The Personal Injury Blog

Unsecured Loads: The hidden danger when driving

Our experience shows that all drivers must be very careful about storing and securing heavy and/or dangerous items in the boots or rear seats of their cars, vans or other vehicles. Those items have the potential to cause serious injuries if the driver is involved in an accident, whether it is their fault or not.

When a collision occurs, the drivers and passengers are usually restrained by airbags and seatbelts and kept in their seats. However, unsecured loads will keep on moving upon impact and often cause serious injuries.

I remember a client who suffered a broken vertebra in his neck when a sheet of chipboard struck him from behind after his van collided with another. He was lucky not to be decapitated.

A friend’s father was involved in a crash several years ago and although he suffered only minor injuries, his pet dog was thrown violently across the rear of his car and sadly died.

In a more recent case, the driver who caused an accident on a country road was impaled by a sharp tool which he was carrying in the back of his van which penetrated through his seat during the collision. He was lucky to survive after an air ambulance took him to hospital in time for surgeons to save his life.

Even at relatively low speeds, unsecured objects will be thrown around upon impact, so drivers should remember to secure their loads including shopping, pets and fellow passengers!

Although we have not come across such an allegation yet, it is very likely that insurance companies will argue that they should not pay for injuries caused to a driver by their failure to secure a load in the back of their car.

If you wish to speak to one of our team then please call us on 0114 218 4000 or email

Jonathan Stittle

Jonathan Stittle, head of our personal injury department, joined Taylor&Emmet in 1986 and became a partner a year later. He studied law in Oxford and Chester and has been a member of the Law Society’s personal injury panel since it was formed in 1994. For more information on this topic email or call him on 0114 218 4049.

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