California roadways see the highest number of truck accidents out of any state in the country, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Just as with any automobile accident, there are many ways a truck accident can occur. One of the leading causes is a concept called improper loading. Not only is there a limit on how much one truck can carry, but there are proper methods for loading, which are outlined in certain regulations. If these regulations are not followed, the truck can pose a great risk to everyone else on the road, along with its own driver.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident caused by an improperly loaded truck, turn to the skilled personal injury law firm MI ABOGADO ®. We will fight aggressively to hold any and all negligent parties accountable for their wrongdoings and will make it our mission to secure you the maximum possible settlement. You deserve to see justice for the harm you suffered.
The laws surrounding accidents involving improperly loaded trucks are complex because there are many parties who are responsible for ensuring that the truck is loaded properly and overseeing the driver. Litigating these cases generally involves far more parties than the truck driver and the victim. That’s why it’s vital that you seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney who has experience taking on big trucking companies, their lawyers, and their insurance companies. You need an advocate who will fight tirelessly for you, your best interests, and your future.
A boutique personal injury law firm based in Los Angeles, MI ABOGADO ® has represented almost 300,000 clients, with 96% of our clients seeing financial compensation for their losses. We proudly serve clients across the state of California, from San Diego to San Jose. We also take truck accident cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that we won’t charge any upfront fees for our services. We only get paid when you see the financial compensation that you deserve. We are ready to start fighting for you today.
What is Improper Loading?
One of the most common causes of truck accidents is improper loading. There is a common misconception that a truck driver’s job is just that – driving. However, the job actually involves a lot more strategic decision-making and skill. A truck driver is responsible for safely transporting heavy cargo from one place to another. This involves ensuring cargo is properly loaded, with the appropriate weight distribution, and is properly secured so that the truck is able to maneuver and brake adequately. This can present a challenge when a truck’s cargo is being delivered to multiple destinations and can lead to improper loading.
California and federal law provide limits on cargo’s weight, size, height, length, and width, but improper loading is still unfortunately prevalent. Improper loading can include overloading the truck beyond its weight capacity, which can potentially compromise the vehicle’s stability, structural integrity, and braking capacity. Improper loading can also occur when the weight is distributed unevenly, which leaves the truck at risk of tipping over.
Inadequately securing cargo is another way improper loading can occur, which involves failing to properly secure straps or chains, which can cause the cargo (which may have been loaded properly to begin with) to shift as the truck drives. Similarly, if the equipment used to secure the cargo is worn out or defective, an accident may occur as a result. ® Many truck drivers are also tasked with transporting hazardous materials, which, if improperly handled or loaded, can lead to leaks, spills, and even chemical fires.
Truck Loading Regulations in California and Federally
There are laws and regulations at both the state and federal levels that are aimed to prevent improper loading. These can be found in the California Vehicle Code and through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Both set forth limits on the cargo’s size and weight, guidelines regarding how the cargo is secured, and requirements for the cargo’s loading and weight distribution. These requirements vary depending on the type of truck or commercial vehicle, including flatbed trucks, semi-trucks, and tanker trucks.
The FMCSA also requires that truck drivers inspect their cargo at various points throughout the cargo’s journey to ensure it is still properly loaded and secured. This includes inspections at the beginning of the trip, within the first 50 miles of the trip once the cargo has been loaded, and after every 150 miles driven or three hours after that, depending on which one happens first. These inspections must also be carried out after duty changes. If the driver encounters an issue at these inspections, it is their responsibility to ensure the cargo is properly loaded or secured, and they must notify the trucking company before resuming their journey.
Common Types of Truck Accidents Caused by Improper Loading
Trucks don’t generally pose a great hazard to other motorists, but they do when they aren’t loaded and secured properly. There are many ways an improperly loaded truck can become involved in an accident, but three stand out as the most prevalent.
- Rollover accidents. Trucks generally have a higher likelihood of tipping or rolling over than traditionally sized vehicles due to their center of gravity and size. However, rollover accidents are far more likely when the cargo isn’t properly loaded, is overloaded, or isn’t properly distributed. Cargo may even shift during transit between the required FMCSA inspections, so a driver may not even realize the risk they are posing. When an unbalanced truck makes a turn or changes lanes, it can roll over and may crush smaller vehicles and pedestrians on the roadway.
- Jackknife accidents. When a truck skids, the cab can become dethatched from the trailer and they may move in separate directions, known as a jackknife accident. These are substantially more likely to occur when cargo hasn’t been loaded properly and can cause catastrophic damage and injuries in both directions, along with obstructing the roadway.
- Cargo spills. When a truck’s cargo isn’t properly secured, or when the securement equipment fails, the cargo can fall out of the truck and onto the road, creating a sudden hazard that other drivers may not have enough time to react to. Cargo spills are a notorious cause of multi-vehicle and pileup accidents, and drivers may cause more damage when swerving to avoid the cargo. Cargo spills are especially dangerous when a truck is transporting hazardous materials, which can create a public health issue in the surrounding area.
Common Injuries Sustained Following a Truck Accident Caused by Improper Loading
Truck accidents caused by improper loading can lead to catastrophic injuries for all parties involved, given the size, weight, and poor distribution of the cargo, along with the size, momentum, and lack of braking abilities of the truck. Moreover, when cargo has fallen onto the roadway, it can cause serious damage, especially in cases where the truck was transporting hazardous materials.
Common improperly loaded truck accident injuries include, but are not limited to:
- Head injuries, including skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries, including whiplash and spinal cord damage, which may result in paralysis.
- Fractured bones
- Internal injuries
- Lacerations, cuts, and scrapes
- Nerve damage
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Crush injuries
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation, which may lead to long-term illnesses such as cancer
- Wrongful death
Who Can Be Held Liable for Truck Accidents Caused by Improper Loading? And What Damages Can I Collect?
Improper loading can be a result of negligence on the part of far more parties than just the truck driver. The trucking company is responsible for properly training its drivers, providing adequate equipment, maintaining the equipment, and ensuring that all drivers are following the laws when it comes to loading cargo onto trucks. Trucking manufacturers may also outsource to a professional cargo-loading company to ensure that the cargo is properly loaded in terms of weight, size, balance, and securing. The cargo loading company and its employees may be held liable if they don’t meet those vital safety standards and regulations.
Similarly, when a truck makes stops, there may be many people involved in the unloading and reloading of the cargo, such as a warehouse crew, who can all play a role in improper loading. If the improper loading was a result of faulty equipment securing the cargo, the manufacturers in question may also be held accountable for the improper loading.
The types of damages you can expect to recover depend on the unique circumstances of the case, your specific losses, and the degree of negligence at play. Some damages we’ve secured for truck accident victims in the past include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- In-home care expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Permanent disabilities
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages
- Punitive damages
How California Personal Injury Law Firm MI ABOGADO ® Can Help You Recover
The experienced personal injury law team at MI ABOGADO ® believes that there is nothing that should come before your recovery. Once you become a client of ours, we will immediately put our expansive network of trusted medical professionals across the state to work, ensuring your recovery is in the best possible hands.
Once we know your medical care is of the highest possible standard, we will begin a comprehensive investigation of your accident. We will collect evidence, gather statements from witnesses, and ascertain who can be held responsible for the accident. From there, we will build the strongest possible case to bring to negotiations. We will take on the parties, their lawyers, and their insurance companies, fighting aggressively for your best interests and your future.
Mr. Javaheri, our founding attorney, worked at a big law firm and saw firsthand how little access clients had to the people they were putting their faith in at their most vulnerable moments. He witnessed the lack of care and compassion in how those clients were treated. That’s why Attorney Javaheri founded MI ABOGADO ®, a boutique law firm where he limits the number of cases he takes to ensure he is available to every client with care, compassion, and effective advocacy. Bigger isn’t always better. Better service is better.
Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles Improperly Loaded Truck Accident Lawyer Today
The experienced personal injury law team at MI ABOGADO ® believes that nobody should be further burdened just to see justice for their harm. That’s why we don’t ask for any fees for our services upfront. We don’t get paid until we secure a settlement for your losses.
We offer free and confidential consultations, along with second opinions. Let us help you get justice for the losses you’ve suffered. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can see just compensation.