When a truck’s trailer isn’t loaded right, the load can shift and cause the whole truck to turn over or jackknife. This may lead to serious injury and death to not only other vehicles but also the trucker.
Who is responsible for the improper loading of the truck?
An important question then, is who is responsible for the improper loading of the truck?
Truck Drivers and Shippers may Both be Responsible for Properly Loading Cargo
If the trucker helped load the truck, then the truck driver and whoever had the responsibility to load the truck may be responsible. However, sometimes the truck driver doesn’t load the truck. Sometimes the shipper loads the truck. Sometimes the company that hired the driver loads the truck. These are all important questions in determining who is responsible for the load shifting tragedy.
Studies prove Cargo Shifts are a Leading Cause of Truck Crashes
In some cases it’s not only the victims in the other car or cars that have a claim against a shipper, but the trucker may also have a claim. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), cargo shifts are one of the most dangerous causes of truck accidents.
Cargo Shifts Happen Because of the Operational Characteristics of Big Trucks
Cargo shifts happen in part because commercial trucks have very high center of gravity. This high center of gravity makes the truck more likely to roll over or jackknife. Also, the cargo is the heaviest part of the truck. But, the ability of the truck to stop, maneuver, and speed up is in the tires. When a truck attempts to move, the force of the move must be transferred through the truck, from the ground to the load. When a load is not carefully balanced or secured, a rollover or jackknife accident may result. Incorrectly secured or balanced loads are a common reason for cargo shifts. In a larger truck, cargo must be securely tied down or secured to prevent shifting.
Proper Pre-Trip Inspections Prevent Cargo Shift Crashes
Truck drivers are primarily responsible for a cargo load. They have to inspect the cargo. Additionally, a truck driver may start to feel the truck moving around on the road in a way that should be a warning of an unbalanced or incorrectly secured load. In that type of case the truck driver will often make statements after the crash that the truck felt strange or that the truck driver thought maybe there was a mechanical failure.
The DiCello Law Firm has a strong record of success in truck crash cases. Our attorneys continue to represent victims and families of victims injured by truck crashes in Ohio and throughout the United States.