What to Do When a Truck’s Cargo Caused an Accident

We have all seen commercial trucks with cargo in the back and thought, “Wow, I really hope that does not come flying off and slam into my vehicle.” While this does not happen very often, the reality is that these types of incidents do occur. If you or somebody you care about has been involved in a vehicle accident caused by a commercial truck’s unsecured cargo, you need to know what steps to take to recover the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries, property damage, or both.

Determining Fault After Unsecured Cargo Causes a Crash

When cargo flies off the back of a tractor-trailer or another type of commercial vehicle, an accident could occur. Even if the truck does not actually strike another vehicle, the owner or operator of the truck could be held responsible for the incident. Truck drivers and truck companies have a responsibility to ensure the security of the cargo on the vehicle. In addition, drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicle safely and in a way that prevents the cargo from falling off the trailer and into the path of other vehicles.

Determining liability in these incidents can be challenging, and there will need to be a thorough investigation into what happened. Immediately following a collision caused by unsecured cargo, any person involved in the accident should take steps to preserve as much evidence as possible. First, any injury victim must seek medical care. However, if it is safe to do so at the scene of the crash, victims can use their phones or other types of cameras to take photographs of everything at the scene. If the truck stopped, victims should get pictures of the truck. Those involved should also get pictures of any unsecured cargo that flew off the truck as well as any cargo still on the truck. Victims should get pictures of any vehicle damage caused by the cargo flying off the truck.

A skilled attorney will typically conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and look into the actions of the driver or the trucking company. If the driver was hauling cargo for a trucking or shipping company, then the truck company will likely be responsible for the incident. Even if the actions of the driver directly caused the cargo to be unsecured, the company that they work for will still likely be held responsible. Companies are typically responsible for any injuries or harmful acts caused by employees during the course of their on-the-job duties.

Another factor to consider is product defects. It could be the case that a truck driver or trucking company secured the cargo appropriately, but a defect with the trailer or possibly the straps could result in the cargo coming loose and spilling onto the roadway. In these cases, the manufacturing of the trailer or straps (or any other defective part) may be held liable through a third-party lawsuit.

Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer in Oregon

One of the first steps you need to take after being involved in an accident caused by cargo coming off of a truck is to seek legal assistance. The simple reality is most people injured in these situations do not have the resources or legal expertise necessary to conduct a complete investigation into the incident. However, a truck accident lawyer in Portland can use their resources to fully investigate the incident and stand up to aggressive insurance carriers and trucking companies.