Large trucks haul many types of heavy cargo along North Carolina’s network of highways. Federal and state regulations set forth requirements for safely securing loads onto big rigs and tractor-trailers. Unfortunately, falling debris from trucks often causes serious harm to others on the road. At Nagle & Associates, Raleigh truck accident lawyer Carl Nagle helps people who have been injured by cargo that has fallen from large commercial vehicles. With seven offices throughout North Carolina, our office has guided people from Raleigh, Asheville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem, among other cities, in bringing claims for compensation from big rig drivers, their employers, or other parties that failed to properly secure cargo onto their vehicles. Our skill in litigating tractor-trailer accident cases is bolstered by Carl Nagle’s past experience as an insurance claims adjuster and an insurance defense attorney. Our law firm only handles roadway collision matters, and we have successfully collected hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of accident victims throughout the state.Pursuing Compensation for Injuries Resulting from Falling Cargo
Various factors may cause loose debris or cargo to roll off a big rig or tractor-trailer, including the driver’s failure to properly secure the load. Hauling cargo on a commercial vehicle requires complying with federal and state regulations regarding how to tie the load and distribute the weight so that it does not fall off the truck. When cargo becomes loose on a truck or tractor-trailer, it may force another driver to suddenly brake or swerve to avoid colliding with the falling debris. Falling debris may also create dangerous conditions on the road, including slippery and slick surfaces in some circumstances.
When falling debris causes an accident, the individual or entity responsible for securing the load may be held legally liable for injuries resulting from the accident. Injured victims pursuing legal claims usually can recover damages from a party that did not load cargo according to regulations, and also from the driver and the trucking company if the driver failed to properly inspect the load and all cargo securement before driving. Negligence, or a failure to act as a reasonable person would have behaved under the circumstances, typically serves as the basis for a legal claim after a falling debris accident. Injured victims would seek to demonstrate that the driver and cargo loaders owed them a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused their injuries and damages.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations is a body of law that governs truck drivers and trucking companies. There are cargo securement rules that require specific devices to secure cargo and prevent other items from shifting or falling from the vehicle. The intent of these regulations is to reduce accidents caused by falling cargo.
An accident that results from falling debris requires assessing its specific cause. A negligent truck driver may have forgotten to check the load or adjust the cargo to make sure it remained properly secured. Equipment or cargo securing devices may have failed, leading to debris shifting and eventually falling off the truck. Many times, however, the insurers that represent truck companies attempt to avoid liability by asserting the defense that the driver did not know that the load was unsecure, or that those that actually loaded and secured the cargo did not work for the trucking company.
Another defense that may be asserted following an accident is that of contributory negligence. North Carolina law precludes plaintiffs from recovering compensation if they contributed in any way to the accident. However, there still are ways to overcome this defense, such as by demonstrating that the defendant truck driver maintained the last clear chance to avoid an accident but failed to do so. In that case, the defendant would be accountable, and the plaintiff may still be able to recover compensation. It is critical to discuss your case as soon as possible with a knowledgeable motor vehicle collision attorney who can craft a strategy that is tailored to your situation.Falling Debris – Nagle & Associates Success Story
Our firm has handled many falling cargo cases, but one hard-fought case is perhaps the best example. Our client, Jerry, was driving an 18-wheeler making a delivery when he came across two large metal crates that had fallen off a flat-bed trailer 30 minutes earlier. Jerry’s injuries were quite severe and the truck driver and trucking company that dropped the cargo denied liability and blamed Jerry for not reacting sooner and either slowing down or driving around the metal crates. We litigated this case and settled on the Friday afternoon before trial for $2.4 million dollars. We overcame the defense by employing a lighting/visibility expert who teaches for the U.S. Naval Academy. Our crash expert confirmed that due to lack of roadway lighting and the weathered/dull surface of the crates, and considering driver perception-reaction time, Jerry had no fair chance to see or avoid the cargo/debris that fell off the defendant’s flatbed and remained in the center of the road late at night.Explore Your Options with a Truck Accident Lawyer in Raleigh or Beyond
Raleigh truck accident attorney Carl Nagle and the team at Nagle & Associates diligently advocate on behalf of motor vehicle collision victims throughout North Carolina. As a law firm that focuses solely on this area of personal injury law, we know how to secure maximum compensation for all of the physical, emotional, and financial damages that the victim is forced to endure following a falling cargo accident. Our firm requests a smaller share of any ultimate recovery, appreciating that a lower legal fee leaves more money with our client which can ease the financial stress on victims and their families. Our personalized service includes a free initial consultation with an experienced NC motor vehicle collision attorney. We can be reached by calling (800) 411-1583 or using our online form to share your case facts with Carl and his legal team. Our North Carolina truck accident law firm has seven offices statewide, and we have represented residents of Asheville, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Hickory, Wilmington, Greensboro, Charlotte, and other cities throughout Wake, Guilford, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, Durham, Catawba, and New Hanover Counties.