Accidents involving poorly loaded trucks can have devastating consequences. A fully loaded commercial truck is absolutely massive in size and can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. So, a collision between a big rig truck and a regular-sized passenger vehicle can be fatal – particularly for the people in the passenger vehicle.
The Dangers Posed by Poorly Loaded Trucks
An improperly loaded truck poses a serious threat – to the person who is operating it as well as other motorists on the roadway.
The Dangers of Improperly Stacked Cargo
For example, if the cargo is not properly stacked, it can shift from one end to the other while the truck is in motion. When it happens, the driver might lose control of the truck, especially if they happen to be driving at high speed, which can result in a rollover accident. If the vehicles behind the truck fail to react quickly, they might crash into the truck as well.
Similarly, unevenly loaded cargo can also cause the trailer to lose control and swing away from the cab, resulting in a jackknife accident. If other motorists fail to brake or swerve away in time, they might crash into the truck. In some cases, the trailer – while swinging at an outward angle from the cab – could crash into other vehicles with catastrophic consequences.
Also, an unevenly stacked load can severely restrict the driver’s ability to control the truck, especially while making turns or while making sudden, evasive maneuvers to avoid an accident.
The Dangers of Not Securing the Cargo
An improperly secured cargo also poses a major safety hazard, especially to other motorists on the roadway.
For instance, if the cargo is not braced and tied down properly, it might come loose while the truck is in motion. When it happens, the driver might try to maneuver the truck to avoid the cargo from spilling out. While doing so, they might lose control of the truck and crash into other vehicles.
In some cases, the cargo might spill out of the truck and onto the road. The falling cargo might partially or fully block the view of the vehicles behind the truck, which might cause them to crash into the truck or into each other, resulting in a massive pileup.
In some other cases, the improperly secured cargo might come loose and fall onto other vehicles. It can cause the vehicles to lose control and collide into each other, resulting in a multi-vehicle pileup.
Mistakes to Avoid While Loading and Securing Cargo
- Loading the cargo without knowing the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating
- Stacking the cargo too close to the edge of the flatbed
- Stacking the cargo at the back end of the trailer, causing it to push against the door
- Loading the cargo in an uneven manner
- Stacking the cargo too high
- Using old or worn-out ropes to secure the cargo
- Lack of proper restraints
- Not securing the tarps
- Using a small cargo net that does not cover the entire load
- Tying down the cargo only at one end
Determining Liability in Accidents Involving Poorly Loaded Trucks
Depending on the factors or circumstances that led to the accident, the truck company, the cargo company, the truck driver, or all of them can be held liable for the damages resulting from the accident.
Generally speaking, the trucking and/or cargo company can be held liable under the following circumstances:
- If they forced the driver to drive an overloaded truck
- If they forced the driver to operate the truck for more than 11 hours without taking any break
- If they failed to inspect, repair, and maintain the truck properly
- If they failed to follow OSHA’s safety standards for loading and securing the cargo
The driver can be held liable for the accident under the following circumstances:
- If the driver was drunk or under the influence of prescription pills or drugs at the time of the accident
- If the driver was texting, talking on the phone, chatting with the passenger, eating, or otherwise distracted at the time of the accident
- If the driver was speeding at the time of the accident
If the accident was caused as a result of defective parts, the manufacturer or distributor of the faulty products can be held liable as well.
Truck Accident Lawyers in Alabama
For more than 20 years, the personal injury attorneys at Mann & Potter, PC have successfully represented countless truck accident victims in Alabama. Our attorneys are highly skilled, experienced, and are rated highly by our clients as well as our peers.
If you or any of your loved ones are injured in a poorly loaded truck accident, we can assess the damages caused by the accident, file a claim or lawsuit to seek damages from the parties whose negligence or deliberate actions caused the accident, and ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and other losses.
You can contact our firm at 205-879-9661 for a free consultation with one of our lawyers.