Truck accidents occur hundreds of times a year in North Port, Florida. A large semi-truck can carry up to 10,000 pounds of weight in cargo. If some or all of this load comes loose it can lead to serious accidents involving injuries or even fatalities. However, even smaller trucks with lower weight limits can cause devastating consequences if their load is not properly secured or becomes dislodged.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident due to an unsecured load or cargo, you could be suffering from injuries or even the death of a loved one. Victims of this type of crime often do not know where to turn for help and legal advice in order to find out what they could be entitled to.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a similar incident, get in touch with The Law Place to speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer. We will provide all of the legal support and advice you need to understand your rights and how best to proceed. Book your free consultation with a qualified attorney today. Call us on (941) 444-4444. Phone lines are open 24/7.
What Does Florida Law Say About Loads and Cargo?
According to Florida Statute 316.520, any vehicle driven on a Florida highway must be secured to prevent any of its load from dropping onto the road. An exception to this rule is permitted for vehicles that use sand or grit to improve road traction or spray water onto the road for cleaning purposes.
Why Do Unsecured Loads Accidents Happen?
There are many reasons that unsecured cargo can cause a truck accidents to occur. Often these types of accidents happen due to:
- A semi-truck driver using improper equipment to secure their load.
- A driver or trucking company using a vehicle to carry more than the legal weight limit.
- Driving too fast, which causes a load to become unsecured from the truck.
- Poor weather and high winds leading to auto accidents or some of the truckload becoming dislodged.
- Semi-truck drivers violating traffic laws by driving recklessly or dangerously.
- Other motor vehicle operators were driving too close to a truck, swerving into its path, or colliding with it.
- Inadequate cargo-securing equipment due to a manufacturer fault or over-use.
Compensation for Unsecured Load Truck Accidents?
As laid out in Florida Statute 627.7407, Florida is a no-fault state. This means that in most cases, you’ll need to go through your own personal injury protection (PIP) to receive payment. You’ll also need to do this within 14 days of the accident.
You could be entitled to compensation for:
- Lost wages.
- Damage to your property.
- Damage to your car.
- Medical expenses for any injuries.
- Emotional distress for pain and suffering.
North Port, FL., also operates under a comparative negligence rule. This means that after a total cost of damages has been decided, compensation will be awarded based on the percentage of each party’s fault. This means that if total damages amounted to $100,000, but you were found to be 40% at fault for the crash, you will receive 60% of the compensation, or $60,000. Your percentage fault will be deducted from your settlement up to 50%. If your percentage fault is higher than 50%, you will not be entitled to compensation.
What if You’ve Become Injured Through a Truck Cargo Accident?
To receive compensation for any injuries, you’ll need to prove to your insurance company or a jury (if you file an injury lawsuit) that you suffered serious bodily harm. The law considers a serious bodily injury to have one or more of the following characteristics:
- Risk of death.
- Severe disfigurement.
- Impairment of any body part or organ and its function.
You’ll also need to keep a thorough record of any injuries caused, as well as any medical expenses incurred afterward. Make sure to take lots of photographs, write detailed notes of your experience, and keep evidence of any medical bills or expenses that occurred as a direct result of being injured.
Who Could Be Liable for Unsecured Load Truck Accidents?
To determine who is at fault and liable for any damages or compensation, it’s important to work out who caused the accident.
- Truck drivers – The driver of the truck could be liable if they were found to be driving recklessly, exceeding the vehicle weight limit, or violating laws, which led to cargo becoming loose.
- Employers – If the driver of the operator of the truck was employed by a commercial trucking company, their employer could be liable for any damages.
- Manufacturers – If the cargo spilled or came loose because of a manufacturing fault with the ties, tractor, or load covers, then the manufacturer of these materials could be at fault for any crashes.
- Other drivers – It could be that another driver was at fault for the cargo spillage. This could be the case if the other car swerved into the path of the truck or collided with it.
The guilty party may not be immediately clear at the time of the truck accident. This is why it’s so important to receive legal advice. Experienced truck accident attorneys will be able to look objectively at all of the facts and evidence to determine where the liability lies.
Filing a Truck Accident Personal Injury Claim in North Port, Florida
It’s important to contact an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash involving unsecured cargo, especially if you’ve become injured. Many people suffer in silence, as they are not sure where to turn and often do not want to face appearing before a court of law. However, you can still file an injury claim outside of court.
Often, truck accident attorneys are able to settle claims outside of court by negotiating with insurance companies and the legal representation of the other party. Both parties could come to a settlement agreement without ever needing to set foot in a court of law.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Trucking Accident
If a settlement agreement cannot be reached outside of court or your lawyer feels that you may be entitled to a higher level of compensation, you could choose to file a personal injury lawsuit. This will involve bringing your case before a jury in a court of law.
Florida Statute 95.11 states that you have up to four years to file your claim after being involved in a trucking accident. This decreases to 2 years if you are pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in order to protect your legal rights, it’s crucial that you get into contact with a Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the incident. Negotiating claims and bringing a case to a jury if you choose to file a lawsuit can take several years. So, your lawyer will have the best chance of building a solid case and achieving a favorable case outcome if you contact them early on.
Regardless of whether you file your lawsuit against an individual driver or commercial trucking company, the legal process for injury lawsuits can be extremely complicated and difficult to navigate on your own. So, you’ll need to work with a lawyer that has significant legal experience in trucking and driving accidents caused by unsecured loads or cargo.
Contact The Law Place Unsecured Load Truck Accident Attorneys Today
Accidents involving cargo can be devastating and have serious injuries. So, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to achieve the best possible case outcome.
If you’ve been involved in an incident such as this, get in touch with one of our truck accident lawyers here at The Law Place. With over 75 years of cumulative experience across our team and a wide variety of case specialisms, we’re helping people all over North Port to receive the compensation they are entitled to.
Book a free consultation with a licensed truck accident attorney near you. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, call today on (941) 444-4444.