Overloaded Trucks & Unsecured Cargo
Were You Injured Because of Unsecured Cargo?
Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) have a max weight of 80,000 pounds (load plus vehicle weight), although truckers can petition for an oversize or overweight permit with their state’s Department of Transportation. Not only are there weight requirements on loads carried, but federal regulations also dictate how that load can be secured.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cargo securement rules state that each tiedown be attached and secured in a manner that prevents it from becoming loose, opening, unfastening, or otherwise releasing while the vehicle is in transit. FMCSA regulations also require that cargo securement systems be able to sustain various deceleration and acceleration forces in varying directions without compromising the position of the cargo.
Any of these rules, when disregarded, can cause or contribute to serious semi-truck accidents. If you were injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a large truck, we invite you to contact us to investigate your case. We can evaluate your situation to determine if overloading or unsecured cargo may have contributed to your accident.
If so, we could hold the driver or trucking company responsible for negligence.
At Kinnard, Clayton & Beveridge, our Nashville truck accident attorneys have helped injured clients secure millions. We are seasoned trial attorneys who know the right way to handle your case, and we have over 100 years of combined experience—much of it spent trying cases successfully.
The Danger of Unsecured & Overweight Loads
A key part of the transportation process is the actual loading of the vehicles, and if that step isn’t done properly, it can lead to catastrophe. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) details the proper method for loading a truck on its website, and provides a handbook for drivers covering the rules surrounding cargo securement. When these regulations aren’t followed properly, the driver can lose control of the truck and cause a collision.
Common examples of cargo loading and securement issues include:
- The weight of the cargo is not properly distributed: Whether the cargo’s weight is unevenly distributed to one side or if it is loaded to make the trailer incredibly top heavy, the slightest mistake could cause the truck to flip onto its side. Even if the trailer is perfectly loaded, taking a corner at high speeds puts the truck at risk of tipping. If the cargo’s weight is not properly distributed, this risk only increases.
- The cargo exceeds the maximum allowable weight: While an 18-wheeler can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds, not every truck is built to the same standards. Many trucks have a lower capacity, but no matter the make, overloading a truck can have disastrous consequences. The excess weight can cause the truck to break down if it isn’t properly maintained; even if the truck is in perfect working order, the excess weight will adversely affect the truck’s ability to brake, and can put everyone at risk of a collision.
- The cargo has not been properly secured: Even if the trailer is loaded to an acceptable weight and the weight is perfectly distributed, if the cargo is not properly secured, it is at risk of shifting around during transport. This can be incredibly dangerous, primarily because the weight may unpredictably shift during transport and may help cause the truck to flip onto its side if the driver enters a turn at too high of a speed.
According to the Department of Transportation, a 20-pound object moving at 55 mph can strike with a 1,000-pound impact. Truckers are expected to not only be aware of their loads, but to fasten them down in a way that is safe for everyone on the road. This might include using dunnage or dunnage bags, which are used to fill the space between cargo in trailers, or tiedowns, which are used to keep cargo unmoved during acceleration and deceleration.
In 2012, a government study found that there were 51,000 road incidents in 2010 involving unsecured loads. In 20% of those incidents, other drivers suffered injuries as a result of the debris—that’s over 10,000 injuries. Tragically, 500 people were killed due to unsecured objects.
How Our Firm Can Help
When your injuries have left you less able to provide for yourself, or medical bills are overwhelming you, you do not have to deal with it alone. Our firm has tried hundreds of cases, recovering millions for our clients in record-breaking verdicts and jury awards. We provide our clients with the resources, justice, and closure they need to move forward with their lives. If you need an advocate to stand up to the people that caused your injuries, we can help.
Call (615) 933-2893 to schedule a free consultation today.
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