According to a 2018 report from Injury Facts, 4,862 trucks were involved in fatal car accidents, representing 9% of all vehicles that were in fatal accidents. Car accidents involving large vehicles like trucks have devastating consequences, particularly when they involve small passenger cars. Fatalities from such accidents seldom involve the offending truck, and instead, affect the occupants in the smaller vehicle.
Even where there are no fatalities, these accidents lead to serious injuries, including permanent disfigurement and disability for victims. Sometimes, improperly loaded cargo falls off or causes the truck driver to lose control in an emergency, leading to a car accident. When this happens to you, it is normal to want to identify those responsible and seek to hold them accountable for your pain.
If you or your loved ones have been injured because of a car/truck accident involving improperly loaded cargo, an accident caused by improperly loaded cargo lawyer in North Charleston can help you explore your legal options in your quest for justice. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers today to learn more and schedule your free case evaluation.
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Why Cargo Falls Off Trucks
From January 1, 2004, all motor carriers were required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s new requirements for securing cargo for transportation. Suppose truck drivers and handlers fail to follow these rules to secure their cargo in transit. In that case, they are liable should an accident result from cargo shifts or falls. Some of these reasons include:
- Overloading or loading past the legal limits
- Failing to distribute the cargo evenly on the vehicle
- Failing to load cargo correctly
- Failing to brace and block cargo as needed
- Not using the right size and strength of tie-downs to secure cargo
- Failing to check the integrity of the shipment at reasonable points in the trip
- Failing to readjust leftover cargo once some of it is offloaded
- Loading cargo to obstruct the driver’s view
- Loading cargo that hangs dangerously over the side of the truck bed
A small shift in weight or unanticipated changes like hitting a pothole can create unstable conditions and endanger other motorists in these circumstances. It can cause the driver to lose control or the cargo to shift or fall if the driver brakes suddenly or makes a sudden maneuver.
The truck may even roll over or fall on its side, as loaded trucks are more prone to tipping and rolling. Anyone on the truck’s path faces imminent danger, including the risk of serious injuries and fatalities.
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Liability for Truck Accident Caused By Improperly Loaded Cargo
In South Carolina, you must prove liability in an accident if you are seeking compensation. Several parties may be at fault if an accident occurs because of improperly loaded cargo. State laws allow you to sue several parties as codefendants, provided you are less liable than the other parties involved in the accident.
If the truck is part of a fleet of trucks belonging to a company, you could seek compensation from the truck company. However, you must prove their liability, which may include:
- Failing to inspect the vehicle cargo for potential hazards regularly
- Sanctioning an overloaded truck
- Failing to repair any defects or damage on the trucks that caused the cargo to shift/fall
- Failing to perform routine maintenance on the trucks
- Failing to perform thorough background checks on the driver who caused the accident
A North Charleston accident caused by improperly loaded cargo attorney can help you navigate the specifics of law and regulations and represent your interests according to the course of action you wish to pursue.
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Evidence for Liability
Depending on the roles of various parties, we can help you build a strong case and negotiate for financial awards to cover the cost of injuries you sustained. Our lawyers serving North Charleston and surrounding areas will collect the following evidence when building the case:
- Official police traffic accident reports. The report includes police investigations with a citation for the at-fault driver.
- Eyewitness statements. You need to collect the contact information of eyewitnesses at the accident site, but if you are injured, this information is likely to be in the police report.
- Accident scene photos. Take pictures of the accident scene, including damages to both vehicles and debris of the cargo. Also, take pictures of your injuries.
- Medical records. Ask for copies of your medical records, which are critical to proving injuries sustained from the accident.
- Insurance information. Get details of the other driver’s auto insurance, which helps to determine the coverage limits available.
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Recoverable Damages in Truck Accidents
It is possible to recover compensation if you have been in a truck accident resulting from improperly loaded cargo. You could file a claim with the trucker’s insurance or file a civil suit against the trucker and any other liable parties. If you win your civil case or prove your claim to the insurer, you can recover economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Medical expenses (or burial costs for deaths)
- Car repair or replacement
- Lost income/wages
- Loss of value of assets
There is no limit to the economic damages that a person can receive in South Carolina, unlike other states. You can also receive compensation for intangible damages or non-economic damages according to the South Carolina Noneconomic Damage Awards Act of 2005 as follows:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of affection and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
Whereas economic damages are straightforward and measurable, our personal injury lawyers serving North Charleston can help you quantify your intangible losses and convince insurers or a jury of what constitutes sufficient compensation.
North Charleston Accident Caused by Improperly Loaded Cargo Lawyer
If you or your loved ones have been injured in a car accident caused by improperly loaded cargo, our North Charleston accident caused by improperly loaded cargo attorneys could evaluate the details of your case and help you to explore your legal options and file suit on your behalf if necessary. Contact George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers to schedule your free case evaluation today.
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