Unsecured Load Caused a Truck Accident?

This video features Kevin Swenson, a Personal Injury attorney based in Utah.

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Video Transcript:

Kevin Swenson: 

It requires a fair amount of digging, and pretty quickly, because some of that stuff can go away pretty fast.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Have you ever driven behind a large truck, and it looked like the load could spill across the highway at any moment? Well, who is responsible if it does, and how are you compensated if you're hurt? We're gonna find out right now on this episode of Ask The Lawyer. My guest is Utah Attorney Kevin Swenson. I wanna remind you, if you wanna ask Kevin questions about your situation, it's easy. Go to askthelawyers.com, click the button up top that says Ask A Lawyer, or you can always call the phone number you'll see at the top of your screen. Kevin, thanks for joining us today.

Kevin Swenson: 

Thank you.

Molly Hendrickson: 

So most people don't realize this, but some truck accidents can be caused by unsecured loads. Have you seen this issue in your truck accident practice? And why does this matter?

Kevin Swenson: 

Yeah, we see that fairly regularly, unfortunately, in our trucking practice, and it matters because it can cause very, very serious injuries.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And there can be a number of problems, including overloaded trailers or unsecured or inbalanced loads. Are these types of things regulated by the trucking industry?

Kevin Swenson: 

They are regulated, as far as weight and what they're required to carry. They're also regulated by how they're supposed to be tied down. There are federal regulations on tie-downs. There are industry standards on what's required to tie it down correctly, and sometimes it doesn't happen. We just recently had a very serious case where a driver didn't have it tied down well and went around a corner too fast and caused real, serious injuries to a few different people.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Absolutely terrifying to think about. Who is responsible to make sure that the truck is loaded properly? Is it the company? Is it the driver? Or is it a third party?

Kevin Swenson: 

It can be any of those. The third party may load it and require that they load it. There are sealed loads, where they haven't loaded, and a driver picks it up and can't even open it to inspect it. And then different contractual agreements between the parties, say either the driver is responsible to load it or the location where they're picking up does all of the loading. So it's really case-by-case specific.

Molly Hendrickson: 

If an unsecured load caused an accident with a passenger vehicle, how would a person determine that this issue was the cause of the accident? Is this obvious when something like this happens on the roads?

Kevin Swenson:

That's a great question, because there are times where it's extremely obvious. People will see something come off and immediately hit a car or cause some kind of problems. But then you've also got situations where something like a ladder or something small falls off, and nobody sees where it comes from, and then somebody hits it a little later. So in that kind of a situation, you would have to be looking at your uninsured motorist claim to file that claim. So again, it's kind of case-specific, and you can go a lot of different directions with that.

Molly Hendrickson: 

In those types of situations where you don't actually see it detach, how do you determine what happened and who's at fault in the accident? And is this something a person can do without an attorney? How important is it to obtain an attorney in these types of situations?

Kevin Swenson: 

Unfortunately, it's become extremely important for you to get an attorney in those kind of cases because documents get hidden. Even when you have an attorney and you have somebody who's not very experienced with it, the trucking companies frequently try to hide documents or just not produce them, say they're not relevant, ao it's very hard to get the documents. But there are some basic documents that will set out the contract between the company and the third party, the shipper, sometimes there's a broker involved, and it will talk about who's required to load it, and sometimes it even tells you the specifications that are required to load it or the minimum requirements to load it. So again, it becomes very specific to your case, and it requires a fair amount of digging and pretty quickly, because some of that stuff can go away pretty fast.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And you talked about how sometimes these things detach and somebody just runs into them, they don't actually see the load detach from the truck. So what does that process look like in determining what exactly happened and who's at fault?

Kevin Swenson: 

Yeah, sometimes you're just not gonna get the person that's at fault. We've had ladders that have come off on multiple occasions, and sometimes we've had the name of the company on the ladder. So that will help greatly. Other times, it's just a ladder, and nobody knows where it came from that's involved in the crash, and then you have to look to your own insurance company to pay that and get the money that way. So it's a bit tricky at times.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And as somebody who sees these cases regularly, what would you say is the number one cause of these? Is it not securing things properly, or... What do you see?

Kevin Swenson: 

Yeah, the problem that we see on a regular basis is that they're not loaded properly initially, and then the second thing is the driver is required every so often to stop and make sure that it's loaded, and a lot of times, that just doesn't happen. And so as they get going on a long trip, things work loose and end up becoming loose enough that something can fall out or fall off of the truck. So usually it's primarily a bad loading job, and then secondarily, it's not checking on it and keeping it secured as you're required to do.

Molly Hendrickson: 

Such a frightening thing to think about as you're driving down the road. We appreciate your time talking to us today, Kevin.

Kevin Swenson: 

Thank you.

Molly Hendrickson: 

And that's gonna do it for this episode of Ask The Lawyer. My guest has been lawyer Kevin Swenson. I wanna remind you, if you'd like to ask Kevin questions about your situation, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the top of the page that says Ask A Lawyer, and it will walk you through the very simple process. Thanks for watching. I'm Molly Hendrickson for Ask The Lawyers.

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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