Commercial trucks are an important means of transporting materials and goods. Drivers are trained to handle big rigs and the large loads they carry. But when the cargo is improperly loaded, it can cause a truck accident and in many cases lead to serious injuries or death.
Examples of Improperly Loaded Cargo
One example of improperly loaded cargo is cargo that is not properly secured. A sudden stop could cause it to shift or spill during transport. This can lead to an accident and is especially dangerous when carrying heavy loads or hazardous materials. Even if unsecured cargo doesn’t cause the accident, it can present serious dangers if it spills during the collision. This can cause further accidents or worsen severity of the initial accident.
Another example is when the cargo is overloaded. Tires have a maximum weight when transporting cargo. If the load is too heavy, it can be difficult to steer and control the truck. Overloaded trucks are especially dangerous when going too fast down a hill. It takes much longer to stop, which can be a serious issue if a driver has to brake suddenly.
Even transporting cargo at the maximum weight can be dangerous in certain conditions, like during inclement weather. A driver can easily lose control on a slippery or wet road.
Cargo that isn’t balanced properly can also cause an accident. The load may not only shift or fall, but it can make steering a big rig difficult. Again, in poor weather conditions this can be especially hazardous and increases the risk of a rollover.
Certain types of loads, such as those that are especially wide or long, should be equipped with warning signs, flags, flashing lights or some other means of alerting other motorists. But they also require special precautions when driving to prevent an accident from occurring.
Liability for Improperly Loaded Cargo
Some drivers are responsible for their own loading. For others, that job belongs to someone else. But it doesn’t necessarily negate the driver’s responsibility for ensuring the load is safe. The driver is expected to check the cargo to make sure it’s properly loaded before driving. If it’s not loaded properly and it causes an accident, the truck driver could be liable.
Trucking companies are generally accountable for the negligent actions of their employees. Therefore, the driver’s employer could also be liable for any accident-related injuries suffered because of the improper load.
If another entity had the responsibility of loading the truck, then that party could also be liable. Shippers and property brokers are examples. It’s not uncommon for there to be several parties named in an injury claim if an unsafe load caused the tractor-trailer accident.
Seeking Help from an Attorney When Injured in a Truck Crash
It’s not always immediately evident that an improperly loaded truck caused a truck accident. This is why it’s a good idea to seek legal counsel. Upon further investigation, an attorney may discover there were issues with the cargo that either caused the accident or contributed to the severity of injuries sustained in the crash.
It’s also beneficial to seek help from an attorney because not only do state traffic laws impact this type of case, there are federal regulations that may apply as well. And truck accidents tend to be more complicated cases, especially when the injuries suffered in a crash are severe or fatal.
If you were in an accident in the Trenton, New Jersey area, call an attorney at Cordisco & Saile LLC to get help pursuing an injury claim. Call us at 215-642-2335 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.