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01/10/2014
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Cargo & Freight Issues in Truck Accidents

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Personal Injury

Speeding, lane-drifting, driver fatigue, weather conditions, other motorists—these are all factors many think of when it comes to trucking collisions. An often overlooked danger in sharing the roadway with large trucks, however, is the cargo and freight being transported. Cargo issues can both contribute to the initial cause of a truck wreck, as well as increase the severity of an accident, such as when cargo shifts and causes the truck to roll/jackknife, or hazardous material spills onto the roadway.

Commercial truckers have a duty to adhere to federal and state regulations that govern the handling, loading, securing, inspection, and reexamination of cargo. When a truck accident occurs due to the negligent actions of a driver and/or trucking company our Gainesville attorneys feel that these person should held accountable to the fullest extent possible.

In the trucking industry, it is a well-known fact that properly dealing with cargo, must begin prior to departure. There are several pre-departure factors that drivers must take into consideration in order to ensure their own safety, as well as that of other motorists that share the roadway. The type and weight of cargo; proper load distribution and balancing; as well as securement techniques must be assessed in conjunction with the particular truck being loaded. Some of the most common cargo related factors in trucking collisions include:

Imbalanced Cargo. Even distribution of cargo throughout the trailer is crucial to safety—the left must be even with the right, and the front must be even with the back. Uneven cargo not only impacts the driver’s ability to maneuver the truck, but also can cause the truck to jackknife or rollover more easily.

Overloaded Cargo. There is a direct correlation between the weight of a load being transported, and the risk for accident. As the weight of a load increases, so does the risk for accident. Heavy loads reduce maneuvering capabilities, make the truck more susceptible to rollovers, and place increased stress on critical components, such as steering, braking and suspension systems.

Improperly Secured Cargo. Both the type and proper use of fasting and securing devices are important factors in preventing accidents. Cargo that is not properly secured can shift can affect overall vehicle stability by altering the distribution of weight, which can then decrease maneuverability, and increase the chances of jackknifing or rolling over.

Unsecured Cargo. Much like cargo that is improperly secured, unsecured cargo presents the same risks associated with load shifting. However, cargo that is completely unsecured can fall from the truck and cause a collision, either by directly striking another motorist, or by leaving an obstruction in the roadway for an oncoming vehicle.

While proper pre-departure loading is critical, the dangers associated with cargo do not stop there. In fact, cargo must be continuously inspected during transport. Truckers have the obligation to ensure proper placement and securement of cargo prior to departure. Thereafter the truck driver has the duty to reexamine their load after the first 50 miles, and then every 3 hours / 150 miles, whichever comes first, or when the driver’s duty status changes.

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Trucking collisions can vary greatly from other types of accidents. Such cases generally require the expertise of a legal professional that has prior experience in representing victim involved in similar accidents. Knowledge of both state and federal law, the ability to evaluate your case and identify sources of liability, as well as a full understanding of how to properly obtain and preserve evidence, are just some of the benefits you can expect from the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A.—contact our Gainesville Trucking Accident Attorneys, and let US, help YOU.