Truck drivers must have a great deal of training and skill to operate commercial motor vehicles safely. However, even a skilled driver can lose control of a truck that has been improperly loaded with cargo. For example, a truck may be overloaded for the truck’s maximum weight or contain improperly secured cargo that shifts during travel. As a result, a truck driver can lose control or unsecured cargo may fall out, causing a serious accident with other motorists on the road.
If you have been injured in a crash caused by an improperly loaded truck or trailer, contact the experienced truck accident lawyers at Brooks Law now. Our team will review your case for free and explain your legal options. In addition, you do not owe us any payment unless and until we secure financial compensation for you and your family. Contact us today to get started.
How Brooks Law Can Help
If you have been hurt, call 911 and report the crash to local law enforcement. An officer will prepare a police accident report detailing information about the crash, listing whether anyone was ticketed or arrested for the accident, and possibly providing the officer’s determination of fault for the accident. This report can be useful in your personal injury claim.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident involving an improperly loaded truck or trailer, the attorneys of Brooks Law can help by:
- Conducting a thorough independent investigation of your accident, including obtaining all available surveillance videos and reviewing driver’s logs and load manifest records, to determine what caused your crash
- Collaborating with trucking industry experts who can provide an opinion as to how the truck driver and/or trucking/freight companies negligently loaded the truck and how the unsafe load led to your accident
- Filing injury claims on your behalf and aggressively negotiating with the trucking companies and their insurers to reach a settlement that provides you with full compensation
- Preparing and developing your case for court, if it becomes necessary, and arguing on your behalf at trial
Why Improper Loading Leads to Accidents
An improperly loaded commercial truck can lead to a catastrophic accident on the road for many reasons:
- Unbalanced loading: When a truck has an unbalanced load, the uneven distribution of weight affects the handling of the vehicle. It is more difficult to properly brake, increasing the risk of a jackknife accident and a rollover accident. Uneven weight also puts uneven stress and wear and tear on various components of the truck, such as the frame, suspension, brakes, or tires. This can cause certain components to fail while the truck is moving.
- Overweight loading: Every truck has a maximum amount of cargo that it can haul, known as the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Truck drivers often stop at weigh stations along the highway to check their vehicles and make sure that they aren’t exceeding their truck’s GVWR. If a truck is overloaded, it can impact the handling and performance of the vehicle, especially on inclines and declines.
- Unsecured loading: An unsecured load occurs when cargo is not properly tied down and is allowed to shift during travel. Shifting cargo alters the truck’s or trailer’s center of gravity, making it difficult for a driver to control the truck when its handling characteristics rapidly change. An unsecured load can also fall off a truck, impacting other vehicles on the road or creating obstacles that drivers must swerve to avoid.
Signs That a Truck Has Improperly Loaded Cargo
A truck driver should recognize when a vehicle has been improperly loaded with cargo by checking whether:
- Cargo weight is unevenly distributed in the bed or trailer.
- Heavier cargo is loaded on top of lighter cargo, creating a higher center of gravity.
- The truck and its cargo exceed the gross vehicle weight rating.
- Cargo is improperly braced, blocked, or secured with tie-downs, or the securing mechanisms are insufficient to handle the weight of the cargo they are holding.
- Tiedowns lack edge protection, allowing the sides of boxes or containers to potentially cut through tie-downs.
- Cargo is not properly covered.
- Trailer or bed doors are not properly secured.
On the move, truck drivers and other motorists on the road may notice that a truck has been improperly loaded with cargo if it:
- Has trouble climbing up inclines
- Travels too fast and has trouble braking on declines
- Turns in one direction easier than the other
- Has a front end or rear end of a trailer sitting lower than the other end
- Has a trailer that noticeably tips side to side, or the back of the trailer swings left and right out of the lane of traffic
Responsibility for Securing Transfer Truck Cargo
Truck cargo is often handled by multiple parties by the time it is finally loaded onto the truck or into the trailer. A truck or trailer may, in fact, be loaded by several different freight companies before setting off. These companies may bear part of the liability in the event a truck accident is caused by an improper cargo load.
Responsibility for the cargo load also falls onto the truck driver, who is required to inspect the truck and cargo and ensure the vehicle is safe to drive. A driver must inspect the cargo load before setting off, at the beginning of every duty shift, after the first 50 miles of a trip, and thereafter at three-hour or 150-mile intervals. However, a driver may lack sufficient training and experience to identify improper cargo loads, may neglect to conduct an inspection, or may notice an unsafe load but decline to request the freight company reload the truck for fear of falling behind schedule.
Contact a Massachusetts Improperly Loaded Truck Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a crash, contact a Massachusetts truck accident attorney at Brooks Law to learn more about how our firm can help you pursue the compensation you need to recover. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal rights, and let us help you demand the justice you deserve.