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Liability for a Car Crash Caused by Loose Cargo

shifting things around in back of carAlthough most vehicles on the road are loaded properly, sometimes, cargo can be improperly secured. Loose or falling cargo can create a dangerous hazard for other drivers. The cargo may fall off the back of a vehicle and cause a car crash, which may lead to serious injuries and significant property damage.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car crash caused by loose cargo, it is important to understand your available legal options. An initial consultation with a vehicle accident lawyer in Bloomington is free of charge and comes with no obligation to retain our services. We only get paid if we help you recover compensation.

Call (612) TSR-TIME for legal help today.

Negligence in Securing Cargo on a Vehicle

Negligence can result in devastating car crashes. A driver who does not properly secure cargo to his or her vehicle may be deemed careless or negligent. Perhaps the driver loading and transporting the cargo felt that the cargo would be too heavy to shift and did not need additional strapping.

Regardless of his or her reasoning, loose or unsecured cargo can cause significant damage, particularly when it was on a car traveling at a high rate of speed. Cargo that can create a dangerous road hazard includes, but is not limited to:

  • Furniture, such as mattresses and dressers
  • Appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines
  • Equipment, such as work tools and wood
  • And more

Cargo can sometimes fall off a vehicle and onto the road. The cargo may hit a vehicle or injure an occupant in the vehicle or cause the driver to lose control of his or her vehicle and crash. Crashes may also happen because another driver tries to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the fallen cargo.

Loose cargo may also fall on top of a vehicle’s hood or go through the vehicle’s windshield. The injuries sustained can be life-threatening.

Improperly secured cargo may even cause issues if it remains in the vehicle. When cargo is not evenly distributed, it can make the vehicle harder to control and increase the risk of a crash. Unsecured cargo that shifts inside a vehicle may cause it to tip over.

State Law on Securing Cargo

Section 169.81 of the Minnesota Statutes outlines the proper way to load and secure cargo to vehicles. A vehicle cannot be driven on any highway carrying cargo unless it has been securely covered. The cargo must be secured well enough to prevent it from dropping, shifting, leaking, blowing or escaping.

If a cargo shifts and falls off one vehicle and hits another vehicle on the road, the driver carrying the cargo may not be automatically liable for damages. A car crash may still happen even if the assumed at-fault driver did anything and everything possible to secure the cargo properly to his or her vehicle.

Liability is also often shared by multiple parties. The party that loaded and secured the cargo may have loaded the cargo incorrectly or failed to use adequate tie downs or other devices to secure the cargo.

If you have been harmed due to someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds to pursue a legal claim to help cover your medical bills and lost wages. It may be in your best interest to speak with an experienced lawyer who can protect your rights and help you prove the other driver’s careless actions.

Do Drivers Have a Duty to Avoid Fallen Cargo?   

Every driver has a legal duty to operate his or her vehicle safely and responsibly. Part of this legal duty is to be alert on the road and look for any potential hazards. All drivers should  to take precautions to avoid fallen cargo:

  • The driver was following the vehicle with the cargo too closely  
  • There was some sort of warning that the cargo was in danger of falling and the driver behind the vehicle with the cargo had sufficient time to react

If the driver kept a safe following distance and was not aware of any known potential hazards, a car crash caused by loose cargo would have more than likely been out of the driver’s control.

Ways to Stay Safe on the Road in Minnesota

Drivers who decide to transport any cargo on their vehicles must make sure that the cargo is properly secured before getting on the road. Some safety measures that should be taken include:

  • Covering the cargo with secured tarps
  • Using thick rope and vehicle tie downs
  • Not overloading the vehicle with cargo
  • Inspecting the cargo between stops

Ways you could also stay safe and help reduce the risk of a car crash include:

  • Remaining alert and focused at all times
  • Slowing down if you spot potential road hazards
  • Avoiding tailgating so you have time to make evasive maneuvers

Reach Out to Our Firm for a Free Case Review

Loose cargo can cause serious car crashes. If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed in a crash, our lawyers at TSR Injury Law are here to help. You may be able to pursue compensation to help cover your medical bills, lost wages and other crash-related losses.

Contact us to learn more about how we may be able to help. The initial consultation we offer costs nothing so there is no risk to you. If we determine that you have a valid claim, there are zero upfront fees to hire our firm. We only get paid if we help you obtain compensation via a settlement or verdict.

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