Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How Cargo Loading Can Lead to Truck Accidents

The key purpose of large commercial trucks is to carry goods across the country. However, carrying large, heavy loads of cargo can also be dangerous if the cargo is not loaded into the truck properly. The following are some of the ways that cargo loading can lead to truck accidents and injuries.

Improper Securement of Cargo

Cargo carried by a large commercial truck can come in all shapes and sizes, from furniture to foodstuffs, to clothing, and more. No matter what the shape and size of the cargo, however, it must be properly secured inside the trailer. If cargo is not secure, it can easily shift inside the trailer when the truck switches lanes or takes a turn. If a significant amount of cargo suddenly shifts, it can cause the trailer to be thrown off balance. An off-balance trailer can sway into other lanes and can make the truck incredibly difficult to control. Many truck drivers may lose their control over the truck in this scenario, which often results in serious collisions. There are two main types of crashes that result from shifting cargo, which include:

Rollover - If heavy cargo shifts, it can tip the trailer over onto its side. This often results in a cargo spill, which can cause additional crashes if cargo is in the path of traffic.
Jackknife - Shifting cargo can also cause a trailer to sway on the coupling and, if the trailer swings out perpendicular to the cab or tractor, it is called a jackknife accident. Jackknifed trailers can take out vehicles in its path and can make it very difficult for the driver to stop the truck.

Proper cargo securement is so important that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific rules and regulations1 requiring certain types of securement systems for certain types of cargo. Tiedowns, anchor points, and other tools can be used to keep cargo from shifting mid-trip and leading to a serious crash. The FMCSA also provides a cargo securement handbook2 for drivers to use. If a driver or cargo-loading company fails to properly secure cargo in a trailer, they should be held responsible for their negligence and should have to compensate any accident victims who were injured as a result.


When a truck is overloaded, it can exceed the safe weight limits3 for the size of the truck and the number of axles. When a truck is overloaded, it can become very difficult to slow down or stop the truck, especially if a driver has to do so quickly to avoid a hazard or collision.


Underloading is mostly a risk when it comes to tanker trucks, which transport liquids. When a tank is not filled up enough, the liquid can splash and slosh around, which can cause the trailer to come off balance and can result in a rollover or another type of collision.

Many different factors can cause truck accidents, many of which cannot be immediately identified by someone who is not familiar with the trucking industry, risks, and requirements. Determining that cargo was not loaded into a truck’s trailer properly can require investigation and analysis by a trucking industry and accident expert. In addition, after an accident, if the truck is able to continue on to its destination, the cargo will likely be dropped off, erasing much of the evidence that the cargo was the cause of the crash. However, this does not mean that you lose your right to recover for your accident-related losses. It is simply imperative to have a law firm handling your case with the resources needed to fully investigate the cause of the crash in order to gather evidence of the cargo-loading errors.

Contact an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

At the Dolman Law Group, our team of skilled truck accident attorneys has helped many clients obtain full compensation for their losses from trucking companies and other related parties. We have the ability to handle cases involving accidents caused by driver error, trucking company negligence, negligent cargo-loading, improper maintenance, and much more. If you suffered serious injuries in any type of accident with a large commercial truck, please call our office at 727-451-6900 to discuss your case today.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765