Loading and unloading a truck can seem like a simple and easy process, and for the most part, it is. However, accidents can still happen. When a trucker gets injured during the loading or unloading of a shipment, there are several twists and turns that can affect liability. There are safety regulations and rules that must be followed and also help to determine who is at fault or responsible for compensating an injured party.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is largely responsible for governing the rules about who is responsible for ensuring safety in shipping yards between truckers and shippers. Usually, it is the shipper that is responsible for loading up the truck, securing the freight, and applying a seal to the trailer doors. The driver is frequently not present at the time of unloading and loading of the truck, although if the driver is, the shipper usually does not permit the trucker on the loading dock.
In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also lays out some regulations as to whom is responsible for safety. Their regulations state that the trucking company and driver are ultimately responsible for the safe operations of the truck, but those regulations do not apply to people that shop or receive freight on trucks.
Determining Fault and Liability
The trucking company is generally not responsible for injuries that occur if the shipper was the one to load or pack the truck and an injury was sustained. However, if the truck driver witnesses the packing of the cargo, participates in loading, or could have made safer adjustments, liability could fall on the trucking company or driver.
Another major case of liability arises when someone is injured because of shifting or falling freight, either in transit or during the unloading process. If the shipper was the one who loaded and secured the freight, the trucking company is typically not liable if an injury is sustained. This is also the case if a check of the freight was impractical after the shipper finishing loading the truck. A trucker who opens cargo vehicles doors and is injured by falling freight could have a case for litigation. Liability in this instance will typically fall on the shipper/persons that loaded the truck.
Every personal injury case is different, and consulting with an attorney who has experience in trucking accidents will help you determine the next steps to take after an injury is sustained.
Contact our firm today at (800) 905-8777 if you or someone you know was injured in a trucking accident and would like to seek compensation.