Each day, thousands of trucks transport cargo in South Carolina. These commercial vehicles haul loads so heavy that the loads aren’t measured in tons – they are measured in kilotons (DOT, Flows Starting, Ending, and Within South Carolina, Flows Passing Through South Carolina).
Too often, these loads become loose and unsecure and lead to accidents that cause injuries and death. Unsecured loads contribute to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year on U.S. roads. (Fox9, Deaths Attributed to Unsecured Loads).
If you have been hurt by an unsecured truck load, our Charleston truck accident lawyer can assist you. We are Bringardner Injury Law Firm. We represent people who are hurt when cargo comes free of a truck bed trailer.
Contact our team today to discuss your case.
Lawyers Representing Victims of Unsecured Loads
An unsecured load can create a problem in multiple ways. Items may fall from a truck, striking other vehicles and people. In addition, items shifting may cause the truck to sway and become hard to control.
Truck drivers have a duty to operate safely on the roads. As part of their duty, truckers must make sure that the items they are hauling are secure. Loads must be prepared for transportation in a way that they will not fall or shift.
A lawyer may assist you if you have been harmed because of:
- An object that fell from a truck that you cannot avoid or if it strikes your vehicle
- Load shifts on a semi-truck that cause the truck to lose control
- Swerving to avoid an object that fell from a truck, causing an accident
- Substances leaking from a commercial vehicle
- A fire that results from flammable goods encountering a heat source during transit
Types of cargo that can spill
Some examples of cargo that may spill on the roads include:
- Wood and lumber
- Pipes and other construction materials
- Motor vehicles
- Furniture and household items
- Consumer goods
- Hazardous materials, liquids, and other chemicals
- Steel and other heavy metals
If an unsecured load contributes to an accident, a victim may qualify to receive compensation. We are lawyers representing victims of accidents that involve unsecured loads. If you have been injured, we invite you to call or message us to discuss your situation.
FMCSA’s Regulations for Cargo Securement
The trucking industry is devoted to hauling cargo. Freight regulation is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In addition, in South Carolina, permits are required for oversize and overweight freight.
Summary of FMCSA cargo securement rules
- Cargo must be immobilized. Materials used to secure cargo may include dunnage (loose materials), bags to fill space between articles, shoring bars, tiedowns and structures of adequate strength.
- When cargo may roll, chocks, wedges and cradles must be used.
- When transverse tiedowns secure multiple articles, the articles must be in direct contact or shifting must be prevented in another way.
- Implements used to secure cargo must have an aggregate working load limit of one-half of the cargo being secured.
- Minimum tiedown standards apply. The number of tiedowns needed varies based on the length, weight and positioning of the articles. Exceptions apply for special purpose vehicles. However, cargo must still be adequately secured, and security implements must be within working load limits.
- There are unique securement requirements for specific loads including logs, building products, metal coils, paper rolls, concrete pipe, containers, motor vehicles, machinery and large boulders.
The rules apply to:
- Truck tractors
- Full trailers
- Pole trailers
(CMVSA, Cargo Securement Rules).
Regulations are the result of research and best practices recommendations. The purpose of the regulations is to prevent falling and shifting of cargo from commercial motor vehicles and prevent accidents related to unsecured loads.
What are the laws for securing commercial truck loads?
The federal laws for securing commercial truck loads are found in 49 CFR § 393.100 et. seq.
Compensation for Injuries From an Unsecured Truck Load
The party or parties responsible for causing a truck accident is legally obligated to pay damages to victims. Failing to properly secure a load for transport may be grounds for victims to claim monetary compensation for their losses and harms.
There are multiple parties who may be liable for an unsecured truck load accident:
A truck driver must ensure that the load they are transporting is secure. They must stop and adjust if there are signs of a problem. They must understand the requirements and engage in safe driving behavior throughout their journey.
A trucking company must enable their drivers to operate safely. They must hire qualified drivers and train them correctly. They must provide the necessary materials for properly securing their load.
Sometimes, a separate loading company loads the items being transported by the trucking company. A loading has a duty of care to ensure their items are properly prepared for shipping.
Manufacturer of materials used for securing items
Trucking companies use a variety of materials for securing loads for transport. Manufacturing errors and poor design may cause these materials to fail, contributing to an accident.
Vehicle manufacturing and design errors may cause a vehicle to malfunction or respond unpredictably. When an unsecured load can be traced to vehicle manufacturing problems, the vehicle manufacturer may be liable.
There are many underlying causes that may contribute to a crash involving an unsecured load. Our lawyers know how to investigate. As your representatives, we can look at the entire circumstances to determine fault and legal responsibility.
Any accident is inherently complex. Getting to the bottom line requires careful investigation, evaluation and case-building.
Talk to a Lawyer About a Consultation Today
We are truck accident lawyers in Charleston who help those who were injured or killed by unsecured loads. If you have been involved in an accident involving spilled cargo, our lawyers can assist you. Let us evaluate your case today. If we take your case, we will advocate for the compensation that you deserve.