Trucking companies and drivers are expected to comply with many different rules and regulations on both the federal level and state levels. Some of the most important of these rules relate to the safe loading of cargo. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a lengthy and comprehensive manual on cargo securement. The agency also sets maximum weight limits for trucks. These rules exist because if a rig is not loaded correctly or if it's overloaded, the risk of a trucking accident rises significantly.
Ascertaining the cause of a truck accident is important in figuring out which entities may be liable for any resulting injuries. If problems with cargo loading played a role, victims can pursue a claim for compensation from the truck driver and often from the trucking company as well. A victim could prove they are eligible for compensation by showing that the injuries were directly caused by a collision that resulted from negligent cargo loading or a violation of safety rules.
What is the Risk of Truck Accidents Due to Cargo Problems?
Victims of truck accidents need to know their rights when it comes to truck crashes caused by cargo problems because this type of crash is extremely common. The Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine conducted a comprehensive study of large truck crash causes and found a total of 26 rollover collisions out of the 239 rollover crashes they studied were due to cargo problems.
These problems included overloaded trucks, improperly secured cargo, and cargo that was heavier than the truck should be carrying. In many situations, an issue also arose involving a truck driver misjudging how safely he could travel, given the weight of the cargo. In 18 of the rollover accidents, for example, a misjudgment on the part of the trucker about how fast he could travel was a part of the cause of the collision.
The researchers warned that, "The effect of loads is evident in the fact that they have twice the effect on rollovers as they do on other truck crashes." The risk was greatest in situations when the truck was making a lane change, when the truck was going around a curve, when the truck was on a ramp, and when the truck had a wheel drop off the pavement.
It can sometimes be difficult to determine if a cargo problem was the cause of a truck crash. This is where hiring a skilled legal team really matters. Accident reconstruction specialists can help to determine what occurred and can help victims to show that load problems were the direct cause of the collision occurring. Records from the trucking company about the cargo load, and reports from law enforcement at the crash could also help to prove that a collision occurred because a truck driver loaded cargo in an unsafe way.