Improperly Loaded Cargo
Most truck accidents are caused by the mishandling or poor maneuverability of the large vehicle at highway speeds. Many of mishandling incidents are caused directly by freight that has been loaded improperly and imbalances the entire truck. When the trucker steers sharply or suddenly, the shifting weight of the cargo can toss the vehicle unexpectedly or flip it right over, especially if there is harsh wind that day.
To help prevent truck accidents caused by improperly loaded cargo, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created numerous regulations regarding how trucking companies are allowed to load and ship cargo. The handbook is so extensive, it covers more than 100 pages of content, rules, and guidelines.
According to the FMCSA handbook, cargo is not considered secure if it:
- Leaks or spills
- Falls from or through the vehicle
- Ejects due to a bump or wind
- Shifts enough to change handling
Were you hurt in a truck accident and you think the cargo of the tractor trailer is to blame? An FMCSA violation may have occurred, which could put 100% of the liability on the trucking company. Let our Wichita truck accident lawyers at Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC know by calling (316) 688-1166. With our help, you may be able to achieve maximized compensation.
Evidence You Should Collect
There are usually some telltale signs that improperly loaded cargo was the source of a truck accident. After a collision, if you can, use your cellphone to snap photographs of the scene. If you get the right information documented through pictures, it can strengthen your claim.
Be sure to get photographs that clearly show:
- License plate: Just as you would after a collision with another motorist, be sure to get a truck’s plate information. This can be used later to reveal if the truck had received proper maintenance or not.
- Trailer number: The trailers that attach to big rigs are interchangeable and could potentially wind up all around the country. Locate the unique trailer number – usually six digits painted all around and within the trailer itself – and record it. Liability could further shift onto the trucking company if it is later found that the trailer was damaged or had been in previous cargo-related accidents.
- Securements: The FMCSA has guidelines on how to safely ship virtually any kind of cargo, even spherical boulders and hazardous materials. Get pictures of all securements to try to find if a clear violation of FMCSA standards had occurred and subsequently caused the crash.
- Aftermath: Try to show how the aftermath of the accident to the fullest extent possible. If cargo spilled onto the highway behind the truck, photograph the entire trail of debris. If the truck tipped onto its side, show the road conditions and the angle of the turn. Everything could be useful for your case.
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