Liability for a Car Crash Caused by Loose Cargo

moving things around in trunkAlthough 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.

Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Ph: (612) TSR-TIME.

Can You Pursue More Compensation After Agreeing to Settle Your Injury Claim?

reviewing documents at a deskThere are many steps involved in pursuing compensation for an injury caused by another’s negligence. One of the final steps is often signing a settlement release with the at-fault party’s insurance company (or the victim’s own carrier for uninsured or underinsured settlements.)

Why is signing a settlement release one of the final steps?

To put it simply, once you sign a settlement release you are releasing the insurance company (and their insured bad driver) from future liability related to the crash in question. That means you are unable to file more claims or lawsuits, with rare exceptions.

Below, we discuss why it is very unlikely victims can file more claims after signing a settlement release. If you were injured in a car crash, or another type of accident, give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. We have been securing compensation for injury victims for decades and have obtained millions on behalf of our clients.

Why Signing a Settlement Usually Closes a Case

Insurance companies would not settle a case unless it provided some benefit to them. Even though a settlement requires them to pay money to the victim, settlements have clauses that release insurance companies from all past current and future liability. That means the victim waives his or her right to file any more claims or lawsuits regarding the accident.

The settlement agreement typically has a clause saying you accept compensation as resolution of all your claims. Once the settlement agreement is signed by the parties involved, the settlement becomes a legally binding contract.

What if You Later Discover You Need More Money?

There are times when victims realize they need more money for the damages caused by their injuries. Maybe they have run out of compensation but still need to attend doctor’s appointments or need more income to make up for a loss of earning capacity.

Unfortunately, there is usually no way to pursue more compensation for your damages. The settlement offer you signed is legally binding. It does not matter how severe your injuries are or how desperate your financial situation may be.

That is why it is so important to make sure the settlement offer provides all the compensation you will need before you sign it. It is crucial to work with an experienced Bloomington personal injury lawyer who has done this before and has a record of success. You want to be sure the settlement you are signing covers the full cost of all your past and future damages.

When Could You File Another Claim After Settling a Case?

If there were multiple at-fault parties, you may be able to file claims against any parties you have not already settled with. The release from liability in a settlement agreement only applies to that insurance company, not others.  A Pierrenger Release with the majority at fault insurance carrier would allow the victim to pursue other tortfeasors in the same crash.

For example, if you were injured because of another’s negligence and the negligence of a product manufacturer, you may be able to settle the claim against the individual’s insurance company and continue to pursue the product manufacturer.

What if There Are No Other Parties to File Claims Against?

You might be able to reopen a claim if you can prove you were coerced into signing a settlement, your mental capacity was limited or that the insurance company committed fraud. While insurance companies often make misleading statements or try to delay the legal process, proving an insurance company committed fraud is almost impossible.

This is something you should discuss with an experienced attorney. Our experienced attorneys have extensive knowledge of Minnesota’s Good Faith Law and what it requires insurance companies to do while handling a claim.

Steps to Take Before Settling a Case

Signing a settlement offer before discussing it with a licensed attorney is a bad idea. How can you be sure the settlement provides the compensation you need for medical bills and other damages? How do you know the different releases available to keep other claims viable or to preserve the next level of coverage such as underinsured claims with a Schmidt notice?

Talking to an attorney should give you peace of mind that someone committed to your best interests is evaluating your claim. You want to make sure a settlement will provide the compensation you need for medical treatment and other damages, so you do not need to pay for things out of your own pocket.

Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Your Claim

You do not need to go through the legal process alone. A licensed attorney from TSR Injury Law may be able to help you, and hiring an attorney often results in recovering more compensation than if you go through the legal process alone.

There are no upfront fees or legal obligations with our services. That means there is no financial risk in contacting our firm to learn more about how we may be able to assist you. We are dedicated to securing maximum compensation to help you and your family during this difficult time.

Give us a call today to learn more. Call (612) TSR-TIME.