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Houston Improper Loading Truck Accident Lawyer

Houston Improper Loading Truck Accident Lawyer

We have all seen the big-rig truck or 18-wheeler truck with loose cargo driving on the freeway. An improperly loaded truck is dangerous. Big-rig trucks are a vital piece of the Houston economy because they transport millions of pounds of cargo from the Houston Ship Channel.  

These trucks, often larger and heavier than other vehicles, sometimes carry hazardous materials, posing additional risks. Improper cargo loading can lead to catastrophic accidents, with cargo potentially dislodging from the vehicle.  If you need a Houston Improper Loading Truck Accident Lawyer, then call Molina Law Firm at (281) 922-4300. 

Common Types of Accidents Caused By Improper Loading of Truck Cargo

Poorly loaded cargo can fall off a truck during transport.  Poorly loaded cargo can also cause poor truck weight distribution, which may cause the truck to over-turn during transport.  Accidents resulting from poorly loaded cargo can take various forms:

  • Lost Load: Defective securement systems can lead to cargo shifting or falling off.
  • Jackknife: Uneven weight distribution can cause the vehicle to fold onto itself.
  • Hazardous Material Spills: Non-compliance with FMCSA guidelines for hazardous materials can result in dangerous spills during accidents.
  • Rollover: Imbalanced loads can cause the truck to tip over upon impact.
  • Tire Blowout: Overloading can lead to tire failures, resulting in severe accidents.

Truck Cargo Securement Devices Rules

Cargo securement systems must be free of defects and damage, adhering to manufacturing standards. These standards apply to various tie-down materials, including webbing, chains, and steel straps. The securement devices must be attached and fastened effectively to prevent loosening or releasing during transit. Edge protection is required for cargo that could potentially damage tie-downs, and loads must stay within the confines of rub rails when trailers are equipped with them.   Truck company employees must be properly trained to attach and secure these tie-downs so that the cargo does not become loose during transport.  

The number of tie-downs required depends on the cargo’s length and weight, following specific guidelines:

  • 1 tie-down for cargo 5 feet or shorter and under 1,100 pounds
  • 2 tie-downs for cargo 5 feet or shorter and over 1,100 pounds
  • 2 tie-downs for cargo between 5 and 10 feet
  • Additional tie-downs for cargo over 10 feet, following a specific formula

The federal rules also require that securement devices must be able to withstand certain forces without the cargo becoming loose.  The federal rules require that the cargo securement systems withstand the following deceleration and acceleration forces:  

  • 0.8 g deceleration in the forward direction;
  • 0.5 g acceleration in the rearward direction; and
  • 0.5 g acceleration in a lateral direction.

These securement devices can fail in various ways, which in turn cause an accident.  To mitigate these risks, it’s important for trucking companies and drivers to regularly inspect and maintain their securement devices, use them correctly according to the type and weight of the cargo, and replace them when they show signs of wear or damage. Adhering to industry standards and regulations for cargo securement is also crucial to ensure safety on the roads.

Here are common ways that securement devices fail: 

  • water and tear
  • improper use
  • overloading
  • lack of maintenance
  • defective devices
  • poor employee training
  • improper loading, and
  • age of equipment. 

Determining Liability in Truck Accidents

In Texas, the party at fault is responsible for compensating the victim’s losses. Texas’s courts have a comparative fault system.  Proving negligence involves showing the truck driver or their employer failed to adhere to safety standards. Negligent actions can include improper use of securement systems, overloading, and failure to conduct regular inspections.  The securement system must be able to withstand certain forces to protect the cargo from becoming loose or shifting during transport. 

Trucking company negligence can stem from inadequate employee training, poor maintenance practices, or non-compliance with FMCSA regulations.

Recoverable Damages In A Truck Accident Lawsuit

In Texas, recoverable damages in a truck accident lawsuit may include:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes costs for immediate medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and any future medical care related to the injuries sustained in the accident.

  • Lost Wages and Earning Capacity: If the injuries from the accident prevent the victim from working, they can claim compensation for past and future lost wages. 

  • Property Damage: This covers the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the accident.

  • Pain and Suffering: These are non-economic damages that compensate for the physical pain and emotional distress suffered due to the accident. This can include anxiety, depression, loss of enjoyment of life, and physical suffering.

  • Disfigurement: These are non-economic damages related to scars, loss of limbs or any changes to a person’s appearance that were caused by an accident.
  • Physical Impairment:  physical impairment damages in personal injury cases are designed to compensate the injured party for the loss of the ability to enjoy and participate in life as they did before the injury.
  • Loss of Consortium: In cases where the accident impacts the victim’s relationship with their spouse, compensation for loss of consortium may be awarded. This refers to the loss of companionship, affection, and other aspects of the marital relationship.

  • Punitive Damages: In some cases where the conduct of the at-fault party is found to be particularly reckless or malicious, punitive damages may be awarded. These are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

  • Wrongful Death: If the truck accident results in a fatality, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages in these cases can include funeral and burial expenses, loss of the deceased’s expected earnings, loss of benefits (like medical insurance), and loss of inheritance.

Do You Really Need a Houston Improper Loading Truck Accident Lawyer?

The Molina Law Firm has been representing auto and truck accident victims for over 20 years, helping them navigate the sometimes complex legal fight against corporations and ultimately insurance companies.  Remember that when you retain Attorney Rick Molina, you pay nothing upfront and we only collect a percentage of the compensation you receive only when we have won your case.  Don’t go against the insurance carriers alone.  Attorney Rick Molina will aggressively represent you and fight on your behalf.  We have the knowledge, resources, and experience to get you all the compensation you deserve for your loss, pain and suffering.

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