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How Can Unsecure Cargo Lead to a Truck Accident?

Posted on in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Campbell County rollover truck accident lawyer

Truck drivers tend to carry a lot of goods on their vehicles when making deliveries. In Tennessee, trucks cannot weigh over 80,000 pounds, and drivers must make sure all cargo is secured before beginning their routes. While most trucking accidents occur due to distracted driving or other forms of driver negligence, crashes can still happen if cargo has not been properly tied down when traveling on roadways. If cargo shifts too much, the truck can become unbalanced, which may lead to a rollover accident. Truck drivers or trucking companies who do not properly secure cargo and cause an accident may be responsible for compensating any victims involved in the crash who suffer personal injuries.

The Reality of Trucking Accident Injuries

Accidents involving a truck account for 1 in 10 collisions on U.S. highways. In 2017, approximately 5,000 people were killed and many more were injured due to truck accidents, according to a report by Consumer Notice.

Since cars are so much smaller than trucks, they are more vulnerable when driving near a truck. The larger vehicle cannot speed up or slow down as fast as a car. Thus, common collisions include cars being rear-ended by a truck after braking suddenly, or cars may slide under a truck when a truck driver slams on the brakes. These types of incidents may cause any of the following serious injuries: 

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Broken bones

  • Neck or back injuries

  • Decapitation

  • Wrongful death

Safety Precautions for Truck Cargo

Before hitting the road, truck drivers are required to check their cargo and make sure everything is balanced and immobile. Truck cargo should be situated in the center of the truck's cargo area as opposed to the very front or very back of the vehicle. This will help the driver keep control of the vehicle throughout the journey.

When loading or inspecting a truck, the proper measures should be taken to avoid cargo shifting, including:

  • The truck should not be top-heavy. If larger items are stacked above smaller items in the truck, this can raise the vehicle's center of gravity, making it more likely to roll over during a turn.

  • Cargo should be blocked or braced from the front and the back. When the truck is loaded, heavier items should be placed around the outside of the cargo to keep the items steady.

  • On flatbed trailers or cargo carriers without sides, cargo should be tied down to keep items from moving.

  • The truck driver should inspect the cargo before and during the trip (at rest stops or gas stations) to make sure nothing has shifted.

If a truck topples over--while making a turn or because the driver lost control of the rig--this can cause collisions that lead to serious injuries. In addition, vehicles around the truck could get crushed, along with the people in them.

Is a Truck Driver Responsible for Compensation?

If it is proven that the truck driver is at fault for an accident, he or she will be required to pay compensation based on the percentage of fault. A trucking company may also be found liable if it did ensure that the proper safety measures were followed, or a company responsible for loading a truck may be responsible for injuries caused by cargo that was not correctly secured. Tennessee follows the 50 percent rule, which states that whoever has the higher percentage of fault in an accident will pay compensation to the other driver. If the percentage is 50/50, no one will receive compensation.

At-fault truck drivers or other liable parties may be required to pay financial compensation for vehicle damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Depending on the severity of the accident, the liable party or parties could face criminal charges.

Contact a Jacksboro, TN Personal Injury Lawyer

Victims of a truck accident can suffer life-altering effects, or they may even be killed by a collision or rollover. Medical bills alone can be staggering, which is why victims should be compensated for the damages they have experienced. The lawyers from the Law Office of William F. Evans understand the legal issues involved in truck accident cases, and we are dedicated to helping victims and their families receive the compensation they deserve. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a dedicated Campbell County truck accident attorney, call our office today at 423-449-7980.

 

Sources:

https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/safety/documents/cdl03.pdf

https://www.consumernotice.org/personal-injury/traffic-safety/trucks/

 

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