Falling Semi Truck Cargo Spills, Kills Oncoming Driver

A man from Portland, Oregon, was only 31 years old when the semi-truck he was driving in Idaho struck hay bales that had fallen into his path from another tractor-trailer rig. The time was 11:50 a.m. on February 9, 2017, when Idaho State Police were called to investigate the crash. The troopers reported that he died from his injuries at the scene.

This extraordinary young man was heading east on U.S. Highway 20/26/93 pulling a utility box trailer behind a 2013 Freightliner semi. Unbeknownst to him, another semi was driving toward him, pulling three trailers loaded with heavy hay bales. According to the State Police news release issued just 11 hours after the fatal truck crash, the rear trailer carrying hay flipped onto its driver’s side, “spilling the load of hay into the eastbound travel lane’’ at milepost 222, between Carey and Arco, Idaho. His truck crashed into the hay bales and then struck a large snow berm on the south side of the road, the report said.

The opposing driver was identified as a 22-year-old trucker from West Valley, Utah. State Police officers made notice in their report that the man who was killed was properly fastened in his cab with a seatbelt. Still, his life could not be saved. The result of the uncontrolled failure of the hay trailer was a fatal injury crash that cost him his life at young age.

Falling Cargo Lawsuit

Semi trailers are ever more dangerous when transporting cargo, as the materials loaded onto them can break loose and cause catastrophic accidents when they are not properly secured, loaded poorly or pulled too fast. Those mistakes can cause a load shift that puts other motorists and pedestrians at risk.

A good truck crash lawyer is able to launch an independent investigation into any fatal road spill to determine how the opposing driver or trucking company failed to comply with the cargo securement law set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). New cargo securement laws went into effect in 2004. Hay trailers don’t tip and spill when they are loaded to the correct height and weight, then properly tied down and pulled at a safe speed.

The FMCSA puts it this way: The intent of the cargo securement law and its new requirements is to reduce the number of accidents caused by cargo shifting on or within, or falling from, commercial motor vehicles operating in interstate commerce.

The new rules require motor carriers to change the way they use cargo securement devices to prevent articles from shifting on or within, or falling from commercial motor vehicles. The changes may require motor carriers to increase the number of tiedowns used to secure certain types of cargo.

The law says cargo must be “firmly immobilized’’ by structures of adequate strength, including dunnage, shoring bars, tiedowns or a combination of equipment. A hay trailer doesn’t tip and spill if it’s been properly loaded and is being pulled at a safe speed. When a hay trailer being pulled on a U.S. highway by a semi-truck tips and spills across the oncoming lane of traffic, the driver has lost control of the rig in a way that begs the question of negligence.

Truck crash attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman of Pritzker Hageman, P.A., represent victims of wrongful death cases to hold motor carriers responsible for out-of-control handling of their rigs. They have collected millions of dollars for next of kin while making sense out of how and why the crash happened in the first place. Clients of Pritzker Hageman take the most solace from knowing the companies and individuals responsible for safe operation are held responsible for crashes they cause. In one recent case, our law firm won $2,850,000 on behalf of the family of a man who was killed when his vehicle was struck by debris from a truck. The man was survived by his wife, two minor children and two adult children from a previous marriage.

For a free case consultation, contact Fred or Eric online or call direct and toll-free to their offices 1-888-377-8900. Pritzker Hageman is a national law firm with clients across the country. If our lawyers agree to take your case, you don’t pay them unless and until money arrives from a settlement or court decision.

Recent cases won on behalf of our clients:

$2,560,000  recovery for husband and wife whose vehicle was hit by a semi-tractor-trailer rig and then collided at highway speed with an SUV. The husband sustained traumatic brain injury and orthopedic injuries, and his wife suffered orthopedic injuries.

$6,000,000 on behalf of a family that suffered the loss of three loved ones in a motor vehicle collision.

$4,050,000 on behalf of a family who lost loved ones when a negligently repaired vehicle caused its driver to lose control and collide with their minivan.

$6,000,000 on behalf of a 26 year-old female passenger whose right leg was traumatically amputated when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger was struck by a drunk driver.

$2,469,339 verdict in wrongful death case on behalf of the family of a 52-year-old female bicyclist run over by a right turning tractor-semi-trailer.  The truck’s insurer refused to make any settlement offer contending the bicyclist was at fault. The jury returned its verdict in favor of the bicyclist’s survivors following an eight-day trial.

Hay Bales

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Category: Accidents
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