Falling cargo poses traffic risks | Skolnick Weiser Law Firm, LLC
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Falling cargo poses traffic risks

A recent verdict in an out-of-state wrongful death case draws attention to an important safety issues for Ohio drivers: the risk of accidents caused by falling objects. The case in question arose from the death of a man who was killed after his vehicle struck a piece of logging equipment that had come loose from a nearby truck. A federal jury recently awarded $3 million to the man’s family.

When it comes to hauling cargo, safety should always be front and center. Whether it is heavy machinery, furniture or even trash, any object that falls from a moving vehicle can create a very serious risk of traffic accidents, injuries and death. 

To minimize that risk, anyone who hauls cargo for personal or professional purposes must ensure that it is properly secured. This means not only making sure that the objects are fastened to the vehicle, but also that it will remain in place. Sometimes, an object that seems secure will come loose due to the motion of the vehicle as it drives, so it is important to consider this risk and ensure that the cargo is secure enough to withstand the bumps, jolts and vibrations inherent to driving.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cargo should be secure enough to withstand not only normal driving conditions, but also any unusual circumstances that may arise, such as inclement weather, sudden braking or acceleration, or even a collision. In the case discussed above, the logging equipment had been held in place by chains, but those chains snapped when the truck hauling them hit a guardrail. As a result, the machinery fell from the truck and into the path of oncoming traffic. When accidents occur as a result of falling cargo, the person or company responsible for securing the cargo may be held financially liable for any resulting injuries.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Federal jury awards $3 million to family of man killed on bridge in Louisiana, Mo.," Valerie Schremp, June 24, 2014

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