In Maryland, we all drive near semi trucks from time to time. These massive vehicles can be intimidating, as most of us are aware of the damage that can be caused by an errant big rig. Although semi trucks themselves can be extremely dangerous when driven by a negligent trucker, their cargo can also pose a significant hazard to other motorists. If improperly secured, piping, construction equipment, and concrete barricades can all come crashing into the road, sending cars swerving to avoid them. Sometimes these incidents result in serious accidents that leave innocent, unsuspecting motorists with serious injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued rules with regard to cargo securement. For example, flatbed truckers may be required to use tiedowns as a way to secure their cargo. Tiedowns are meant to prevent cargo from moving if it is not already inhibited by other cargo, a bulkhead, or a headboard. The number of tiedowns required depends on the weight and length of the cargo being secured. Cargo that is shorter than five feet and less than 1,100 pounds can be secured with one tiedown. A load that is between five and 10 feet, however, requires two tiedowns.
Tiedowns themselves are subject to regulations governing how they should be attached to cargo and where they should be placed. Properly securing cargo should be part of a trucker’s training, so any mishap that results in another’s injury could be the fault of both the trucker and the company for which he works.
Maryland residents who have been hurt by a negligent trucker or truck company should carefully consider their legal options. If negligence can be proven to have caused the accident and a victim’s injuries, then a personal injury lawsuit may succeed, bringing a victim much-needed compensation, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Source: FMCSA, “Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement,” accessed on Jan. 29, 2017