The vast majority of commercial trucks in Illinois and throughout the US operate safely. Truck drivers and trucking companies have incredible responsibilities when it comes to these vehicles. Both state and federal agencies place strict regulations on truck drivers and trucking companies to help ensure that safety is maintained at all times. Unfortunately, accidents do occur. In some cases, truck accidents happen as a result of improperly loaded cargo. These crashes can cause havoc on the roadways and lead to significant injuries and property damage. Here, we want to discuss how improperly loaded cargo can cause truck crashes as well as liability in these situations.
How Does Improperly Loaded Cargo Affect a Large Truck?
When we examine the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LCCS), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we can see that cargo shifting is considered one of the most dangerous events that contribute to large commercial truck accidents. In fact, shifting cargo is more likely to cause a vehicle accident than brake problems, driver fatigue, and drivers performing illegal maneuvers.
Cargo shifting is such a serious incident that the FMCSA and various regulatory agencies in respective states have published guidelines and handbooks regarding handling and loading cargo. When cargo shifts, there are a variety of problems that can occur that could lead to severe accidents.
- Shifting cargo can cause the vehicle to become imbalanced, leading to issues for the driver when it comes to stopping, accelerating, or making turns.
- Cargo that comes out of place could fall off of the back of a commercial truck and onto the roadways, leading to significant accidents.
- Shifting or improperly loaded cargo could change the center of gravity for a vehicle, potentially leading to a truck rollover or trailer failure.
There are a variety of ways that cargo be improperly loaded on the back of a commercial truck. This can include:
- Overloading or underloading trailers
- Improperly distributing the weight on the trailer
- Cargo that is not properly blocked or braced
- Cargo with two few tie-downs or incorrect tie-downs
- Lack of edge protection where the cargo could cut tie-downs
- Improperly covered cargo
- Livestock loads that are not separated with false bulkheads
Securing Compensation From the Trucking Company
It is crucial for any individual harmed as a result of improperly loaded cargo to be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, doing so is not always easy. Truck drivers and trucking companies will likely have significant resources that they can hide behind when it comes to avoiding paying out large compensations. Insurance carriers and legal teams work diligently to try to shift them away from the driver or the trucking company.
Any individual injured as a result of improperly loaded cargo on a commercial truck needs to seek immediate legal assistance from a skilled personal injury lawyer. A truck accident lawyer will be able to use their resources to conduct an independent investigation in order to gather the evidence necessary to prove liability. An attorney will be able to look at the actions of the driver and the trucking company to determine what went wrong. The truth is that improperly loaded cargo accidents are not the fault of drivers and passengers on the roadway around the truck.