Truck Accidents Caused by Improperly Loaded Cargo

The truck accident lawyers from Mingo & Yankala, S.C. are dedicated to helping hold negligent trucking companies accountable for risky behavior. If you were injured because of improperly loaded cargo, we can help investigate your claim and identify the parties responsible for your injuries.

Truck Accidents caused by Improperly Loaded Cargo

Risks of Improperly Loaded or Unsecured Cargo 

Cargo must be safely loaded and secured on trucks. If this does not happen, serious truck accidents can occur. Some risks include:

  • Cargo shifts during transit, making the vehicle “jackknife” into oncoming traffic
  • Cargo falls off the truck and hits a vehicle
  • Cargo falls off the truck and a driver tries to avoid hitting it and crashes into another vehicle instead 
  • Dangerous cargo like flammable liquids can fall onto the roadway and cause a fire or explosion 
  • Improperly loaded cargo can create a weight imbalance and cause the truck to roll over
  • Cargo shifts can cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle 
  • The cargo can create additional blind spots, increasing the possibility of a blind spot accident

Rules Regarding Loading Truck Cargo 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations for loading, securing, and inspecting cargo. The entity’s Driver’s Handbook on Cargo Securement specifically instructs truck drivers to:

  • Properly distribute and secure cargo
  • Secure the truck’s equipment, tailgates, doors, and spare tires
  • Load cargo in a way that does not obstruct the driver’s view
  • Use appropriate securing devices, such as chains, binders, or straps

There are additional rules concerning the securing and loading of certain types of cargo, including:

  • Heavy equipment 
  • Vehicles
  • Flattened or crushed vehicles 
  • Metal coils
  • Concrete pipes
  • Intermodal containers
  • Lumber
  • Building materials
  • Paper rolls weighing over 5,000 pounds

Additional requirements for truck drivers include:

  • Drivers must inspect their vehicles and verify cargo is secure
  • Drivers must inspect and ensure their securing devices are in good condition 
  • Drivers must replace broken or damaged securing devices
  • Drivers must notify the carrier of any problems regarding cargo load securement before beginning a trip
  • Drivers must make necessary adjustments if banding is loose or asymmetrical

Cargo Inspection Requirements 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also has rules regarding when truck drivers must conduct inspections of their cargo to ensure they can safely transport the materials from one location to another. Cargo must be inspected a minimum of the following times:

  • Before commencing a trip
  • At least once within the first 50 miles of a trip
  • When the driver’s duty status changes
  • Every 150 miles or each three-hour interval of driving, whichever comes first

Drivers must make any necessary adjustments to cargo or securing devices.

What to Do After a Truck Accident Involving Improperly Loaded Cargo

If you are involved in a truck accident you suspect was caused by improperly loaded cargo, there are steps you can take to protect your claim, including:

  • Report the accident to authorities so an investigation can begin
  • Request the truck driver’s information, including information about their truck and employer
  • Take photos or video of the accident scene, including any cargo that fell off or may have contributed to the accident
  • Do not agree to give a recorded statement or sign anything until you have received legal advice from a qualified truck accident lawyer

Finally, reach out to a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer for help.