The proper loading of cargo is very important for the safe operation of commercial trucks and the safety of other vehicles on Maryland roads. Improperly loaded cargo affects the handling of a truck and increases the likelihood of an accident. For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed specific, research-based cargo securement rules designed to prevent cargo from shifting, falling off the truck, striking nearby vehicles, or scattering debris on the road.
The FMCSA Securement Rules
A truck that is overloaded or top heavy due to improper loading has a high center of gravity that increases the likelihood of a rollover accident. In any accident caused by a violation of FMCSA securement rules, a trucking company, cargo loading personnel, and other parties are considered negligent and may be held liable for damages.
Requirements for Loading Cargo
There are some visible indicators that a truck might be improperly loaded. If its trailer doors swing partially open when the truck is moving, or if the corner of a tied-down tarp is flapping loose, the truck may be in danger of losing its load. Additionally, if there is a trail of debris on the road behind the truck, if its brakes are screeching, or if liquid or vapor is escaping from a tanker truck, you should keep a safe distance.
Cargo-Related Accident Injuries
In an accident between a semi-truck and a smaller passenger vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle are likely to sustain severe injuries, including broken bones, cuts, scarring, burns, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal damage, dislocated joints, paralysis, and/or amputations. If you suffer one of these injuries in a crash caused by an improperly loaded truck, you’re entitled to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for damages. These damages can include medical bills, property damage, loss of income, and pain and suffering. If you’ve lost a loved one in a crash with an improperly loaded truck, an attorney can help you to file a wrongful death claim.
More Than One Defendant
If you’re involved in an accident caused by an improperly loaded truck, more than one party might share responsibility for your damages. If cargo loaders overload the truck or violate FMCSA securement regulations, of course they’re liable, but the truck driver is also required to inspect the truck and be sure it’s in safe operating condition before and during each trip. The trucking company that employs the trucker and cargo handlers also has a duty of care to motorists and must keep all their trucks in safe operating condition. If a defective piece of securement equipment allowed the truck’s load to shift, the equipment manufacturer could be held partially liable for resulting damages.
Shared liability in a truck crash means that obtaining fair compensation can be complicated, and it’s important that you hire a truck accident attorney.
Benefits of Hiring an Attorney
Our experienced truck accident attorneys can work to help you prove liability and receive fair compensation from multiple defendants. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 301-790-3600 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.