According to an American Automobile Association (AAA) three-year study, more then 200,000 car accidents across the country were caused by loose cargo falling off vehicles. Nearly 40,000 individuals were injured in these crashes and 500 people died. These numbers are up a staggering 40 percent since a similar study was done in 2001. We depend on those operating cars and trucks around us to make smart and safe decisions, which include properly restraining loose objects such as furniture, lumber, tools, and any loads that do not fit inside the vehicle itself.
Dangers of Loose Cargo and Debris
While it is obvious that a heavy, airborne object poses a serious risk to the passengers traveling behind it, loose loads are dangerous in other ways as well. Objects flying in front of your car can impede the driver’s vision and cause them to lose control. Debris that lands on the ground in the roadway causes drivers to swerve to avoid these obstacles and potentially collide with other cars and trucks, leave the roadway, or overturn. Even accumulated ice and snow can lead to serious and fatal car accidents. As cars gain speed and loose snow and ice dislodges, it can impair the driver’s vision and crash into nearby vehicles.
Taking Steps to Properly Secure Your Load
If you are transporting large or loose cargo, there are steps you can and should take before you start your vehicle to protect yourself and those around you:
- Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and can safely transport the extra weight of your cargo.
- Check tires for proper inflation.
- Use heavy-duty netting, rope, or ratchet straps to fasten objects.
- Larger items should be secured directly to your vehicle as heavier objects can become loose.
- If you cannot safely secure all your cargo, transport it in multiple trips.
Liability for Unsecured Cargo Accidents
Every state has laws making unsecured loads illegal. Yet, despite the serious risk to other travelers, the penalties are relatively lenient. So, what if you are injured by debris or objects that have fallen from a vehicle ahead of you? Who is responsible for your medical bills, property damage, and emotional trauma you face after a preventable car accident?
If it is shown the other driver failed to safely and securely fasten their cargo and the object fell as a result of improper loading or operation of the vehicle, you likely have grounds to bring a personal injury claim for the injuries, expenses, and pain and suffering you have incurred. A qualified Philadelphia car accident lawyer can review your case and the details surrounding your crash and explain all your legal options to hold the other driver accountable.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Represent Clients Injured by Unsecured Cargo
Ice, tools, landscaping equipment, and furniture become weapons when they are not properly secured in a moving vehicle. In a matter of seconds, an airborne object can collide with your car and cause devastating injuries. The Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC aggressively protect the rights of injured victims and hold negligent drivers responsible for accidents that could have been prevented. If you were injured in such an accident and have questions about your legal options, call us at 215-569-8488 or use the convenient online form to schedule free consultation today. With locations in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.