Detroit Unsecured Load and Overload Truck Accident Lawyer
Commercial truck accidents are among the most dangerous types of motor vehicle accidents due to the size, weight, and reduced maneuverability of large, heavy trucks compared to the size and weight of the average automobile. The inherent danger of large trucks is magnified when the load is not properly secured or distributed evenly or when the truck is overloaded. All these factors create great risks of causing catastrophic accidents. These hazardous scenarios occur more often than most drivers think.
Improperly secured cargo, uneven weight distribution, or overloaded trucks pose a serious hazard to the truck driver and other vehicles on the road and nearby pedestrians. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident caused by an unsecured load, improperly loaded, or an overloaded truck, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other damages. In Detroit, the experienced truck accident attorneys at Sommers Schwartz are well-known for fighting for accident victims and winning them all the compensation they deserve.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), around seven percent of truck accidents in the United States occur because of shifting or improperly secured cargo. Another study conducted by AAA over four years found that debris on the road from unsecured cargo loads caused 200,000 accidents, resulting in 500 fatalities and 39,000 injuries.
Many drivers fear following behind a loaded truck because of the threat of something becoming unsecured. This is a legitimate risk from both professional trucking companies and privately-owned vehicles transporting items.
Different types of accidents result from unsecured loads. Some occur when items in an open bed or on a flatbed truck fly into the road. This creates a major hazard for other vehicles that may not have time to react properly. In some cases, an item or debris from unsecured or carelessly secured truck cargo will fly off and crash through the windshield of the vehicle traveling behind it and strike the driver or a passenger, seriously injuring or even killing them.
Typical materials that become unsecured include:
- Sheet metal.
- Household goods.
- Rocks, gravel, cement, and construction material.
- Landscaping materials.
Other accidents happen when cargo inside a trailer shifts and causes the truck to tip or roll over. The disproportionate weight inside can exacerbate other truck movements, making accidents even more serious.
It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure whatever they are carrying is properly secured. But it is not always done. Sometimes a driver is rushing, not paying attention, trying to make as few trips as possible, or unsure how to properly secure the cargo, leading to accidents. Often, because of the high turnover of qualified large truck drivers, the driver may be inexperienced and not know how to load a truck safely.
Large trucks are dangerous, even when they are properly loaded and do not exceed weight limits. However, when a truck is overloaded or the cargo is not evenly distributed, it becomes even more hazardous and challenging to control. Several factors affect how much cargo can be carried safely by the truck, including its gross weight, the working load limit, its braking ability, and the number of axles.
The following situations describe when an overloaded or improperly loaded truck may be especially dangerous.
- A truck overloaded with too much cargo has more undue stress on its axles and mechanical components, making it harder to control and increasing the chances of causing a serious accident.
- Packing most of the weight in the rear of the truck or trailer affects the truck’s stopping distance.
- While large trucks generally require a longer distance to stop than typical automobiles and small trucks, that distance may be dramatically longer when the truck is overloaded, resulting in rear-end collisions.
- A large truck, especially one that is overloaded, will have increased speed while going downhill, causing the driver to lose control of the truck, which may result in multi-vehicle collisions. Conversely, an overloaded truck may be slower while traveling uphill, obstructing traffic following behind it.
- Large trucks, especially those frequently overloaded, need regular inspections of the tires, brakes, and other critical mechanical parts due to excess weight and premature wearing.
- An overloaded truck has an increased danger of the added weight causing a tire blowout, resulting in the driver losing control, swerving into other lanes or even head-on traffic, or flipping over.
- Improperly loaded trucks, and those with a high center of gravity, may be hard to control and risk flipping over, especially while making a sharp turn.
- Cargo shifts or loss can occur due to improper loading and not evenly distributing the weight, which is extremely dangerous for other vehicles in the truck’s path.
- Bad weather conditions, such as rain, ice, sleet, or strong winds, or uneven or old, worn roads, can make it much more difficult to control an overloaded truck or one that was improperly loaded.
- A road or bridge not designed to bear the weight of an overloaded truck may collapse.
Who Is Responsible?
Like any other truck accident, a crash caused by an unsecured load or overloaded truck can have multiple negligent parties that may be legally responsible for what went wrong. An attorney familiar with the complexities of truck accidents can help determine what happened and who was negligent by examining all available evidence and conducting an investigation.
Potentially liable parties may include:
- The driver.
- The driver’s employer.
- The truck’s owner.
- The company or person(s) who loaded the truck.
- The company or person(s) who maintained the truck.
- The manufacturer of the truck or its parts.
- The manufacturer of the equipment used to secure cargo.
Contact a Detroit Truck Accident Attorney for Help
At Sommers Schwartz, our experienced truck accident attorneys understand the complex rules and regulations governing truck drivers and trucking companies. We know how to secure the recovery you deserve for the injuries caused when those rules and regulations are not followed. If you or a loved one were hurt or killed by a truck that was overloaded, improperly loaded, or had unsecured cargo, Sommers Schwartz can help you recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
Protect your rights and contact Sommers Schwartz today for a free consultation and learn what sets us apart from the rest.