Semi-Truck Accident Caused by Improperly Loaded Cargo

Commercial trucks must be loaded appropriately before hitting the roadway. Anytime cargo is improperly loaded in the back of a commercial truck, this significantly increases the chances of an accident occurring. Here, we want to discuss how improperly loaded cargo can cause an accident as well as liability for these types of incidents.

How Will Improperly Loaded Cargo Affect a Commercial Truck?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LCCS), and we can see that improperly loaded cargo is one of the most dangerous events that contribute to large truck accidents. Shifting cargo is more of a problem for larger commercial trucks than driver fatigue, drivers performing illegal maneuvers, or brake problems.

When cargo is not properly loaded, it can shift around from its intended location inside the truck or on the truck bed. This is such a serious incident that the federal government and state regulatory agencies have published specific guidelines regarding the handling and loading of commercial truck cargo.

If commercial truck cargo shifts around, it could create a wide variety of problems that cause catastrophic accidents on roadways and highways. Some of the main problems that can occur include:

  • Cargo that comes out of place on a truck could fall off of the truck (more of a problem with open truck beds) and onto the roadway, which could lead to severe accidents with other vehicles.
  • Improperly loaded or shifting cargo could substantially change the center of gravity for the larger truck, which could cause the driver to lose control and lead to a truck rollover or trailer failure.
  • Shifting cargo could lead to the vehicle becoming imbalanced, which can cause problems when the driver is attempting to accelerate, stop, or make a turn.

How Does Cargo Become Improperly Loaded?

There are many ways that a truck could become improperly loaded, and this can happen as a result of the truck driver’s negligence, trucking company negligence, or the negligence of a third-party loader. Some of the ways that improper loading can occur include:

  • Under loading or overloading the trailer
  • Failing to properly distribute the weight on the trailer
  • Cargo that is not properly braced or blocked
  • Cargo that is not properly tied down or incorrectly tied down
  • Lack of protection around sharper edges of cargo that could cut into tie-downs
  • Improperly covered cargo
  • Livestock not properly separated with false bulkheads

Can You Secure Compensation for a Crash Caused by Cargo Problems?

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a trucking accident caused by improperly loaded cargo, it may be possible to recover compensation for your losses. However, securing compensation is a challenging task, particularly when going up against aggressive trucking companies or third parties. Insurance carriers and companies will work diligently to try and shift blame away from the truck driver or trucking company to prevent major compensation payouts.

A skilled Newport Beach truck accident lawyer can get involved and conduct a complete investigation into the incident. They will gather any evidence needed to prove liability, including the truck company records, the records of any third-party cargo loader, as well as the truck’s electronic control module (ECM).