Unsecured Tractor-Trailer Cargo
Shifts In Tractor-Trailer Weight Can Cause Semi Trucks To Overturn
Improperly secured freight in semi trucks or 18 wheelers can cause dangerous truck accidents. Given the thousands of pounds of cargo that tractor trailer trucks carry, if the trucking company or trucker does not properly load and/or anchor it, the cargo can shift or dislodge in the trailer. This can throw the entire truck off balance, especially when turning or stopping, often resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle. Among the most common accidents caused by poorly secured cargo is a truck rollover, which occurs when the unbalanced weight topples the truck onto its side or roof.
The Georgia truck accident attorneys at the McArthur Law Firm can assist victims immediately after a wreck. It is essential to notify trucking companies of an investigation in a timely manner to save and preserve all evidence of the crash. Such evidence may include documents identifying the type of cargo the big rig was carrying as well as accounts on how this freight was secured. Our investigators will also examine the truck itself for physical evidence indicating whether improperly loaded cargo caused the crash. Without a truck injury attorney involved, the trucking company may negligently or purposefully destroy important evidence necessary for your truck accident lawsuit.
Visit our past client testimonials and case results page to see our experience with trucking accidents. We serve clients throughout Georgia and nationwide. Our lawyers have the experience and resources to assist residents from Albany, Atlanta and Columbus to families in Savannah, Augusta and statewide involved in accidents with 18 wheelers.
What Do Truck Accident Statistics Show About Wrecks from Unsecured Cargo?
According to the American Automobile Association, unsecured cargo causes more than 25,000 motor vehicle accidents annually. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has regulations on allowable weights for cargo as well as proper procedures for securing that cargo. To help enforce these regulations, weigh stations are along highways in Georgia and the rest of the country. Law enforcement officials are able to enforce commercial trucking regulations during regular checks at these weigh stations.
A major reason why there are weight limits is because heavy loads can significantly impair the driver’s ability to brake. The heavier the load, the longer it can take for a semi truck to come to a complete stop. If a truck driver slams on the brakes suddenly, then the driver risks having the load shift. This can cause the truck to jackknife or tip over onto the road.
When the shipment is not inside a trailer, but rather secured on top of a flatbed, there is an increased risk of the cargo flying onto the road. Strong tethers usually secure cargo on flatbed trucks. If a trucker uses worn or faulty tethers, then the ropes could break and cause cargo to spill onto the highway. Debris on highways can either fly off of a truck bed and cause damage to a vehicle, or fall onto the road and create a traffic barrier that vehicles must swerve around to avoid a crash.
Does the Type of Cargo Matter in a Trucking Accident?
The type of cargo may also affect the risk and severity of a trucking accident. Some particular types of cargo, including hazardous material and flammable liquids, have more severe regulations and rules that truckers and trucking companies must follow. Types of cargo transported by trucks include:
- Hazardous Materials: The Department of Transportation estimates that seven percent of all trucks carry hazardous materials. Types of hazardous materials transported by large trucks include explosives, toxic gases and liquids, radioactive materials and corrosives. The trucking company is responsible for properly bracing these materials for shipment. Negligence during loading may cause dangerous shifts, and hazardous materials may pose additional risks to trucking accident victims.
- Large Equipment: 18 wheelers often transport large machinery and equipment. If this equipment comes unsecured, it can cause the truck to turn over and endanger other motorists.
- Vehicle Transport: Some trucks haul a dozen vehicles at once. These large trucks have limited maneuverability and can collide with other motorists if they make unexpected turns or stop suddenly. Additionally, a poorly secured vehicle may fall off these transports, potentially striking another car or causing a serious obstacle.
- Flammable Liquids and Gases: “Tanker trucks” transport flammable liquids and gases as well as poisonous and hazardous materials. Due to the danger involved, there are regulations concerning the transport of these substances. Negligence during loading may cause liquids to “slosh”, affecting the balance of the truck. Additionally, if a truck accident damages the tanker, victims may suffer serious burns due to a fire or corrosive chemicals.
Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorneys Serving Clients in Macon and Atlanta
When an accident occurs due to unsecured cargo, other motorists harmed in the truck wreck need legal representation immediately. There must be a full and thorough investigation into the cause of the crash to gather crucial evidence. This is essential to holding the truck driver, trucking company and anyone else fully responsible to injured victims. A seasoned truck injury attorney with experience litigating in court can help you stand up to the trucking company and its insurance carrier.