Truck accidents can cause widespread devastation, as large trucks can crash into smaller vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists without the proper protection to keep them safe from the intense impact. One common cause of truck accidents is improper loading. This is when the loader of a commercial truck fails to load the contents of a truck in a way that can prevent the load from unbalancing the truck, knocking it over, or falling out of place.
Commercial trucks can hold tens of thousands of pounds of cargo, so anything coming out of place can lead to the truck driver losing control of their vehicle and causing a truck accident. Victims of truck accidents can file truck accident claims with the driver, trucking company, or truck loaders to hold them accountable for their negligence that led to the truck accident.
How Can Improper Loading Cause a Truck Accident?
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is improper loading, which is when the cargo a commercial truck transports is not loaded safely. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about four percent of truck accidents are cargo-related, making improper loading one of the ten most common causes of truck accidents.
Improper loading can happen when the loader does not follow federal guidelines for loading a commercial truck correctly. This can involve improper weight distribution, exceeding legal weight limits, using the wrong equipment, and failing to tie down the load adequately.
Improper loading can lead to the cargo shifting, moving, or falling off during transport, which can cause a truck to become imbalanced. This can result in a truck driver losing control of their vehicle, leading to a potentially catastrophic truck accident that can cause severe truck accident injuries.
Truck Drivers and Loaders Must Follow Federal Guidelines
The dangers presented by an improperly loaded truck led to the FMCSA creating federal guidelines that cargo loaders must follow. These rules establish how cargo should be loaded and secured to prevent catastrophic truck accidents.
The FMCSA guidelines mention rules regarding the performance criteria for devices and systems used to secure cargo and the truck’s compartments. Tie-downs, which are used to secure cargo, must be attached and secured to prevent cargo from becoming loose. Drivers must also check their cargo after 50 miles of driving to ensure no cargo has become loose. After that, they must check again after every 150 miles traveled.
Common Loading Mistakes That Can Lead to a Truck Accident
Loaders of commercial trucks must avoid improper loading mistakes, as their errors can cause life-threatening truck accidents. An improperly loaded truck can lose balance around sharp turns, causing the driver to lose control of the truck and crash into other drivers.
The cargo in the back can also be sensitive and dangerous. Enough damage can result in the destruction of the cargo and possible explosions, chemical spills, etc.
The following are some common loading mistakes that can cause a truck accident:
- Estimating the wrong size and weight of the cargo
- Using tie-downs that cannot properly hold the cargo down
- Distributing the cargo unevenly
- Loading cargo that exceeds the legal limit
- Not having enough cargo in the back to keep the truck balanced
Truck accidents caused by improper loading can also occur when the driver fails to check the work of the loaders. They must ensure that the cargo is loaded properly and without errors that could cause them to lose control of the truck while driving.
Rollover Truck Accidents Caused by Improper Loading
One type of truck accident commonly resulting from improper loading is a rollover truck accident. This type of truck accident occurs when a truck becomes unbalanced, tips over, and rolls through other vehicles. The driver cannot stop the truck once it has tipped over, meaning the truck can roll over many other vehicles and cause widespread damage.
Improper loading can cause a rollover truck accident because improper weight distribution can cause a truck to tip over. Rollover truck accidents ordinarily occur when a load is too top-heavy. Cargo loaders must ensure the weight of the load is distributed evenly across the trailer to ensure an unbalanced load doesn’t cause a catastrophic rollover truck accident.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Truck Accident Caused by Improper Loading?
Following a truck accident, victims may want to file a truck accident claim to hold the liable party accountable for damages. In most cases, the truck driver can be liable for damages, as negligent driving behavior like speeding, running red lights, and drowsy driving cause truck accidents. However, improper loading may not be the driver’s fault.
The driver does need to check their load periodically to ensure there are no issues that could cause a truck accident. Failing to do so could leave them partially liable for the truck accident. The most likely liable party is the truck loaders, who must follow FMCSA guidelines when loading cargo onto a truck. Not following guidelines and improperly loading the truck can leave them liable for truck accident damages.
Do You Need to Hire a Truck Accident Lawyer?
Truck accident victims can suffer damages, such as medical bills, property damage, and loss of enjoyment of life. They can file a truck accident claim to pursue compensation for.
Hiring a truck accident lawyer is essential in the process, as they have the experience to handle all the necessary steps to pursue compensation for damages. They will know how to hold the at-fault party in your improper loading truck accident to ensure you receive fair compensatory damages.
The following are some ways a truck accident lawyer can help with your claim:
- Determine the value of your truck accident claim
- Assess who caused the truck accident claim
- Explain your rights
- File the necessary truck accident claim paperwork
- Gather evidence to prove your case
- Speak to eyewitnesses and expert witnesses
- Negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company
- Represent you in court
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Truck Accident Claim
The truck accident lawyers at The Russo Firm can help you recover economic and non-economic damages caused by a truck accident. We understand a truck accident’s impact and wish to help you hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence.
Our truck accident lawyers have decades of experience they can pull from to craft a legal counsel plan that can maximize your chance of recovering fair compensation for damages. Contact us for a free truck accident consultation today at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.