Loading a large truck is a job for professionals. Cargo must be balanced properly side-to-side and weight must also be distributed properly over the truck’s axels. Total weight must be limited to meet federal and local standards. Additionally, any cargo must be safely and properly secured to prevent load shift or dropped cargo. Depending on the circumstances, either the company loading the truck driver can be held liable for injuries caused by improperly loaded cargo.
One of the greatest dangers involving trucks is the possibility of a load-shift incident. Load-shift occurs when cargo isn’t completely secured. As a truck drives and makes turns, unsecured cargo may suddenly move. When the cargo shifts, its weight shifts with it. When this shift happens suddenly, it can push the trailer to the side, causing it to skid and jackknife.
Rollover accidents can also be caused by load-shift incidents. If a truck is turning and cargo slams into one side of the trailer, the trailer’s center of gravity can shift, causing the trailer to tip or roll over. Rollovers are also the result of improperly balanced trucks. When too much weight is placed on one side of a truck, it becomes more likely to tip over. A truck’s center of gravity must also be low to the ground. When heavy items are stacked too high, it increases the likelihood of a truck tipping over.
Putting the right weight over the right axles also helps prevent accidents. Too much weight on an axle can make it difficult for a truck to steer, while too little weight reduces traction. If you have been hurt in a New Jersey truck wreck, your attorney will work with an accident reconstruction expert to diagnose any loading problems that may have caused the crash.
Sometimes trucks pull open trailers or trailers covered only by a tarp. This is common when transporting raw materials or large machinery. When this cargo isn’t properly loaded or secured, it can come loose and fall off of a moving truck onto a roadway.
Shipping companies must take special precautions when loading hazardous materials. In addition to balancing the load and securing the cargo, special placards must be placed on the outside of the truck which warn drivers and first responders about the specific dangerous cargo the vehicle is hauling.
Seigel Law represents victims of trucking accidents caused by improper loading. Our legal team helps clients in Bergen County and the surrounding areas hold trucking companies liable for their negligence. If you were hurt or a family member has been injured due to a New Jersey truck accident call us today at 201.444.4000 or contact us online for a free consultation.