Semi-trucks pull extremely heavy loads, and it is crucial that these loads be secured properly. If they are not, debris can fall from the truck and hit other vehicles. Improperly loaded cargo can also shift while the truck is on the road, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Loads that are improperly balanced can cause a truck to tip over. Too heavy of a load can also be dangerous, preventing truck drivers from stopping in time to avoid an accident.
A Los Angeles improperly loaded cargo lawyer can fight to get injured victims the fair compensation they need to move ahead with their lives. Call the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free review of your case.
Common Cargo Load Issues That Lead to Truck Accidents
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, both the motor carrier and the truck driver are responsible for ensuring that cargo is loaded correctly and secured properly. Although dock workers generally do the physical loading, truck drivers have a responsibility for the following:
- Checking the cargo and knowing when cargo is not loaded or balanced properly.
- Ensuring that cargo is securely fastened on the truck.
- Making sure that the truck cargo does not impact the driver’s line of vision on the road.
- Checking that the cargo does not block any emergency equipment.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has strict guidelines that truck drivers should know and follow in order to obtain their commercial driver’s license. Truck drivers should inspect cargo at the beginning of their trip, then once again after they have driven 50 miles. They should also inspect cargo every three hours as well as any time they stop the truck to take a break.
The legal weight of trucks is up to 80,000 pounds. Much of that weight is cargo, and when that cargo is not secured properly, it can lead to catastrophic accidents.
Actions You Can Take After a Truck Cargo Accident
If you are in an accident that involves truck cargo, the first thing to do is to contact the police if you are well enough to do so. Then check on others involved in the accident.
There are other measures you can take to help determine liability. These include:
- Document the scene with pictures and videos as much as is safely possible. Once the police arrive, they will begin to clear away any debris on the road, which can potentially destroy valuable evidence. Take a video of all of the damaged vehicles; you can create stills from the video to use as evidence. If it is dark, make an audio recording of the details of the crash. It is easy to forget things in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
- Get contact information from any eyewitnesses to the accident so you or your attorney can contact them later. Ask for name, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information.
- Seek medical attention immediately for your injuries and be sure to follow instructions for recommended treatment. Not doing so can hurt your case because it may appear that your injuries are less serious than they are.
- Do not make any statements about the crash.
- Contact a Los Angeles improperly loaded cargo lawyer to review your case and to discuss options is desired. You can contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to arrange for a consultation. One of our team members will go over the details of your case to help you determine the best next steps.
An attorney will conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident to determine its cause and to determine who is liable in the crash. It is best to begin an investigation as soon as possible after the crash so your attorney can issue a “spoliation letter” to ensure the preservation of any evidence surrounding the crash. This letter will also demand that any evidence be turned over to your lawyer before it is lost or destroyed.
Your lawyer’s investigation also includes:
- Police reports
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Evidence from the crash scene
- Data from the truck’s data recorder
- Trucker activity logs, which are kept by law to show that the driver followed mandated rest periods
- Cargo records
- Maintenance and vehicle records from the trucking company
- Information about the condition of the truck and details about the cargo
Once your lawyer has determined what happened to cause the crash and who is responsible, they can work with the parties involved to negotiate a fair settlement. In a truck accident caused by improperly loaded cargo, many different parties might be considered fault. If settlement offers are not forthcoming or if they are not large enough, your lawyer can take the matter to court to demand that you receive the appropriate compensation.
For a free legal consultation with an improperly loaded cargo lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Damages You May Be Able to Recover in an Improperly Loaded Cargo Accident
Whether it is the truck driver, the trucking company, the trucking manufacturer, or some other party—or a combination of those—deemed liable for your accident, you are entitled to compensation. California personal injury law permits recovery for many types of damages, including the following:
- Medical expenses and treatment costs, including what you may need in the future
- Physical or occupational therapy
- Long-term medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity in the future
- Disfigurement from scarring or loss of a limb
- Physical impairment from a limp or other injury with permanent effects
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
Additionally, if you lost a loved one in this type of accident, you may be entitled to compensation for economic damages, such as costs for a funeral and income loss, as well as noneconomic for loss of companionship. This type of case is a wrongful death case.
Los Angeles Improperly Loaded Cargo Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Contact a Los Angeles Improperly Loaded Cargo Lawyer
If you have suffered an injury because of a truck that had improperly loaded cargo, you may want the help of a lawyer. To schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation with one of our team members, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444. We do not shy away from tough or complicated cases; our goal is to help our clients recover the damages they deserve so they can focus on healing.