Louisville Attorneys for Cargo-Related Truck Accidents
All too often, heavy cargo on trucks is improperly loaded and poorly secured. When a truck rolls down a highway at 70 miles per hour and its cargo comes undone, the consequences can be catastrophic for nearby drivers.
At Sampson Law Firm, our team of experienced Louisville truck accident attorneys advises drivers who have been injured in truck cargo accidents in the Louisville, Kentucky area. We are highly experienced in investigating cargo-related accidents, determining how the accident occurred, and aggressively pursuing compensation for you. If you have been injured in a cargo-related truck accident, give us a call at (502) 584-5050. We can help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Cargo Can Cause Accidents
Because trucks weigh thousands of pounds when unloaded, and because trucks generally carry thousands of additional pounds in cargo, all trucks are potentially dangerous on the road and are capable of causing greater devastation than a typical auto accident involving small cars. However, some trucks are particularly dangerous due to the type of cargo they carry. Some examples of particularly dangerous cargo include the following:
- Cars: Some trucks specialize in simultaneously transporting a dozen or more cars. If these cars are not properly secured, they may roll right off of the trailer and into the path of any drivers following the truck.
- Oversize loads: Some trucks specialize in transporting loads of unusual size, including wind turbine blades, houses, and large industrial equipment. The cargo in these trucks may spread across multiple lanes on a highway. Because this cargo is unusually large and heavy, it can easily become dislodged if not properly secured. Further, this type of cargo can affect the handling of the truck, making an accident more likely.
- Liquids: In addition to making trucks more difficult to steer, liquid cargo often leaks from trucks, whether due to an accident or due to poorly maintained tanks. In some cases, cargo liquids are highly toxic. In other cases, such as when a truck is transporting gasoline or oil, cargo liquids are flammable or even explosive.
- Multiple trailers: Some trucks pull more than one trailer. These trailers must be properly secured, or they can detach while the truck is in motion and crash into any vehicles behind the truck.
Other Common Causes of Cargo-Related Truck Accidents
Cargo-related truck accidents occur in many ways. Some of the most common include:
- Driver error: Trucks handle differently depending on what kind of cargo is being transported. This is particularly true when a truck is carrying liquids or oversize cargo. An inexperienced driver may not know how to properly steer the truck so that the trailer does not veer into the path of other drivers.
- Loading error: Sometimes, the accident occurs when cargo is improperly loaded into the truck’s trailer. Examples include over-stacking cargo and improperly securing cargo to the trailer. Improperly loaded cargo can dislodge while the truck is in motion and impact nearby automobiles, leading to an accident.
- Equipment failure: Sometimes, the trailer itself breaks while the truck is in use. For example, liquid tanks may leak or trailers may detach, or doors fly open. In other cases, a tire blowout can cause the truck driver to lose control of the trailer. Often, equipment failures are due to poor maintenance and inspection practices and may be the fault of the truck owner.
It is not always obvious what failure led to the accident and who was at fault, particularly if the trailer and/or cargo was destroyed during the accident. As such, it may be necessary to retain a forensic expert to determine how the accident occurred.
Lawsuit Targets Involved in Cargo-Related Truck Accidents
Usually, a trucking enterprise is the result of several individuals and companies working together. As such, when a cargo-related accident occurs, plaintiffs have a choice of several potential litigation targets. However, some entities make more promising lawsuit targets than others:
- Drivers: Sometimes, truck drivers are employees of a company that is either insured or has assets to fund a court judgment. Other times, drivers are independent contractors who may or may not have assets and insurance to be worthwhile litigation targets.
- The truck owner or trucking company: The owner of the truck may be a promising litigation target, particularly if there is evidence that poor maintenance and inspection practices caused the accident. Some investigation will be necessary to determine the identity and viability of the truck owner as a litigation target.
- The trailer owner: Sometimes, the trailer owner is a different entity than the truck owner. In such cases, the trailer owner may be a worthwhile litigation target, particularly if the accident was caused by a failure directly traceable to the trailer.
- The loading company: In cases where the cargo failure is due to the cargo being improperly loaded into the trailer, the entity who loaded the cargo may be liable for damages.
A close investigation is in order to determine not only which targets are liable but also which targets have sufficient assets and insurance to pay a court judgment. Plaintiffs should then tailor the litigation to target the entities with the highest assets, the highest insurance, and the highest likelihood of being found liable.
Get Help With Your Accident Claim
Litigating cargo-related trucking accidents is a long and complex undertaking. Between determining how the accident occurred, who is to blame for causing the accident, which litigation targets have assets and insurance sufficient to pay a judgment, and documenting medical and property damages, attorneys and expert witnesses are often essential to maximizing recovery. This especially holds true when, all too often, the truck company and its insurers hire their own counsel with the goal of paying as little compensation as possible.
If you have been injured in a cargo-related trucking accident in the Louisville, Kentucky area, do not try to handle your claim alone. At Sampson Law Firm, we have years of experience litigating cargo-related trucking accidents. We have the experience necessary to effectively organize your case and present it in the best light possible to get you the compensation that you deserve. Give us a call at (502) 584-5050, and get the edge you need.