The Dangers that a Commercial Truck’s Lost Cargo Can Pose to Other Drivers on California’s Roads and Highways

The Dangers that a Commercial Truck’s Lost Cargo Can Pose to Other Drivers on California’s Roads and Highways

If you’re injured in a truck accident caused by lost cargo, there’s a lot of work to do. The array of possible errors that led to the crash are numerous and varied. There’s much to investigate, starting with the trucker’s log books to the truck’s maintenance and repair records to evidence related to the loading process. To ensure you “get to the bottom” of what caused your accident, that you hold all responsible parties accountable for their negligence, and that you get everything you deserve from your legal action, you need an experienced Santa Barbara truck accident lawyer who can do the thorough and complete investigation your case deserves.    

Lost lumber has been in the news recently. In mid-April, a major accident on southbound Highway 101 brought traffic to a standstill just west of Santa Barbara. A piece of lumber from a lumber truck had flown off a truck and “impaled” the windshield of a nearby Nissan Xterra SUV. Any injuries and their severity were unknown to the Santa Barbara Independent were unknown at the time of the Independent’s report.

Sadly, this is not the only similar incident to occur in Southern California. A Los Angeles accident ended with a piece of lumber escaping a flatbed truck and striking a box truck driver in the torso, killing him, according to a KTLA report.

While lumber flying off trucks is somewhat rare, lost payloads from big rigs and other commercial trucks aren’t. Shifting or otherwise improperly secured cargo is to blame in roughly 1 of every 15 semi-truck accidents in this country. 

How Mistakes Lead to Lost Cargo Accidents

View of a truck involved in an accident on a highway.

As noted above, the reasons for these accidents are numerous. The truck driver may have been speeding, distracted, or driving more than the time limits imposed by federal regulations, causing him/her to drive unsafely and lose his/her load. The truck may have been unsafe because it was not properly repaired/maintained, had a manufacturing/design defect, or was the wrong truck for the job. The people responsible for loading the truck may have loaded the cargo in an unsafe manner.

The law imposes on those hauling loads in commercial trucks an obligation to ensure that all pieces of the load are loaded safely and sufficiently secured. This includes taking appropriate steps to avoid overloading and unbalanced loads.  

Carriers may err – and have potential legal liability for their negligence – in a variety of ways. They may use improper, broken, or defective materials or devices to restrain or secure a load. They may use a truck that hadn’t been inspected or was the wrong type of truck, and they may fail to inspect the cargo after it was loaded onto the truck to ensure that the load was adequately fixed and stabilized to prevent shifting. Federal regulations regarding trucking demand that carriers ensure their cargos are loaded in a way that they cannot leak, spill, or fall off the truck.   

Overloading is often especially dangerous. An overloaded truck can be at a heightened risk of tipping over during windy conditions, making turns, negotiating curves, or on a banked road. The excess weight may also diminish the truck’s braking ability.        

Truck accident cases are frequently more complicated than car accident cases. The accident itself is often more complex, trucking regulations are more numerous and more intricate, and the trucks themselves are imminently more complicated. To make certain you’re getting everything from your case, you need legal counsel who fully understands these regulations, these vehicles, and these accidents. The knowledgeable Santa Barbara truck accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP have more than 75 years of combined experience, with truck accident cases forming a notable portion of that experience. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today so that we can begin formulating a legal strategy to get you fairly compensated in a timely manner.


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