Trucks are massive and huge by their design. In fact, a commercial tractor-trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds in the United States. That is a powerful destructive force on its own, but add dozens of thousands of pounds of cargo on top of that, and it becomes a weapon of mass destruction.
You see, when trucks are properly loaded and the weight of the cargo they haul does not exceed federal and state limits in California, the only thing that can lead to a truck accident is the truck driver (or any other party) not obeying the traffic laws.
With improperly loaded trucks, on the other hand, many things could go wrong. “If a truck’s cargo has been loaded inadequately, there is a high risk of a truck accident regardless of how sober, careful and attentive the truck driver is,” Los Angeles truck accident attorney at the Compass Law Group, LLP, explains.
Types of improperly loaded cargo in truck accidents
In fact, experts say that improperly loaded trucks can fall into at least three different categories, which can be equally dangerous and deadly especially when operated by a drunk, intoxicated, unqualified, fatigued, inattentive, or distracted truck driver.
Unsecured. Under federal and state trucking regulations in Los Angeles and all across California, truck cargo must be firmly secured, fastened and immobilized using tie downs and other tools that should prevent the cargo from shifting, rolling or getting loose during the trip. Unsecured cargo can not only get loose and fly off the truck, landing on the vehicle(s) driving behind the truck, but also move within a trailer, causing a rollover. Rollovers, meanwhile, lead to some of the most disastrous and devastating multi-vehicle accidents on the roads.
Unbalanced. Even if the truck’s cargo was firmly secured and fastened, it could still cause rollovers and other truck crashes if the weight within the truck trailer was not distributed equally and adequately.
Overloaded. Trucks come with a certain weight capacity that must not be exceeded, and there are also federal and state regulations regarding the maximum allowance of truck cargo weight. Excessive loads of cargo diminish the truck’s braking ability and lead to destruction of the tires during the trip. These two factors can cause truck accidents.
Who is responsible for improperly loaded trucks?
As you can see, there is more than just one type of an improperly loaded truck, and it is important to determine which type contributed to your truck accident to win your case and obtain compensation. With the help of a Los Angeles truck accident attorney, you can establish liability in order to recover damages.
The truck driver is not the only party that can be held liable in a truck accident, as his/her trucking company is more likely to be fully responsible for the maintenance of the truck and loading of the cargo. There are many factors that come into play, which need to be investigated by an experienced truck accident lawyer.
Generally, victims of truck accidents can hold both the at-fault truck driver and his/her trucking company responsible for the accident. With improperly loaded trucks, it also cannot be ruled out that the manufacturer of the fastening tools could be held liable in case you can prove that the equipment was defective. The more parties you can name as defendants in your claim, the more damages you can recover.