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Who Is Responsible for a Truck Accident Caused by an Improper Load?

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Truck accidents can have devastating consequences and often lead to serious injuries, property damage, and fatalities. Although many are caused by driver error, another cause is an improper load – that problem happens when cargo is not distributed or secured properly. Establishing who is responsible for a truck accident caused by an improper load takes time since multiple parties can share liability.

Parties that could be responsible for a truck accident caused by an improper load include:

  • Cargo loaders: Cargo loaders might work for a trucking company or third-party vendors. They must follow safety protocols; when they do not, their actions can lead to accidents.
  • Trucking companies: Truck drivers can be owner-operators or be employed by trucking companies. If the latter is true, the company might be liable for damages caused by the truck driver’s actions. Trucking companies must vet their drivers, ensuring they are properly trained, have the right licensing, and have clean driving histories.
  • Cargo equipment companies: Truck cargo accidents can happen because of defective loading devices and equipment. Companies that manufacture load binders, chains, and straps are responsible for producing equipment that meets safety standards. Defective cargo equipment can also contribute to crashes.

How Does Shifting Cargo Cause Crashes?

Improper loads happen more often than one might think. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, the relative risk for these cargo shifts is just over 56 percent. That is more than any other cause associated with large truck crashes. When cargo is not loaded properly, it can shift from one side of the truck to the other. The unexpected, sudden weight redistribution can cause sideswipe accidents, rollovers, and jackknife accidents. The truck driver can lose control and swerve into other lanes, leading to deadly consequences.

Overloaded cargo can also cause tire problems. Commercial trucks have weight restrictions for essential reasons, so exceeding the capacity puts too much pressure on the tires. That can cause them to burst. The brakes can also be impacted and not perform well when needed. Because of their large size and weight, these trucks need more time to come to complete stops. Anything that compromises that ability can make a dangerous situation even worse.

What Contributes to Improper Load Accidents?

Although cargo should be inspected after loading, many loads are not checked thoroughly. The likelihood of this happening can increase when truck drivers and trucking companies are pressured to deliver on time; this is common during the holidays. These mistakes lead to improper loads:

  • Failing to use header boards to prevent spills or protection around sharper edges.
  • Incorrectly bracing, blocking, or covering the cargo.
  • Leaving a high center of gravity in the cargo.
  • Not checking the cargo for security after it has been loaded.
  • Underloading or overloading the trailer.
  • Uneven cargo distribution.
  • Using defective, wrong-sized, or old tie-downs.

Can I Receive Compensation for My Damages After an Improper Load Truck Accident?

This is possible, but every truck accident case is different. You need to prove that one or more parties were at fault for what happened and that their actions directly caused your damages. The latter can include medical expenses, lost wages from being unable to work temporarily or permanently, and emotional distress like pain and suffering.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can guide you through the process, and if successful, the settlement amount will depend on which party or parties were liable for the accident. A court can divide the payment responsibility between several parties. Evidence plays a crucial role in these cases, so you will need proof that attests to the nature and extent of your injuries and property damage and their impact on your life.

Defendants typically offer low settlements, and your attorney can negotiate with the other side’s legal team and insurance company. If your case proceeds to court, they may compare outcomes from similar past cases when determining an amount.

Our Dayton Truck Accident Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Are Experienced in Truck Accident Cases Involving Improper Loads

Few things are as frightening or deadly as truck accidents. If you or someone you love was injured in a truck crash, contact our skilled Dayton truck accident lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC. Call 937-222-7477 or submit our online form for a free consultation. Located in Dayton, Ohio, we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.