Truck accidents often affect multiple different parties on the road due to the devastation their size poses. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 10 people die a day due to truck accidents, the majority of which are the occupants of other vehicles and non-occupants, such as pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there was a total of 3,906 large trucks involved in fatal accidents within the U.S. in 2013 and a total of 333,000 truck accidents in 2012. Of the fatalities, 73 percent were occupants of other vehicles, 10 percent were non-occupants, and 18 percent were the truck occupants. There are many ways in which a fatality or serious injury from a truck accident can occur, such as driver error, faulty products, and improper loading. Improper loading or having loose cargo can throw the weight of a truck off, cause objects to fall from the trailer onto the road, or cause the driver to lose control. If you have been injured in a truck accident from improperly loaded or loose cargo, contact an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina truck accident attorney today.
Loose Cargo, Improperly Loaded Cargo, and Overloaded Trucks
Even if a truck is empty or loaded properly, it is still more difficult to control than a passenger vehicle. Their size makes them difficult to maneuver, slow to stop, and decreases visibility for the driver. On top of that, professional truck drivers often drive long shifts on little sleep. Sleep deprivation, even if it is only the difference between eight hours and six, causes drastic increases in reaction time. The use of electronics also causes distractions with every second that the driver takes their eyes off the road or their mind away from the task at hand. Improperly loaded cargo exacerbates the inherent dangers of operating a large truck pulling a heavy load. If the truck is overloaded or improperly loaded, the center of gravity may be raised or altered so that the chance of rollover increases. If too much weight is too high up, the trailer can roll over when navigating freeway curves or even surface street stoplights. The trailer can also act like a sail, catching the wind and, if the truck is not loaded properly, decrease the driver’s control. If the truck is overloaded, navigating mountain passes or even longer hills can be dangerous due to the increased time to stop or, if the truck’s brakes are overtaxed, an emergency situation where the truck driver loses all control. In the event of loose cargo or spillage, objects can fall onto traffic behind the truck, causing crashes, or, drivers may attempt to avoid falling objects and crash as a result. Spillage presents a hazard as it can cause unsafe road surfaces or serious health concerns because of unsafe material contamination.
Liability in Loose Cargo and Improperly Loaded Cargo Truck Accidents
Not only is it important to have an experienced attorney at your side because of the complexity of large truck accidents that involve multiple injured parties, but it is also important in ascribing liability. In the event of a large truck accident that was caused by loose cargo, liability may fall on the shoulders of the truck driver, if they loaded the truck themselves, the trucking or shipping company, or the party that loaded the truck. Contact a Charlotte, North Carolina truck accident attorney to help get you the compensation you need to pay your medical bills and compensate you for your lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.