Can Truck Cargo Cause Accidents?

Poorly secured or imbalanced cargo is one of the leading contributors to serious commercial truck accidents. When a cargo load on a tractor-trailer shifts while the driver is en route, the truck might roll over. If cargo spills from the truck onto the highway, devastating multi-vehicle crashes can result. Multi-vehicle collisions are especially dangerous because they can make it difficult for emergency responders to access victims, and many of these accidents result in serious injury or death.

If you or someone you love has been hurt in a cargo accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the resulting damages. You will need to prove liability and damages to obtain financial recovery for your injuries. Gathering evidence of liability requires a thorough and time-consuming investigation. The sooner you reach out to an experienced attorney, the better your chances will be of recovering the compensation you deserve.

Jackknife and Rollover Accidents Caused by Truck Cargo

A top-heavy semi-truck runs the risk of tipping over whenever the truck changes lanes, merges quickly, or turns. If the cargo weight shifts too much, it can knock the trailer off balance and can cause the entire truck to roll. Strong wind gusts during storms can also tip a tractor-trailer that has not been loaded correctly. The broadside of the trailer acts like a sail on a boat.

Another common type of accident caused by improperly or overloaded cargo is called a jackknife accident. A jackknife accident involves the trailer swinging forward as the truck comes to a stop. The entire truck folds like a folding jackknife. Back-heavy trailers are more likely to jackknife, especially when a truck driver has a hard braking event, such as slamming on the truck brakes to avoid a vehicle stopped in front of them.

Read-End Collisions Due to Overloaded Brakes

Commercial trucks have powerful brakes, but even these commercial brakes have their limitations. Situating too much cargo weight over one axle can cause the truck’s brakes to fail or dramatically lengthen the time it takes for the driver to bring the truck to a complete stop. Many truck accidents involving poorly loaded cargo can be traced back to the brake defects caused by an overloaded trailer.

Loose Cargo on the Road

When the cargo on the semi-truck has not been properly secured, there is a risk that it can become loose and fall out of the truck onto the road. Loose freight can fall off a flatbed trailer or bounce out of a closed trailer. Vehicles behind an overloaded tractor-trailer can be in serious danger when the cargo becomes loose.

Drivers who come upon loose cargo on the road may not be able to avoid colliding with it. If they try to avoid the cargo by swerving into another lane, they may collide with another vehicle and cause a multi-vehicle collision. Striking an object at fast highway speeds can be devastating, even if the object is relatively small.

Determining Liability in a Truck Cargo Accident

As you can see, there are many ways drivers and passengers can become injured in cargo-related truck accidents. If you have been injured by improperly loaded or unsecured cargo, numerous parties could be liable for the damages for your injuries. After investigating your case, your attorney can help you understand who can be held liable. Consider these liability options after a cargo-related truck accident:

  • Cargo crew: The cargo crew who initially loaded the truck may be partially or fully liable for accidents caused by the cargo. For example, if the cargo crew loaded the truck unevenly and the vehicle rolled over, the cargo crew may be liable for the injuries.
  • Truck part manufacturer: The manufacturer of the semi-truck parts may be liable for the accident if they improperly installed cargo trailers or the cargo trailers contained parts that were defective and could not bear the weight they should be expected to bear. When anchor points and tie-downs fail, the truck parts manufacturer may be liable for the injuries.
  • The truck driver and company: You may be able to hold the truck driver liable for negligent driving. If the trucking company engaged in negligent hiring or failed to train its employees, you may also be able to hold the company liable.
Reach Out to a North Carolina Truck Cargo Accident Attorney

If you or your loved one has been injured in a cargo-related truck accident, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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