How Cargo Problems Can Cause Trucking Accidents
Most people would assume that all trucking accidents are caused by the mistakes of the truckers driving the commercial big rig. However, this is not always the case. The load crews who add and remove cargo from a tractor trailer need to be careful while at work, or else they could make a serious mistake that results in an accident once the truck is on the highway.
Four dangerous consequences of cargo issues are:
- Tip-over accidents: When cargo is stacked in a trailer, the load crew needs to pay attention to the weight of the freight. Making top-heavy pallets of products or other shipped materials will also result in a top-heavy trailer. When rounding corners, suddenly changing lanes, or struck by a strong wind, a top-heavy trailer is more likely to tip-over, putting any smaller vehicles in adjacent lanes in immediate danger.
- Jackknife accidents: An overloaded tractor trailer increases the risk of a jackknife accident when the truck needs to come to an abrupt stop. A truck “jackknifes” when its trailer swings forward during a stop and ends up in front of or next to the trailer itself due to it folding at the point where the tractor and trailer connect. The unpredictability of a jackknife accident makes them extremely dangerous.
- Worse brake effectiveness: Commercial trucks must also adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) weight regulations. Overloading a trailer will make the entire vehicle too heavy, which puts more strain on the braking system whenever the truck comes to a stop. In some cases, the added weight may make the brakes fail entirely, resulting in a devastating rear-end collision at intersections and stoplights.
- Spilled cargo: Loosely secured freight can fall off the back and sides of a commercial truck while it is in motion. Drivers behind the truck could be struck by stray product and debris unless they make equally dangerous defensive maneuvers.
Holding Load Crews Accountable for Mistakes
Filing a successful truck accident claim starts with knowing who is liable for your crash. Bringing a claim only against the truck driver or their parent company might limit how much compensation you can receive for your damages if it is determined that a load crew contributed to the negligence as well.
For example, truckers who make stops at retail stores are often instructed to not assist with the loading and unloading of their trailer. Employees at that store have that responsibility. If they incorrectly load the cargo and it contributes to a trucking accident later, then that retail store or load crew could be partially liable for the damages. Although, the trucker would likely still hold some accountability for not double-checking their freight before leaving the loading bay.
Rather than trying to figure out the correct liability in your trucking accident on your own, let The Fran Haasch Law Group in Clearwater do it. We accept trucking accident claims from people throughout the state who need help seeking compensation and justice. To speak with a member of our law firm today, just dial (727) 784-8191. Free case evaluations are available for inquiring callers.