damage on car's windshield from truck

Who is Liable for an Accident Caused by Dropped Truck Freight?

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

Large commercial vehicles are used to transport just about every consumer good you can imagine. Since the dangers of these vehicles are known, truck and commercial vehicle drivers must abide by specific laws and must take proper steps prior to getting on the road. Unfortunately, accidents still occur – but not always in the way you’d imagine. Sometimes cargo falls off of the truck and onto the roadway causing extremely serious accidents. When someone is injured in such a manner, it’s important to understand and identify all of the liable parties.

Consequences of Fallen Cargo 

While cargo should never fall off a commercial vehicle, when it does it can immediately hit the vehicles behind or around it. If there are no vehicles around it, it may become a dangerous obstacle in the middle of the road – especially when visibility is low due to time of day or weather. Sometimes when cars swerve to avoid hitting the cargo, they instead hit another vehicle or stationary object, suffering serious injuries, or in some cases, it can prove fatal. Fallen cargo on a truck or trailer can also fly backwards, shattering the windshield of the driver behind it causing serious injury or death. Flammable or hazardous materials that fall from these vehicles can prove toxic or cause fires. 

In an effort to prevent these horrible accidents, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set rules concerning how truck and trailer cargo is to be loaded and secured. Fallen cargo accidents are often the result of a failure to follow the FMCSA’s rules. 

So, Who’s Responsible?

One of the tougher issues in fallen cargo accidents is that it’s not always evident which parties are at-fault. This is because liability is often shared among multiple parties. Such parties that may face liability include those who loaded and secured the cargo, the driver and trucking company, and even the manufacturer or designer of the devices that are used to secure the cargo if they were defective. 

Identifying which of these parties are liable is often extremely difficult. Luckily, a qualified personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience with truck accident claims can investigate the accident and determine who is at fault. Sometimes those involved may have insurance policies that can help to cover the damages. Determining the liable parties is often done through examining available evidence, including video footage, the loading, inspection, and maintenance records for the truck in question, event data recorder (EDR) information, and forensic evidence such as skid marks on the road. After the liable party or parties have been identified, an attorney can prove negligence. 

The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Injured in an Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, including those involving fallen cargo it’s vital that you understand to what you are entitled to under the law. With this information under your belt, you can make the important decisions regarding how you want to move forward. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Texas personal injury attorney.

At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the impact that an accident can have on many parts of your life and the importance of properly dealing with such negligence or recklessness. That’s why we will work to get you the compensation that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.