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When unsecured cargo causes a truck accident

Ever see a semitrailer tipped onto its side? Ever see cargo fall off a semitrailer bed? These things happen, and it is usually because the cargo on or inside these massive trucks was not properly secured. In New York, when unsecured cargo causes a truck accident, anyone injured in the event may have legal recourse.

Trucking companies have to abide by very strict rules and regulations which are set by the federal government. Why? For safety reasons, or course. One thing that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made clear is that, before a truck moves cargo is to be secured properly.

Believe it or not, there is a certain way in which trucks are to be loaded. There is also a certain way that different goods are to be secured inside an enclosed trailer or to an open trailer bed. The first thing that must be considered is the cargo weight. Every type of truck is different and each can only haul so much weight. After making sure that the weight is in check, then it is time to make sure everything is secure.

In order to secure items inside or on a truck, ties must be used. These are not just any ties; they must be approved ties for cargo type and weight. The ties must then be attached to anchor points on the truck. Again, these cannot just be anywhere, they must be approved anchor points. All of this is spelled out in the FMSCA Driver’s Handbook.

Failing to check cargo weight and ensure that it is secured properly can cause balance issues due to items shifting during shipping. It can also result in ties breaking and items falling from open trailer beds. Sadly, a number of New York residents have been unlucky enough to be sharing the road with semitrailers that have experienced such issues, and they have been injured — or worse — as a result. Following a truck accident, victims may be entitled to seek relief in civil court. If negligence can be established, such as showing that the driver or trucking company failed to follow safety guidelines, the victim or — in the event of fatality — his or her surviving family members may achieve compensation for their losses.

Source: fmcsa.dot.gov, “Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement – Chapter 2: General Cargo Securement Requirements“, Accessed on Sept. 18, 2017

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