Who’s Liable When a Load Isn’t Secure?

ELI5: Negligence

Picture this: you’re driving down the freeway and there’s a truck in front of you, hauling a bunch of logs. Unfortunately, those logs weren’t tied down correctly, and one of them hit your car, causing you to sustain some pretty serious injuries. Most people would assume that the person driving the car is liable for the injuries that result from a load that wasn’t properly secured. However, there could be multiple parties who are liable when a spilled load causes another driver to sustain an injury.

The Driver

Usually the driver will be liable for any loads that spill, or aren’t properly secured. So if a person is driving a car and towing a trailer, and that trailer somehow becomes detached from the hitch, the person driving the car is likely liable. The same goes for loads such as furniture, debris, rocks, construction materials, etc. In the most straightforward terms: drivers can be liable for any injury or property damage that was caused by items falling off of their car. In many cases, trailers become detached and loads spill due to the driver’s negligence when securing the trailer or load. However, it’s not always only the driver’s fault, even if it was the driver who improperly secured the trailer or load.

The Company

If the driver’s job is to haul materials or trailers, they may not be liable for the injuries the unsecured load causes. For the most part, employers are liable for what their employees do. If employers don’t provide their employees with proper equipment or training, they may be liable when the lack of equipment and training leads to injuries. Furthermore, employers are also responsible for ensuring that their employees are following all procedures and protocols. Employers also have a responsibility to ensure that their employees have the credentials, certifications, experience, education, and training necessary to safely do the job. If the company’s negligence (whether caused by an employee’s lack of training, company policies and/or protocols, or a lack of equipment) caused an injury, the company could be liable.

Product Liability

Entities involved with the manufacturing, design, and marketing of a product may be liable for any injuries their product causes. If a design defect causes a trailer to detach from the hitch, the entity that designed the trailer hitch could be responsible for the damages, both injuries and property damages, their defective design caused. If the trailer hitch or other equipment used to secure the load or trailer didn’t come with proper instructions or warnings, the entity responsible for the product’s safety-warnings and instructions may be liable for any injuries or property damage the lack of proper instruction caused.

Other Parties

It’s not just the entities that created the product, the company the driver works for, or the driver himself that can be liable when a load becomes detached from a vehicle. Other parties may be liable as well. If someone other than the driver secures the load or hooks up the trailer, they could be liable if their negligence causes the trailer to detach. For example, imagine that you go to a furniture store and buy a new dining room table but the table won’t fit in the back seat of your Prius. The furniture store secures it for you, but it falls out of your car and causes someone to become injured. In this case, the furniture store may be liable for some of the injuries the table causes.

Is a Personal Injury Attorney Necessary?

Depending on your circumstances, it may be a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney. However, no matter what your situation is, it’s always a good idea to at least consult an attorney. A personal injury attorney can help determine who’s liable for a spilled load or runaway trailer. In some cases, the liability might not always be so obvious. Furthermore, commercial insurance policies aren’t always excited to pay the injured party fair compensation. Hiring a personal injury attorney will almost definitely boost your chances of getting a fair settlement.

We’re Here for You

At Moxie Law Group, our experienced legal team can help you get the compensation you deserve without costing you a significant amount of time and money. We help our communities by offering free consultations to help the injured party determine whether or not they would like to move forward with the claim. If we can help the injured party win fair compensation, we’ll take their case on contingency.

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