Drivers have many obligations on the road. As the California Driver Handbook makes clear, one of the duties drivers have is to “not drive a vehicle so loaded, either with property or people, that you cannot control it, or see ahead or to the sides of your vehicle.” Driving with an unsecured load is both a safety hazard and illegal under California Vehicle Code section 24002(a). These rules about the safe transport of cargo apply to passenger cars. There are additional requirements for cargo transport that commercial trucks must follow.
Despite these regulations, accidents routinely occur as a result of unsecured cargo. When such a crash happens, victims have options for getting losses caused by the car accident covered. Drivers can sustain significant injuries if items fall onto their vehicles, or if items falling off other cars create debris in the roadways that motorists must swerve to avoid. A Long Beach car accident lawyer can provide assistance to victims by proving those responsible for harming them are liable.
A Car Accident Lawyer Determines the Cause of a Crash
After a collision, a car accident lawyer will conduct an investigation to determine how the crash happened and who is to blame for the accident.
Unsecured items that fall from cars may be left lying in roadways where they create risks for other motorists. Accidents from debris occur in different ways, including:
- drivers colliding with objects on the road;
- drivers hitting other vehicles or objects when swerving to avoid debris;
- drivers striking other vehicles that were forced to unexpectedly swerve due to debris in the road;
- pedestrians getting hit when trying to retrieve or move items from the road; or
- debris hitting another vehicle.
If cargo is too heavy or not properly distributed, it can also lead to cars or trucks rolling over or to tire blowouts. These rollovers or emergency blowout situations are a leading cause of accidents.
The Day reports on dangers of unsecured cargo on roadways. Studies have shown that fallen debris on the road leads to approximately 25,000 car accidents each year in North America. While many of these accidents cause only property damage, as many as 80 to 90 people lose their lives, and countless more sustain injuries.
Determining Who Can Be Held Responsible for Crashes Caused by Unsecured Cargo
When victims get hurt because of unsecured cargo, it is necessary to determine who was at fault. Sometimes it is clear who caused the accident. If debris falls off a car and a crash happens immediately, the victims and witnesses to the accident can see where the debris came from. The driver whose car or truck the items fell off of should stop and provide contact details and insurance information to victims of the accident. If it is determined this motorist was negligent in securing or transporting the cargo, that driver can be held responsible for resulting injuries or deaths.
If a truck is transporting cargo that is not properly secured, both the truck driver and trucking company can be held responsible for resulting collisions from falling cargo, roll-overs or other related accidents. Since Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations set rules for securing cargo, drivers who pursue a case for compensation can point to a violation of these rules to create a presumption of negligence in these types of cases.
Sometimes, however, debris is left on roadways and drivers don’t know whose vehicle the items fell from. In fact, the drivers with the unsecured cargo are often long gone. When this occurs, victims have a more difficult time determining who to pursue cases against. If the debris was on the road for a long time and the agency responsible for road maintenance was aware, or should have been aware, of the dangerous condition, it may be possible to pursue a claim for negligence against the agency. These cases are difficult and complex because immunity rules make it more challenging to sue government agencies for negligence, nonetheless, they can be won.
If the driver who left the debris can’t be identified, and no agency or other third party is responsible, injured motorists can receive compensation from their own insurer through their uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage will be determined based on the specifics of the victim’s insurance policy. A car accident lawyer can determine who is liable for a victim’s losses and pursue a claim for compensation.
Contact an Experienced Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer to Assist You with Your Claim
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
My law practice exclusively represents personal injury victims and can provide legal assistance if you are hurt in a crash caused by debris on the roadway. I take your injuries personally, and that is why I directly handle all aspects of every case to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You can also download our convenient glove box checklist to keep in your car so you are ready in case a crash occurs.
You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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