Recently, a semi-truck overturned on I-10 near Culebra Road, spilling its cargo of wooden boards out onto the roadway. Law enforcement closed several lanes of I-10 at I-35, ensuring that no one had the opportunity to drive over the cargo while the accident – and the boards – were cleared. While as of this writing, no one appears to have been injured in this accident, it is important to be aware that accidents happen due to improperly secured or loose cargo with regularity. If you are unfortunate enough to be injured in this type of accident, it can be difficult to determine how best to proceed.
Stakes Are High
Accidents involving road debris are much more common than one might think. A 2016 study from AAA’s Foundation For Traffic Safety estimates that approximately 200,000 accidents occurred between 2011-2014 where road debris was a factor, with roughly 500 deaths occurring and almost 40,000 personal injuries. While many factors might play into how an accident happened, the fact remains that road debris can turn a mild accident into a bad one, and it means drivers must be aware of their surroundings at all times.
In general, most state laws hold that no vehicle can drive on a public road if their cargo is not properly secured, because of the potential danger that they would pose to the public. More specifically, federal regulations govern the securing of cargo, and failure to abide by them can lead to serious fines and license suspensions. This is on top of possible civil and criminal liability if the accident is serious enough. The driver of the truck that overturned on I-10 has all this to worry about on top of potentially incurring his own injuries.
Establishing Negligence Can Be Difficult
Possibly the biggest stumbling block to bringing suit against a trucker or trucking company whose cargo injured you is being able to figure out who to sue. In the case of the I-10 wreck, anyone injured after hitting the wooden boards would have an easier time figuring out who to sue, because the truck rolled over as it dropped its cargo. However, most of the time if cargo falls off a truck, the trucker may not be aware of it, and may simply drive away, none the wiser.
If you do manage to locate your defendant, it can still be hard to establish that they were negligent, because one part of establishing negligence in Texas is showing that the defendant’s actions caused the plaintiff’s injuries, with no other potential causes in between. It is very common for the defendant to argue that the cargo falling was not foreseeable, and thus could not be avoided – and in some cases, it can work, despite the prevalence of these types of accidents on U.S. roads. While it is definitely not impossible to prevail in these cases, you should be aware that it can be difficult to do so.
Call a New Braunfels Truck Accident Attorney
While the I-10 accident ended with no apparent injuries, you may not be so lucky in the future. If you have been injured due to falling truck cargo, the dedicated New Braunfels truck accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm can help you determine how best to go about seeking compensation for your injuries. Call our office today at 888-392-0039 for a free consultation.