We Won $48.5 Million in a Truck Accident Case
In this case, we took more than 60 depositions in five different states. Because of Stephenson’s tireless advocacy, shortly before the trial was to commence, the defendants settled the case for $48.5 million.
When a semi-trailer or huge flatbed truck has an unsecured truck load, it is more likely to pose a serious threat to other motorists. When a dangerous load spills off a truck and causes you harm, you can call on our lawyer for unsecured load truck accidents. Imagine just how much more dangerous an unsecured load is in high winds, at high speeds, or in rain and snow when visibility and braking ability are reduced. It is the responsibility of trucking companies and their drivers to ensure their cargo is secure and the truck is not overloaded.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of an unsecured cargo load, you may be entitled to compensation. This is especially true if the load became unsecure because of someone’s negligence. A skilled and experienced unsecure load accident lawyer can explain your legal options to you and assess your claim.
You can reach our team at (317) 680-2350 and get the legal support you need today.
Any Material Can Be Unsecure on a Truck
We’ve all seen those mammoth 18-wheelers on the road carrying oversized loads. The trucking companies and drivers owe you a duty to keep all loads secure, no matter how small it is or how short the drive is. They can be hauling a variety of objects and materials that pose a danger to you and other motorists. When unsecured items fall off a tractor-trailer, truck bed, or the roof of a vehicle, serious accidents can and do occur. The worst part is that an accident caused by an unsecured load is preventable.
Unsecure cargo accidents can be caused by:
- Logs, lumber, and timber
- Scrap metal
- Machinery and equipment, including another vehicle
- Construction or landscaping materials
- Masonry sand, gravel, or mulch.
It is easy to see how any of these items can become unsecured, or maybe they were never secured properly from the beginning. Many drivers are on a tight schedule and rush to load their trucks and get on the road.
How Unsecure Load Truck Accidents Happen
When we talk about unsecure cargo, we’re not talking only about objects that fall off of a truck. Accidents can also be caused by a load that was not properly secured, shifts, and causes the vehicle to become imbalanced. One of the following scenarios could result in an unsecured load accident:
- A strap breaks or becomes loose
- The truck’s vibrations cause a log to get jiggled loose
- A hazard in the road causes a truck to lose control and spill the load
- The wind created by a high speed of travel blows gravel and rocks off the back of a truck
- Sharp curves and steep hills cause the cargo to shift
- Improperly secured fuel leaks out and causes motorists to hydroplane – or, worse, starts a fire
- Construction materials were not properly balanced or were improperly loaded
- The load’s center of gravity shifts and the truck tips over or jackknifes
- The truck doors were not properly locked.
Unsecured load accidents don’t all look the same. Trucking companies cannot just ignore the dangers posed by these materials or inadequate tie-downs.
Maybe an unsecured load flew through your windshield. Maybe you were involved in an accident because you tried to avoid something that fell off a truck bed. Either way, you undoubtedly have a lot to deal with after an accident caused by an unsecure load, including lost wages and recovering from severe injuries. You shouldn’t have to struggle with the consequences of the trucking company’s negligence by yourself. Get help holding the proper parties fully accountable.
Call our lawyer for unsecured cargo truck accidents today at (317) 680-2350 for a consultation about your case.
How Do I Know If a Truck’s Load Isn’t Secured Well?
As a motorist, there are some signs and signals you can look for to tell if a truck’s cargo is unsecured or improperly secured. Being able to look for these signs will help you stay safe on the road, and will be important to note if you do get injured. After you have an accident, you will want to let your unsecured load accident attorney know if you observed any of the following:
- Loose or ragged tie-downs
- Absence of netting or flags
- Objects that are not tied directly to the trailer
- Shifting, rolling, or falling objects
- Loose material that is not completely enclosed
- Steep inclines, declines, or sudden changes in the truck’s speed.
Any of the above will be important to note if you have an accident and are pursuing a claim.
If you do determine that a truck load is unsecure, make sure to take steps to avoid an accident. Doing so will help if the truck driver or his employer tries to say that you somehow contributed to the accident. Some of these steps can include:
- Continually scanning and searching the road ahead of you to avoid hitting cargo that falls
- Maintaining an open space beside your vehicle in case you need to swerve around an object
- Safely reducing speed if you do hit debris
- Avoiding tailgating and aggressive driving.
What Should I Do if Unsecured Cargo Caused an Accident?
After the accident, you need to seek medical attention. Ensure that someone has called an ambulance and the police. Your health and well-being are priorities. If you are able, make a note of where you went for your medical care. If you file a claim later, you will need to get all your medical records.
You should also get the names and contact information for witnesses and the other driver. Witnesses will include other motorists and passengers, the police, and EMS. You will also want to know what trucking company the driver works for. If you are not able to collect this information yourself, ask someone at the scene to help you.
Take pictures, or have someone take photos, of the scene of the accident. This would include your vehicle, the truck, and any debris or items that fell from the truck. You can also take photos of the condition of the road. The more photos, the better. You will want a variety of angles and to use zoom to capture details.
Call your own insurance company.
Call Stephenson and Rife as soon as possible at (317) 680-2350. There are limits to the amount of time that can pass after an accident and still allow you to seek compensation. Also, the truck driver and trucking company will most likely seek legal advice, and you don’t want to be surprised.
How Our Unsecured Load Accident Attorneys Can Help You
Working with a Skilled Attorney Can Increase Your Compensation
Our unsecured load accident attorneys have years of experience advocating for clients to obtain the compensation they deserve. To maximize your settlement, you will need a lawyer who knows the exact claims to file, who to sue, what damages to request, and when to settle.
Our Unsecured Cargo Truck Accident Attorneys Know What Claims to File for You
There are different laws, standards, and regulations that could apply to your situation. We are familiar with all these laws and standards and can maximize their impact for you.
Trucking companies have a responsibility to make sure large loads are tied down, are within legal weight limits, and meet state and federal safety requirements. Any cargo that could easily roll or move around must be secured in a way that prevents movement. Drivers must also check the security of their loads at regular intervals. Because there are numerous federal and state regulations, knowing the differences, and which ones apply to your case, is imperative. For example, our unsecured cargo truck accident attorneys can help determine if any of the following happened in your case:
- Tie-downs were used in ways there were not intended.
- The cargo’s security wasn’t checked properly or regularly enough.
- Tie-downs were not functioning properly because they weren’t properly maintained or cargo was overloaded.
- The proper forms of securement devices weren’t used, such as chains, straps, netting, dunnage bags, or shoring bars.
- Cargo was improperly loaded and imbalanced.
In addition to understanding the standards and laws applying to the trucking industry, the seasoned attorneys at Stephenson Rife can also help you maximize your settlement in an unsecured cargo load case by filing the proper type of lawsuit and claim. Negligence and wrongful death claims are just two types of possible lawsuits you can file based on the violations of the various state or federal standards. There might be others applicable to your case. Each type of claim will have different damages available.
If you have suffered injuries or a family member has died because of a crash with a truck carrying an unsecure load, you need a lawyer who knows all possible claims you could file and how best to use them for your benefit. Our experienced unsecured load accident attorneys will be able to parse out which violations occurred in your case and determine different avenues for recovering compensation for you.
Our Unsecured Cargo Truck Accident Attorneys Know Who to Recover From
Your attorney in an unsecured load accident case can investigate your claim to find out exactly who was at fault for your injuries – and there may be several liable parties. Determining who to sue can impact the amount of your settlement. For example, you may not get as much compensation from the driver as you would from the trucking company. Some possibilities of who may responsible for your injuries can include:
- The truck driver for:
- engaging in reckless or unsafe driving
- failing to make sure the truck’s load complies with state and federal requirements
- knowingly using damaged or defective tie-downs
- using the wrong tie-downs for the type or weight of the cargo
- failing to inspect the vehicle at regular intervals.
- The trucking company for:
- improper loading procedures
- not training the driver on proper load techniques and inspection
- keeping an unrealistic schedule that caused the driver to rush through loading or inspection
- having the driver transport a load that exceeded his experience and qualifications
- inadequate supervision of the loading process.
- A loading company, if the trucking company worked with them to put goods on the truck for transportation.
- The company that manufactured defective equipment that was used to secure the load.
Our experience will help maximize your options and your award. Be sure to call our unsecured load truck accident attorneys at (317) 680-2350 as soon as possible to get the best help possible.
Our Unsecured Cargo Truck Accident Attorneys Know When to Settle
In a case of obvious negligence, the insurance companies will want to settle with you as early and for as little as possible. But this will not help you if you require on-going medical care and rehabilitation and if you will keep having to miss work in the future. Contact our attorney who is experienced in unsecure cargo accidents to increase your compensation.
Each situation is different, but our lawyers will work to obtain as much compensation as possible. You may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past and future medical expenses incurred, including rehabilitation and equipment costs
- Loss of past and future wages because you could not work due to injury
- Functional loss or physical impairment in the past and future
- Property damage, such as to your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
If the disregard for safety was particularly egregious, you may even get punitive damages. This is a financial penalty or punishment to the company for their irresponsible conduct. Punitive damages will discourage other companies from cutting corners to increase profits, which risks others’ safety.
Given all the damages available, you may not know how to value your injuries and suffering. And, given all the types of legal claims available, you may not know how best to proceed with holding a trucking company accountable. You risk not getting every penny you deserve, or not going after the proper parties, or overlooking an avenue of recovery, if you try to handle your claim alone. Don’t risk that outcome with a less experienced attorney, either. Contact Stephenson and Rife for help. Call us at (317) 680-2350.
FAQs about Accidents Caused by Unsecured Truck Loads
If you suffered injuries in an unsecured truck load accident, you may wonder where to turn. You may be concerned about medical bills, be worried about lost wages, and wonder how you can get the most compensation possible. Our lawyers are here to answer any questions you may have. Here are some answers to common questions.
The good news is that our attorneys work on contingency, which means we don’t get paid unless you do. Our fees are paid by the parties you sue as part of a settlement or jury award. There is no charge if, for some reason, you lose.
Our lawyers will handle every aspect of your claim, including (but not limited to) investigating your claim using the legal tools available to us. This can mean:
- Consulting police and accident reports
- Reviewing photos
- Interviewing witnesses
- Analyzing your medical records
- Collecting cargo records and driving logs
- Reviewing inspection reports
- Securing the driver’s employment records
- Obtaining data directly from the truck’s computer
- And more.
We will work to ensure that all vital evidence is preserved. We will determine liability and what laws have been broken or standards violated. We will conduct legal research to ensure the law is on your side and file necessary pleadings to keep your legal case moving forward. We will ascertain the extent of the damage and negotiate settlements on your behalf, including against insurance companies. We will counsel you about your options at every stage of litigation and advise you about the best approach to building a courtroom strategy if the case goes to trial.
There is no average amount for any accident caused by an unsecured truck load. Each case is different, and many factors go into determining a settlement. Some things to consider are how much you have already spent and will continue to spend on medical bills, how much you may have lost due to an inability to work, and how severe your injuries are. Generally, the more severe the injuries, the more people who are injured (or if there was a death), the bigger the award. Settlements can be substantial because trucking companies are required to carry higher insurance policies than other drivers.
If it is your own insurance company, absolutely! You should feel comfortable answering questions your own insurance company asks. Our lawyers can advise you on how to succinctly answer questions.
If it is the trucking company’s insurance company, say nothing! Anything you say to the other side can be used against you in your case. They may try to give you an early and low-ball settlement, which is not to your benefit. This offer will almost always be significantly less than what your attorney can negotiate for you. Refer any questions or offers from the other side’s insurance company to your lawyer for an unsecured cargo load accident.
Don’t see an answer to your question? We are happy to help. Reach out to unsecured load accident attorneys to talk about your case.
Why Choose Our Experienced Lawyers for Unsecured Truck Load Accidents?
Depend on the Experience of Stephenson Rife
When you need a knowledgeable legal representative after being injured by an unsecure truck load, reach out to Stephenson Rife. Our skilled and experienced attorneys are among the best lawyers handling accidents caused by unsecured truck cargo. Our accomplished legal team is fierce and determined when representing our clients, and we secure the awards that our clients deserve.
Remember: We don’t get paid unless you do, too.
Shouldn’t you have a competent team of attorneys to evaluate the true value of your case, advocate for you aggressively, and get you the best settlement possible? Let us handle your complex legal claim while you focus on healing and recovering.
For a consultation, contact our unsecured load accident attorneys at (317) 680-2350.