We hear about trucking accidents in Los Angeles and other parts of California quite often. While there are many causes of truck crashes in California, one of the most common ones is when objects such as beams and logs from trucks pierce nearby vehicles or even cause injuries to pedestrians.
If you have been injured as a result of truck cargo crashing into your vehicle – or if you are a grieving family of someone who died in similar circumstances – do know: you can recover damages with the help of a Los Angeles trucking accident attorney.
Beams, logs, and other pieces of truck cargo pierce vehicles and hit bystanders for a variety of reasons. But in the vast majority of cases, such trucking accidents occur due to negligence, improper maintenance, and failure to comply with California regulations on the part of truck drivers and trucking companies.
Who is at fault for trucking accidents?
If you have been injured after truck cargo impaled your car’s windshield or pierced your window, you may be able to hold the truck driver, his/her trucking company, and other responsible parties liable for your injuries and damages.
Here at the Compass Law Group, LLP, our best truck accident attorneys in California have litigated similar cases in the past several decades. If you are lucky, you can veer left or right to avoid colliding with a metal beam, log, or similar truck cargo coming loose or falling directly off the truck. If you are not that lucky, consequences can be quite severe and tragic.
Unfortunately, many Los Angeles residents wrongfully believe that truck drivers or their trucking companies cannot be held liable for injuries caused by accidents involving objects falling from cargo. In reality, California has enforced strict regulations and rules to control how much cargo trucks are allowed to carry, how that cargo is secured, and how often that cargo must be maintained and checked by truck drivers, trucking companies or third-party.
What cargo regulations for trucks exist in California?
Our Los Angeles trucking accident lawyer reminds readers that shippers and truck drivers are legally required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and other federal and state provisions regulating carrying, loading, securing and unloading truck cargo.
Among other things, such regulations require trucking companies and their drivers to have a certain minimum number of tie downs (depending on the length and weight of the objects) in order to transport cargo. Failure to comply with these regulations makes truck drivers and their trucking companies at fault for trucking accidents caused by fallen off cargo.
Also, federal and state trucking cargo regulations in California require that truck cargo be unable to shift or roll while transporting. For that reason, trucking companies and their drivers must ensure that the cargo they will be carrying will be capable of handling accelerations and other movements that are reasonably expected during transportation.
Who can be held liable for trucking accidents involving cargo?
In order to file a trucking accident lawsuit and recover compensation for your injuries and damages suffered as a result of a cargo-pierce accident, you are required to identify at-fault parties. For this reason, you are advised to seek advice of a Los Angeles trucking accident attorney who will thoroughly investigate your case and identify who is responsible for the accident:
- Truck driver, who is legally required to check his truck’s cargo before departing and is required to regularly check cargo along the way.
- Trucking company may also be liable for your injuries and damages due to California’s “vicarious liability” doctrine, which automatically makes employers liable for accidents caused by their employees. Also, trucking companies are required to perform regular inspections and maintenance of their trucks and cargo, as well as educate and train drivers how to check cargo before departure, and may be responsible for securement and loading of cargo.
- Third-party. A trucking company may employ a third-party loader or other party that is responsible for securement and loading of cargo. Thus, that party may also be at-fault for a cargo-pierce crash.
- Manufacturers of trucking equipment may also be held liable if defective parts and components caused or contributed to a trucking accident involving improperly secured, loaded, or too heavy cargo.