If you're involved in a truck accident, you need to determine the cause of the collision. Determining how the accident happened and who was at fault is vitally important so you can pursue a claim for compensation against the truck driver and trucking company if the driver was to blame.
There are lots of different mistakes truck drivers could make that cause crashes, from speeding to failing to follow the rules of the road. One common crash cause centers around problems with the way that truck cargo is loaded. If cargo is not loaded in accordance with rules and best practices established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), this could create a situation where a serious or deadly accident happens. The victim of such a crash should be able to obtain compensation by proving that cargo loading issues led to harm.
Determining if Cargo Problems Caused a Truck Accident
There are three primary problems that could occur in connection with the way that cargo is loaded which could cause a truck accident to happen:
- The truck could be overloaded. This would mean the truck exceeded federal weight limits, which are 80,000 pounds for most types of commercial trucks. An overloaded truck is much more likely to experience a rollover truck accident. Overloaded trucks also have longer stopping distances and a tire blowout could occur due to the excess weight and could cause the truck driver to lose vehicle control.
- The cargo could be secured improperly so it shifts around. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict rules for how cargo must be secured. Tie-downs or straps must be used to prevent cargo from moving, unless it is packed in tightly enough that it will not move even without being tied down. Shifting cargo can also cause rollover accidents. The fact that many cargo problems cause rollovers helps to explain why the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine indicated cargo load issues were one of the leading causes of truck rollovers.
- Cargo could be unsecured and could fly off or fall off the truck. This could result in a situation where cargo hits surrounding cars or people or where cargo lands in the road and causes injury by creating the conditions for an accident; directly striking the driver; or obscuring vision and causing a crash.
Because all of these types of cargo-related crashes occur far too regularly, Trucking Info indicates that problems with cargo loading are a real issue when it comes to truck safety. Any victim of an accident who suspects that a cargo problem was the crash cause should be sure to consult with an experienced attorney for assistance in pursuing a case for compensation and proving the truck driver was to blame due to his failure to load the truck in a safe and responsible way.