Everyone who interacts with a commercial truck plays an important role in its operation. From the mechanics working on the brakes to the trucking company setting a shipping schedule, they can all help keep motorists safe and reduce the chances of a truck accident by exercising best practices. The same is even true of third-party load crews who load and unload cargo, freight, and products for commercial tractor trailers.
When the freight in the back of a big rig is loaded correctly, there is a low risk of any cargo-related truck accidents. When it is loaded incorrectly, though, the risk of a crash goes up, as does the liability of the company employing that load crew.
How can a load crew incorrectly load cargo into a big rig?
- Overweight: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires most commercial trucks to be less than 10,001 pounds in total weight. The purpose of this weight limit is to prevent truck accidents caused by brake failures since the heavier the vehicle, the more stress is applied to the brakes when slowing and stopping it. A load crew may misrepresent or miscalculate the weight of the cargo it is loading into the trailer, causing the truck driver to leave the warehouse without realizing the truck is overweight. Later, if they try to come to a sudden stop, the extra weight could cause brake failure and, ultimately, a crash.
- Top-heavy: How the weight inside a trailer is distributed is also crucial to the truck’s safe operation. When heavy cargo is placed atop of lighter weight pallets or freight, the trailer becomes top-heavy. Naturally, a top-heavy trailer is more prone to tipping over when the truck takes sharp turns. A top-heavy trailer is also a danger when driving through high winds. The wind can catch the side of the trailer like a sail, which puts any truck into a tip-over risk. With the heaviest weight at the top of the trailer, the chances of it tipping over in the wind only increase.
- Loose securements: Cargo being hauled by a commercial truck needs to be secured properly, each and every time. Securements can include tie-downs for cargo in an open-air trailer or locks on closed-door trailers. Without the right securements, cargo can come loose from the trailer and fall into the road behind the truck, putting every other driver behind the truck in immediate danger.
Can a Load Crew Be Held Liable for a Crash?
Truck accidents are usually a bit more complicated than the average car accident in terms of deciding liability. The introduction of a cargo hazard will add to these complications, as liability could be placed partially on the load crew and the company employing them.
If your truck accident was caused in part by a load crew’s failure to appropriately store cargo in the back of a big rig, then a portion of the compensation you demand through an injury claim could come from that party. Depending on the details of your accident, you might need to file a claim against multiple defendants, or file multiple claims for the single accident. In either situation, you can expect a tenacious team of insurance defense attorneys to be acting on behalf of the defendants, whether they are a truck driver, load crew, trucking company, and so forth.
Who Can Help with Your Truck Accident Claim?
You should count on a local law firm that knows your state’s liability laws as well as nuances of federal trucking regulations when you want to file your truck accident claim. If you live in Atlanta, Georgia or any nearby region of the state, then you can call upon Pratt Clay, LLC for representation. We are known as precise litigators who can take any claim to court as a lawsuit, no matter how complicated it might seem to other less experienced law firms.