The Importance of Proper Loading and Securing of Cargo

The Importance of Proper Loading and Securing of CargoA person driving behind a truck loaded with materials has no idea that the back of the truck could pop open and that equipment will come flying out toward them. In a split second, not only is a person now facing significant injury, but they may be fighting for their lives. In many cases, these accidents occur due to poor loading and securing of cargo.

At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City truck accident attorneys have encountered many incidents of financial loss and loss of life related to cargo spills and similar types of accidents. What is most devastating is that they can often be prevented with careful attention to proper loading. If you have suffered injuries from spilled or falling truck cargo, we want to help you. Contact us for a free consultation.

What can happen when cargo isn’t loaded properly?

There are many reasons that cargo-related accidents can occur. In all situations, it is the responsibility of the trucking company and the driver to ensure that anything put into the vehicle is going to make it to its destination safely. Yet, corners are often cut, and mistakes happen. That is when truck accidents occur. Consider a few common outcomes and why they occur.

  • Cargo that is not placed into the proper type of vehicle may be hard to control and navigate. There are many types of vehicles used by companies to move materials, whether they are liquid products, freezer products, or just dry goods. However, they need to be in a vehicle that is designed for that type of cargo to ensure safety.
  • A truck may be overloaded. A common problem with some companies is overfilling or overstuffing their trucks. This may mean they have to have fewer drivers on the roadways, and it may seem like it saves money until an accident occurs because the truck cannot bear the weight and breaks down.
  • Tipping is another concern. While the truck may do just fine when going forward, turning a corner or getting too close to the edge of a curb could cause the entire vehicle to tip over onto its side. This can lead to major accidents and slowdowns, while also putting people at risk as cargo spills onto the roadway.
  • Poor latching allows the material to come out of the back of the vehicle. Though cargo within an enclosed truck needs to be secured in its own right, if the latch on a door does not lock or there are weak areas that lead to it breaking, that can cause significant injury risk.
  • Spills can occur as well, often coming from poorly maintained vehicles. Such spills can create toxic situations and fire risks and, in some cases, result in catastrophic accidents.

These are just some of the risks that can take place when a truck is not loaded or managed properly. It could be an avoidable accident if strategies are put in place to minimize risks.

Are there laws related to loading truck cargo?

Certain laws require that cargo is placed in a way that is considered safe. It is important to remember that cargo needs to be loaded properly using the right equipment and following all Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and regulations. These standards are meant to protect employees. However, those same regulations can help to protect you as a person on the road with these trucks.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also has numerous rules in place regarding cargo. In September 2002, the organization published new guidelines for securement, with the goal of ensuring that roadways across the country were more safe and secure. Trucking companies and truckers that do not follow these rules face fines and penalties of other types – and they can be very expensive losses.

Most companies do what they need to do to keep cargo safe because it is where their profit lies. Yet, busy and overworked truck drivers or those working in a warehouse may take it upon themselves to rush the process or skip key steps, putting others at risk. This is when accidents can occur.

What should you do if you are hurt after a cargo spill accident in OKC?

In many cases, an accident from spilled cargo or lost cargo puts other people at risk for serious injury. If you are driving along the freeway, you have every right to expect that the others on the roadway with you are going to operate in a safe manner. When that does not happen, you may have the right to compensation.

Filing a claim for your losses

Some of these accidents are fatal, leading to immediate family members having to seek out compensation for the loss of their loved one. No matter what occurred, you may have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. Those losses may include the following:

  • Medical bills from the incident
  • Surgical procedures and ongoing treatment and care
  • Emergency transportation to the hospital
  • Lost time at work
  • Long-term rehabilitation
  • Pain and other medications
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Emotional turmoil

These are just some of the potential losses you may suffer after a cargo-related accident. It is almost always beneficial to work closely with a personal injury attorney who can help you to navigate the legal system.

Working with an Oklahoma City truck accident attorney can help you to:

  • Pursue the responsible party for the losses you have incurred, which could be the driver, trucking company, or manufacturer.
  • Determine how much compensation you are owed based on all of your current and long-term losses.
  • File a claim for settlement and, if this is not possible, go to court to defend your right to compensation.

When you need a highly experienced Oklahoma City truck accident attorney, put your trust in Cunningham & Mears. We have helped many people to navigate these very difficult situations, providing them with confidence in moving forward. The importance of properly loading and securing cargo is hard to overestimate. In every situation, it is an opportunity for risk and the loss of life. Set up a free consultation to discuss what’s happened to you with our team. Call our office or complete our contact form today.