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How Can Cargo Loading Violations Cause an Illinois Truck Crash?

Posted on in Truck Accidents

Rockford truck crash lawyersThere are many reasons why a semi-truck driver could lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident. Many of these reasons are related to the driver’s negligence, including in cases involving speeding, distracted driving, driver fatigue, and drunk or impaired driving. However, sometimes the root cause of a truck accident is something that happens before the truck enters the roadway. One common factor in many semi-truck crashes is improper loading of the truck’s cargo.

Cargo Loading and Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enforces strict regulations for cargo loading and securement in commercial trucks. If these regulations are violated in any way, the risk of an accident tends to increase. Some cargo-related causes of truck accidents include:

  • Overloading - In general, heavier cargo makes it more difficult for a truck to accelerate, decelerate, or change directions. Many states, including Illinois, have a gross weight limit of 80,000 pounds for commercial trucks, and vehicles that exceed these limits can cause accidents due to the difficulty of reacting in time to avoid a collision.
  • Unbalanced loading - States also typically have per-axle weight limits for trucks, in part to ensure that cargo weight is evenly distributed. An unbalanced truck is more likely to roll over, especially when making a turn at higher speeds.
  • Shifting cargo - Cargo that is not firmly secured with the proper equipment can move while the truck is in motion, quickly turning a balanced truck into an unbalanced truck. Sometimes, cargo even falls off of the truck and onto the road, creating an additional accident hazard for nearby vehicles.

Liability in Truck Cargo Accidents

Truck drivers are typically required to thoroughly inspect their cargo to make sure it is safely loaded and secured. If there is evidence that the driver failed to perform the required inspections, they may be considered negligent and liable for damages to accident victims. However, it is common for other parties to share liability in an accident involving improperly loaded cargo. These can include the employees responsible for loading the truck, or the company that employs the driver or loading crew.

To understand who all may be at fault, it is crucial that you can access all available evidence as soon as possible. An attorney can help you obtain police reports from the crash, as well as records from the truck log and trucking company to look into the loading and inspection history. With this evidence, you can make a stronger case for full compensation from all parties.

Contact a Rockford, IL Personal Injury Attorney

At Mannarino & Brasfield, A Division of KJS, our personal injury attorneys have experience handling truck accident cases of all kinds. We will work with you to understand the damages you are entitled to recover and strive for a fair settlement or trial verdict. For a free consultation with a Winnebago County truck crash lawyer, contact our office today at 815-215-7561.

 

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/cargo-securement/cargo-securement-rules

https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/policy/rpt_congress/truck_sw_laws/app_a.htm

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