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Who is Responsible for Unsecured Load Truck Accidents in California?

Liability in unsecured load truck accidents

Many truck accidents involving passenger vehicles occur due to driver error. However, some commercial vehicle accidents are caused by an unsecured cargo load. If you were injured in a truck accident that was caused by an unsecured load, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages, however, you must work with a truck accident lawyer to determine who can be held liable, based on the circumstances of the accident.

Determining Liability After a Truck Accident 

Who is held liable for an unsecured load accident can depend on many factors. A truck accident lawyer will have the experience and resources needed to conduct an in-depth investigation to identify all liable parties.

Parties that can be held liable for an unsecured load accident include:

Trucking Company

The trucking company can be held liable for an unsecured load accident. A trucking company and its employees have to obey rules and requirements that are related to cargo, which are enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These rules involve cargo securement rules and regulations, which are designed to protect drivers on the road from dangerous cargo that’s hauled in open-bed and closed-bed trucks.

Some commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. These massive vehicles must be loaded and secured properly to prevent their cargo from falling out or shifting. Federal rules for cargo include specific securement systems, anchor points, and tie-downs that must be used to minimize the risk of the load shifting or becoming unsecured when the vehicle is in transit.

If the trucking company or truck driver doesn’t comply with these federal cargo securement rules, the cargo can fall free or shift in the bed of the truck. Shifting cargo can throw the truck off balance, resulting in a jackknife or rollover accident.

What is Vicarious Liability?

The trucking company can also be held responsible for errors made by their employees through the rule of vicarious liability. Under this law, an employer is required to speak for their employees in liability claims when their employees have been negligent. While many truckers are not employees but are classified as independent contractors, federal law can still hold the trucking company responsible.


The trucker can also be found liable for a collision that’s caused by an unsecured load if the trucker contributed to the car crash through an act of negligence. For example, if the trucker fails to safely operate the 18-wheeler, causing the load to shift in the truck’s bed, a collision can occur. If the trucker yanked the steering wheel or used the incorrect braking method, this could result in a lost cargo load, even if the cargo was properly secured and loaded.

Cargo Loading Company

The company responsible for loading the cargo can also be held liable if they failed to load and secure the cargo properly.

What Are Common Causes Of Unsecured Load Collisions? 

Unsecured load accidents can be caused by:

  • Failure to properly inspect a load before driving
  • Broken or missing latches
  • Unsecured trailer doors
  • Loose tie-downs
  • Incorrect securement procedures
  • Unbalanced loads
  • Improperly loaded truck beds

Should I Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer? 

If you were involved in a collision caused by an unsecured load, a truck accident lawyer can help. They can conduct an in-depth investigation to determine the liable party or parties. A truck accident lawyer can investigate the accident and work with experts to uncover the truth and identify the cause of the accident and all liable parties.

Contact Us Today!

If you were involved in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent truck driver, contact the truck accident lawyers at MVP Accident Attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our truck accident attorneys have extensive experience handling complex auto accident claims and know how to build a strong case that can help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and more.


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Brett Sachs

Brett S. Sachs graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with Cum Laude Honors. While attending Michigan State, Brett was awarded for his service in the Michigan State University College of Law Civil Rights Clinic, where he represented prisoners of the Michigan Department of Corrections from injustices brought upon them. Learn more.

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