When transporting cargo along freeways or other roads, truck drivers are responsible for ensuring that their load is either within the confines of the trailer, or tightly secured so that there is no risk of it coming loose. This can be done with the use of ropes, straps, or other similar types of confining tools.
Unsecured, loose cargo loads can lead to unnecessary property damage, personal injury, and even the death of surrounding motorists. Because of this, guidelines are in place in New York, as well as the rest of the country, dictating a truck driver’s responsibility in order to avoid this sort of calamity.
Truckers Must Transport Cargo Safely
A truck driver’s job revolves around moving goods from one location to another. When doing so, state and federal law dictates that a driver must do so in a manner that ensures the cargo will not come loose and pose a danger to anyone else.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules regarding cargo securement, which went into effect on January 1, 2004, “Cargo must be firmly immobilized or secured on or within a vehicle by structures of adequate strength, dunnage…or dunnage bags…shoring bars, tie downs or a combination of these.” These rules continue to state specific guidelines that include the amount of tie downs required to secure cargo, as well as different requirements depending on the type and size of the vehicle or load.
In a perfect world, all truck drivers along the road would carefully secure their cargo to ensure that it would not come loose during a journey. Unfortunately though, accidents involving loose cargo do occur, raising questions as to who may be liable for the damages or injuries.
Who is to blame in the event of a truck accident?
It may seem only logical to place blame directly on the truck driver in the event of the accident, as they would seem directly responsible for the catastrophe. But if the accident occurred due to loose cargo on the truck, a number of factors could have come into play.
The cargo may have come loose due to:
- a failure of the truck driver to adequately inspect and secure the cargo;
- the loading company improperly loading and securing the cargo before departure;
- faulty securing equipment damaged prior to the journey and that failed to properly secure the cargo; or
- the use of improper securing equipment by the truck driver or by the loading company.
In some cases, there may be more than one liable party, leaving you with a few possible options when attempting to acquire compensation for you damages. The trucking company that employs the driver may be liable for damages its employee caused. In all situations though, it is vital for you to retain experienced legal counsel that can guide you in the right direction.
How an Attorney Can Help
Being injured or sustaining damage to your property due to loose trucking cargo can be a traumatizing experience, and may leave you with questions as to where to turn next.
A qualified accident attorney can help you though, by:
- gathering all available evidence from multiple sources, such as driver’s logs, licenses, and even employment records;
- helping you negotiate with insurance carriers in order to receive adequate compensation; and
- making sure all necessary paperwork and claims are filed within the statute of limitations.
If you have been injured in a trucking accident then, or if someone you know has been killed as the result of unsecured, loose truck cargo, contact the attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. for help. We can offer professional assistance and guidance when filing a claim to recover damages. Call us today at 800-550-0000.