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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.

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Rockford truck accident lawyersCommercial trucks often measure up to 70 feet in length. Consequently, truck drivers must rely on mirrors and assistive technology like back-up sensors to see around the vehicle. Even with this equipment, it is hard for truck drivers to see vehicles or other objects in the truck’s “blind spots.” Blind spot truck accidents often lead to severe injuries and costly property damage. A personal injury claim may allow an injured person to recover compensation for these damages. However, determining liability for a blind spot truck accident is often a difficult task.  

Understanding Blind Spot Accidents

Truck blind spots are areas around the truck that the driver cannot see. If a car, motorcycle, pedestrian, or cyclist is in the truck’s blind spot, the driver may not even know that the person or vehicle is there. This can have disastrous consequences. Most driver education programs include information about truck blind spots or “no zones” and instruct drivers to stay out of truck’s blind spots if possible. Truck blind spots typically include the areas:

  • Directly in front of the truck
  • From the back of the truck to about 30 feet behind the truck
  • Behind the driver’s side window to approximately the middle of the trailer
  • On the passenger side of the truck including the two lanes to the right of the truck

Blind Spot Truck Accidents Often Involve Shared Fault

While it is hard for drivers to see objects in their blind spots, a truck driver is not automatically cleared of fault for an accident just because the other vehicle was in the blind spot. Truck drivers are expected to pay close attention to their surroundings, check mirrors before turning or changing lanes, and make adequate use of rear cameras, back-up sensors, and other technology.

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Rockford personal injury attorneys Truck accidents often lead to catastrophic consequences. If you were injured or your loved one was killed in a truck accident, you may be desperate for answers. You may have questions about how the truck accident occurred, who is legally responsible for the accident, and how you will pay for the massive costs incurred by the accident. Truck accident liability is often complex. The liable party may be the truck driver himself or herself, the trucking company, or a number of other parties. In some cases, a truck accident stems from inadequate truck maintenance and the party responsible for compensating the truck accident victims is the party who failed to properly maintain the truck.

Accidents Caused by Failure to Properly Maintain a Commercial Truck

We often assume that truck accidents are caused by driver error, however, there are many cases in which a truck driver is not the liable party in a truck accident claim. If the truck malfunctioned, improper truck maintenance could be to blame your accident. Truck companies have a legal duty to ensure that their trucks are regularly inspected and maintained. Inadequate truck maintenance can lead to dangerous defects, including:

  • Tire blowouts
  • Bald tires
  • Brake failure
  • Steering system failure
  • Broken tail lights or headlights
  • Trailer detachment
  • Defective securement devices

Proving a Truck Accident Was Caused by Poor Maintenance

Through a truck accident injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs caused by you truck accident. You may be compensated for your past medical bills as well as the future medical costs you will encounter because of your injuries. You may also be compensated for your property damage, lost income from missed work, future lost income, and reduced earning capacity. Damages in a truck accident injury claim may also include intangible losses such as your mental anguish and pain and suffering. A wrongful death claim may enable you to hold a negligent trucking company accountable for your loved one’s death and recover compensation for your loved one’s lost income, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and more.

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