or securing of truck cargo?

Along with truck driver negligence, cargo loading errors are among the most-common causes of serious and fatal commercial truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than one in 20 serious and fatal commercial truck accidents involves the release of hazardous materials (HAZMATs), and even more involve issues related to cargo that is not itself inherently dangerous. This includes issues such as failure to properly secure cargo (resulting in the cargo falling off of the truck) and exceeding a truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for safe cargo transport.

What are your legal rights if you are injured or a loved one is killed in a commercial truck accident involving dangerous or unsecured cargo? Who is responsible for your losses? How can you make sure you are not forced to live with the consequences of someone else’s mistake? Here is an overview of what you need to know:

Common Cargo-Related Issues with Commercial Trucks

18 wheelers and tractor trailers can carry an enormous amount of cargo. Under federal regulations, these trucks can legally weigh up to 40 tons (or 80,000 pounds) while traveling on the interstate and other public roads. Compare this to the weight of an average passenger vehicle (such as the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, both of which weigh around 3,300 hundred pounds), and it is not hard to see why ensuring proper loading and securing of cargo is of utmost importance.

When loading cargo onto a large commercial truck, what can go wrong? As it turns out, quite a lot. The following are all common examples of cargo loading errors involving 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, tanker trucks, and other large commercial vehicles:

  • Exceeding a truck’s GVWR
  • Failing to properly cover loose cargo (such as gravel)
  • Failing to pressurize liquid cargo (such as gasoline)
  • Failing to secure cargo with proper straps, chains or tie-downs
  • Overloading one side of a truck
  • Placing too much weight at the front or rear of the truck
  • Using straps, chains, or tie-downs that are not strong enough to hold cargo in place

Unfortunately, while commercial trucking companies are subject to strict federal safety regulations, this alone is not enough to protect innocent drivers and passengers. One reason is that these safety regulations take into account the realities of commerce in today’s world, and therefore they do not necessarily prioritize safety over all other competing factors. Another reason is that trucking and shipping companies routinely violate these safety regulations, placing profits and efficiency ahead of the safety of other motorists on the road.

How These Issues Cause Accidents

Whether due to intentional safety violations, pure negligence, or other factors, these cargo-related issues can cause commercial truck accidents in a variety of different ways. Some of the most-common types of cargo-related accidents in the Chicago area include:

1. Falling Cargo Hits a Vehicle

When loose cargo falls from a vehicle, it can present an extreme hazard to all drivers in the vicinity. One of the most-dangerous types of accidents involving falling cargo occurs when the cargo hits another vehicle directly, breaking or penetrating the windshield and causing the driver and any passengers severe lacerations and other traumatic injuries. In this scenario, it is not uncommon for the driver to lose control and collide with other vehicles or stationary objects (such as guardrails or telephone poles) as well.

2. Falling Cargo Causes an Accident

Even if falling cargo does not hit another vehicle directly, it can still put drivers in situations where they are helpless to avoid a collision. Oftentimes, drivers in this scenario will be forced to choose between hitting the fallen cargo or swerving and colliding with another vehicle. Either way, the fallen cargo is clearly the cause of the accident, and all victims who are injured deserve to recover just compensation.

3. Liquid Cargo Spills onto the Road

Spills of liquid cargo, including water, gasoline, oil, other chemicals, and even chocolate, can present a variety of risks for unsuspecting motorists. Aside from causing general confusion and chaos on the road, spills can also make the road slippery, and gasoline and other HAZMATs can present fire and exposure hazards. Tanker truck spills often result in multi-vehicle, chain-reaction accidents, and they can cause a variety of types of internal and external injuries.

4. The Truck Becomes Compromised or Unstable

Trucks that have been overloaded or improperly-loaded can become compromised or unstable, not only making it more difficult for the driver to maintain control, but also increasing the risk of tire blowouts, brake failures, and other truck-related issues. Improperly-loaded trucks can also be more prone to jackknifing or rolling over and potentially crushing other vehicles on the road.

5. The Truck Driver Loses Control

Even the most-experienced truck drivers will be powerless to control a truck that is out of control due to improper cargo loading. Truck drivers who are unaware that their trucks have been overloaded may not be able to stop in time to avoid rear-ending another vehicle, and those who attempt to brake suddenly in order to avoid a collision may find themselves completely helpless to do so.

The Companies That May Be Responsible

When a cargo loading error causes a commercial truck accident, there are potentially a few different companies that can be responsible for accident victims’ losses. These companies include:

  • The Trucking Company – If the company that owns and operates the truck was also responsible for loading its cargo safely, then any accidents resulting from cargo loading errors are likely to be the responsibility of the trucking company.
  • The Loading or Shipping Company – If a third-party loading or shipping company placed the cargo onto the truck or filled the contents of a tanker or shipping container, then this company could be responsible for all accident victims’ property damage and injury-related losses.
  • A Truck or Component Manufacturer – If the accident resulted from a defect in the truck, a cargo strap or other restraint, or any other component relied upon for safe cargo transport, then the manufacturer (and any other companies in the “chain of distribution”) could be liable for the accident as well.

Proving Negligence in Order to Secure Just Compensation

In order to establish these companies’ liability, it is essential to conduct an investigation at the scene of the accident as soon as possible. In addition to the police, there are likely to be several other parties investigating the accident as well (including the trucking company, the shipping company, the truck manufacturer, each of these companies’ insurers, and other accident victims’ law firms and insurance companies), and you want to make sure you gather the evidence you need before it is too late. Depending upon the circumstances involved, some types of evidence that could be key to your claim for financial compensation include:

  • The location and orientation of the truck
  • The location of your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident
  • The location of any cargo that has fallen from the truck
  • Skid marks on the road
  • Damage to the road, guardrails, signs, and other objects
  • Road and weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • The location and extent of the damage to your vehicle (and any other vehicles involved in the accident)
  • Any damage to the truck, including damage that is consistent with a component defect
  • Eye witness testimony
  • Traffic camera or dash cam footage

Knowing When to Settle Your Chicago Truck Accident Claim

Once you know what caused the accident and who was at fault, then you can file a claim to secure full compensation for your current and future losses. After you file your claim, you may eventually receive an offer to settle. If this happens, how can you make an informed decision about whether to accept the settlement offer or continue on the path toward trial?

The key to making an informed decision about settlement is to ensure that you have a clear understanding of your current and future losses. Until you know what your claim is worth, you simply have no way of knowing what constitutes a fair settlement. At Malman Law, our injury attorneys work closely with our clients and a team of outside investigators, doctors, engineers, and other experienced professionals to make sure we know how much our clients’ cases are worth, and we give our clients all of the information they need to make informed decisions about protecting their legal rights.

Schedule a Free Truck Accident Consultation at Malman Law

Were you injured or was a loved one killed in a commercial truck accident in the Chicago area? If so, our personal injury attorneys can help you seek maximum compensation for your losses. To learn more in a free and confidential consultation, call us at 888-625-6265 or request an appointment online today. You pay nothing unless we win.

Related Posts

Why People Choose Malman Law

You’ll want your lawyers to be this good.
You’ll want our experience on your side.
  • Icon

    Credibility & Experience

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Icon

    Track Record of Success

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Icon

    Team of Litigation Lawyers

    25,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • img

    They area very helpful and when it come to getting things done with your case I had the pleasureof working with Jason Kellerman he was awesome I highly recommend them.

    - Britany Weaver

  • img

    I’m very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I’ve been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion!

    - Cheryl Wagemann

  • img

    I’ve been knowing about this Law firm for many years through friends, referrals & advertisements , never I thought I would need their services , because I believed things & situations don’t happen to me like this , long story short I was in situation that I needed help & advice!!! The right direction , I connected with the Firm & a very patient , understanding professional woman by the name of Margie assisted me in what I needed 🙂 Thank you I will refer as I was as referred as well This firm really does care !

    - Elvira G.

  • img

    I was rear-ended by a semi-truck on my way to work. I was transported to the hospital and my car was totaled. In the aftermath, Dan Petrich and Anna Schmidt from Malman Law helped me get set up with physical therapy and negotiated with the insurance companies to make sure the resulting settlement would cover my medical bills and a rental car until I could get a new car. I would highly recommend their services.

    would do everything they could for me.

    - Tony S.

  • img

    I contacted Malman Law go my work injury. So professional from my first phone call. Mr. Malman’s investigator, Dan, came right out to our home. Everything was explained in detail so I know what to expect during this process. I certainly recommend anyone ever in need of a personal injury lawyer to call Malman Law. Truly the best!! Thanks everyone!

    - Devin Jones

  • img

    Attorney Greg Lamorena was my lawyer when I slipped and fell. He kept me updated throughout the case and was always available to talk when I had questions. He is a great lawyer and could not be happier about my settlement!

    - Annie Ong

  • img

    Alexis was the attorney on my case! She kept me in the loop about everything with my case. If I had any concerns I was able to contact her and she’ll answer my questions right away. If your interested in working with Malman Law I would highly recommend Alexis she was GREAT. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need!

    - Eugenia Cathery

  • img

    They are so efficient and professional.Always available to help.Attoney Boyer was great and very good with my case.I really appreciate mailman law firm. I gave them 5 star because there is nothing higher.

    - Omolewa Snyder

  • img

    I have had an amazing experiences with Malman law so far. From the start Dan was super easy to work with, got me the medical attention I needed and fast. Couldn’t ask for better communication. Neil Kilcoyne has been nothing but the best I could not recommend a better attorney. Malman Law is a 10 out of 10 law firm.

    - Trevor Harris

  • img

    Hi I just want to acknowledge Jay McCarron, Kelly & the Firm at Malman Law for representing me as they continue to work on my case. Thanks for keeping me updated & responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. I would Highly recommend you and your firm to friends & family. E. P.

    - Ernest Pitts

  • img

    Alexis was the attorney on my case and she was GREAT. She made sure I was updated on everything about my case. I would highly recommend Malman Law if you’re ever in need.

    - Ariel Fleming

  • img

    I had the best experience with Jason and Jay attorneys from Malman Law they really went all the way to settle my case I’m telling you there just the best!! Recommend 100%!

    - Carmen Rivera

  • img

    Adam Meadow acted as the attorney for a family member who was in a car accident. He was highly personable and actively listened to our issues throughout the litigation process. He was able to get us a settlement for the repairations of the accident. We would recommend their services!

    - Greg Gustafson

  • img

    Excellent customer service and great experience. Malman law handled the whole process and it was very smooth. The settlement was a great success. I would choose malman law again in the future.

    - Malak St.Clair

  • img

    Helped me out of a big jam when my auto was hit twice when and the other drivers had no insurance. Adam Meadow is the only Lawyer I will call for helping me an my daughter.

    - Devri Lott

  • img

    I cannot give enough praise to the team at Malman Law, for helping with my case . My children were involved in a auto collision and the attorney Adam along with his paralegal Michelle worked diligently until the matter was resolved and my entire family was happy. I would definitely recommend Malman Law for anybody going through legal troubles.

    - Adrian Lopez

  • img

    A close friend recommended me to Malman Law. I currently have a case with them due to a car accident I had and ever since the accident they have been taking care of everything for me without me having to worry about anything. They took care of the medical bills & helped me get physical therapy right away. I highly recommend them.

    - Vanessa Leon

  • img

    Bella Feinstein, Jason Kellerman, and Terry Davey, have been instrumental in helping me though many difficult situations. Not only did they work to get my mom a settlement, they have continued to help me through the legal process of relocating my mom to a different state. I’m very grateful for their hard work and good advice.

    - Nyah Vuljanic

  • img

    This law firm is the best they got me paid and meymen law kept in constant communication with me which meant a lot to me I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who. In the position they are awesome sincerely. Jeff walker

    - Jeff Walker

  • img

    Mr. Kellerman of Malman Law shows compassion for his clients. Returns calls and emails promptly, takes time to listens to his clients and gather facts accordingly.

    - Steve Acosta

  • img

    Everyone at Malman Law made me feel welcomed and heard. My lawyer, Adam Meadow, as well as staff kept me up to date and were more than happy to do so! I would highly recommend their services. Also- a plus is many employees are fluent in Spanish. My experience was easy and worthwhile.

    - Adrianna Gomez

  • img

    Dan Petrich was the best man for my case of falling through my porch of a apartment I rented. He made sure I got what I deserved not only $ wise but medical wise and that my hospital bills and Dr bills were left at a $0 balance before closing my case. I was definitely happy and glad I choose him. Thank you. 5 stars

    - Jose Cruz

  • img

    Steve Malman helped me with my auto case. He quickly responded and answered any and all the questions I had. My case was a success as well as 2 other family members I recommended to him won their cases as well. Definitely a 5 star!

    - Meagan Cruz

  • img
    Malman Law goes above and beyond handling your legal injury case needs. From the first appointment through to the ending verdict my sister and brother in law were very happy with their case results. Highly recommended!

    - Eddie Villarreal

  • img

    I am very impressed with Malman Law and my experience with Tiffany Alberty. She was very professional and knowledgeable. I appreciate the great communication and never felt out of the loop. She was very patient and hard working on my case. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks for the hard work and all your help!

    - Madissen Miller

  • img

    Malman Law is definitely professionals and skilled at what they do. Mr. Adam Meadow always kept me informed and never hesitated to answer my questions and was open to hearing my concerns. Wouldn’t think twice about referring them to family and friends. Thank you to all at Malman Law!

    - Christina Ocon

  • img

    Mailman Law, Excellent firm!! Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie Gallegos were super efficient and knowledgeable. Great communication—very quick response and great follow up! My case was resolved sooner than expected. I highly recommend them!

    - Adriana Martinez

  • img

    So glad I contacted malman law regarding my accident. Professional and caring. Thank you Mr Malman. I most definitely recommend to anyone if you need the best to call Malman Law!!!

    - Virgil Sanner

  • img

    I really appreciated and enjoyed Yennin Calderon’s service. I called asking questions and she was so helpful. Not only did she answer all my questions and concerns. It was also a bonus that she was bilingual in Spanish! Loved the warmth she brought. Thank you!

    - Jazlyn Caraballo

  • img

    My experience with Malman Law was great. I worked with Attorney Tiffany Alberty and her assistant Margie. Both communicated what was going on with my case, explained next steps and got my case to resolved early. I would highly recommend Malman Law.

    - Ashley Jenkins

View more testimonials
img

What’s your case worth? Submit for a free case review

ALL FIELDS REQUIRED

2 years ago I was involved in a trucking accident involving a 14-wheeler truck that nearly disabled me for life. Steve fought to make sure that I received the most possible compensation for my injuries. I was about to take the insurance company’s lowball offer, but decided to call Steve first – it was the best decision I’ve made yet

NOAH TAFFELPersonal Injury Victim