Overloaded & Improperly Loaded Truck Accidents
Truck drivers need to take utmost care when hauling heavy loads. They need to consider the load carrying capacity of their vehicle, as well as how to properly load cargo to avoid equipment falling off trucks.
If you have been seriously hurt in a truck accident caused by an overloaded truck, or cargo falling off of an improperly loaded truck, contact an attorney at Scarlett Law Group to learn your options.
The Dangers of Overloading or Poorly Loaded Cargo
Overloading can have serious consequences in terms of safety. Too much weight for your vehicle’s suspension system can issues such as:
- Spring, shock absorber or brake failure - Brakes can completely fail, particularly on steep hills on an overloaded vehicle
- Handling or steering problems - An overloaded vehicle is hard to drive and difficult to brake, which can affect how the driver maneuvers a vehicle.
- Tire failure and irregular tire wear - Abnormal tire flexing takes place due to overloading. Overloading the truck, with under-inflated tires, can be perilous because it can generate excessive heat within the tire that may exceed the tire’s capacity and lead to tire failure. The air pressure enables a tire to support the load, therefore proper inflation is critical.
- Falling cargo - An overloaded truck or improperly secured truck can cause cargo to fall and leave debris on the road, which can endanger drivers behind and near a truck.
How Should Truck Cargo Be Loaded?
Trucks can be loaded in many different ways; air pressures must be determined from the actual loads (determined by weighing) and taken from the load and inflation tables provided by the tire manufacturer. However, they should never exceed the tire limitation for load or air pressure. If you discover that your tires cannot support the actual weights, lighten the load or install tires with a higher carrying capacity. It should be noted that installing tires with a higher carrying capacity only solves the problem of tire overload. It has no effect on the overloading of other components (i.e., rims, axles, shocks, or bearings). Rims may not be capable of withstanding the higher pressures necessary to support the load. If you decide to install a tire size other than that originally provided on the vehicle, care must be taken to ensure adequate load-carrying capacity and compatibility between the tire and rim. There is a danger of serious injury or death if a tire of one bead diameter is installed on a rim or wheel of a different rim diameter. Always replace a tire with another tire of exactly the same bead diameter designation and suffix letters.
Liability for Overloading/Improperly Loading Cargo
In most cases, the truck driver and trucking company can be liable for accidents caused by overloaded cargo. Drivers and their trucking companies have a responsibility of knowing the cargo requirements and ensuring that their cargo is safe.
However, if a third party is responsible for loading or securing the cargo and failed check the cargo's weight, then they may share liability.
Learn more about what caused your accident, and how to pursue compensation after a truck accident. Call our team for a free consultation.