The world of freight transportation is both dynamic and perilous. Ensuring the safe delivery of goods from one point to another requires attentiveness and adherence to stringent safety regulations, one of which is cargo loading. Proper cargo loading is critical to the safe operation of large commercial trucks.
At Setareh Law, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality legal representation in cargo loading-related personal injury cases. Read on to learn more about truck accident claims related to improper cargo loading and how we can help you hold the responsible parties liable for such negligent practices.
Implications of Overloaded, Improperly Loaded, and Unsecured Cargo in a Truck Accident Claim
An overloaded truck is akin to a disaster waiting to happen. The excess weight compromises the vehicle’s balance, braking efficiency, and maneuverability, which can lead to devastating accidents. Improperly loaded cargo is no less dangerous. If cargo isn’t evenly distributed within the trailer, the truck’s center of gravity can shift, causing the driver to lose control, especially during turns or abrupt braking.
Similarly, unsecured cargo can shift or fall off during transit, causing not only imbalance but also potential roadway obstructions. This can lead to multi-vehicle accidents and jeopardize the lives of other road users. High winds and adverse weather conditions exacerbate these risks, causing the vehicle to sway, tip over, or even lose its cargo on the roadway.
What Are the Rules for Loading and Securing Cargo?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) has established comprehensive guidelines that stipulate the securement of various components such as doors, tarps, spare tires, and other cargo-securing equipment. These rules mandate drivers to conduct periodic inspections during transit, in addition to the obligatory pre-trip inspection of all cargo, to ensure proper securement and distribution.
California stipulates drivers must check their cargo post-departure, within the first 50 miles of the journey, with re-inspection necessary after driving for three hours or 150 miles and after every break taken during the trip.
Proving Responsibility For Ensuring Proper Securement of Cargo
While the truck driver is usually responsible for ensuring cargo securement, the responsibility doesn’t end there. Freight companies, loaders, inspectors, and even manufacturers of cargo securement equipment could all potentially share the blame for an improperly loaded or secured cargo truck accident. In other words, the responsibility isn’t exclusively on the driver, but on all parties involved in the transportation process.
Establishing that a truck accident was due to improperly secured cargo is not always straightforward. Various types of evidence will be needed to prove the claim and some of it may require specialized access. Some of the common types of evidence that can be used to hold certain parties liable include:
Physical Evidence From the Truck and Cargo
This could include damaged or broken straps used to secure the cargo or visible signs of improper loading such as an uneven distribution of goods within the trailer. This physical evidence can play a crucial role in building a strong case, as it can clearly demonstrate negligence or disregard for proper loading and securing procedures from the manufacturing company or from the truck driver negligently securing their load.
Inspection Reports of the Cargo and Truck Before Loading
These reports should detail the condition of the cargo, the truck, and the securing equipment before the journey began. Any discrepancies or violations recorded in these reports can help prove that regulations were not adhered to, thus supporting the case for improper loading or securing.
Investigation of the Driver’s Logs and Training Records
The logs may reveal whether the driver complied with mandatory inspection procedures, while training records can indicate if the driver was adequately trained in cargo securement and load balancing. Any lack of training or non-compliance with inspection protocols can serve as substantial evidence of negligence from the driver or from the trucking company itself.
Electronic Data Recorder (EDR) Information
The electronic data recorder, or the “black box” as it’s often referred to, can provide a wealth of data. The EDR can reveal crucial details such as the truck’s speed at the time of the accident, braking patterns, and even if the driver was fatigued. Moreover, it can provide data on any sudden shifts in cargo weight, which can be a direct consequence of improper loading or securing.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident Due to Unsecured Cargo in California, Reach Out to Setareh Law
If you or your loved ones suffer an injury from a truck accident due to improperly secured cargo, seeking legal compensation is a crucial step toward getting the compensation you deserve. At Setareh Law, we specialize in truck accident claims and are committed to helping victims hold responsible parties accountable.
We will work to identify the responsible parties and investigate the exact cause of the accident and your injury. If necessary, we can hire experts to review the incident and provide additional evidence proving negligence and liability. Contact us online or call us at (310) 659-1826 to discuss your case and find out more about how we may be able to help. Our team also speaks Spanish.