Attorneys for Truck Accidents In Sacramento Caused By Poorly or Improperly Loaded Cargo
The Sacramento truck accident attorneys of Tiemann Law Firm have the experience, resources, and knowledge to hold truck drivers and trucking companies liable after serious accidents. If poorly or improperly loaded cargo was the reason you suffered injuries during a collision between your vehicle and a commercial truck, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Our legal team can help you fight for justice so you can heal and move forward with your life.
Commercial trucks are vital to the everyday life we all expect. They deliver items people order online, carry materials to construction sites, and transport products to stores. They can also contain toxic substances, such as oil or gas, creating hazards for other drivers. If the truck driver doesn’t load their vehicle correctly, the cargo could shift or fall onto the road. Shifting or falling cargo causes dangerous conditions for motorists, increasing the risk of an accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides specific standards everyone in the trucking industry must follow when it comes to cargo. If trucking companies and their employees don’t follow these regulations, they put people in harm’s way. There are multiple parties that might be responsible for loading items onto a large truck, which makes figuring out who to hold liable for your injuries a challenge.
At Tiemann Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience investigating accidents like this and pursuing the maximum compensation available from the negligent party. You can depend on us to take over your case and put our skills to work for you.
To find out more about our legal services or for a free consultation with an experienced and dedicated lawyer, call Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 right now.
Federal Regulations for Loading Cargo
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established regulations specifically for loading and securing items onto the back of a commercial truck.
Applicable Vehicles and Cargo
Any cargo-carrying vehicle containing a box, hopper, tank, or similar device forming the structure of the truck operating in interstate commerce is governed by these rules. Regulations apply to all types of cargo, except those without a fixed shape or structure, such as liquid concrete, gravel, sand, and liquid.
Trucking companies must load all vehicles in such a way that the cargo is prevented from shifting or falling out when the driver speeds up or slows down in any direction. The securement of the cargo is required to meet these acceleration and deceleration forces:
- 0.8 g deceleration moving forward
- 0.5 g acceleration going rearward
- 0.5 g acceleration laterally
All structures, systems, or parts used in securing cargo must function correctly and be free of defects or damage. Manufacturing standards apply to the tie-downs trucking companies can use, such as cordage, webbing, strapping, wire rope, steel, or chains.
Cargo loaders should secure tie-downs so they don’t open, unfasten, release, or loosen while the driver transports the freight. If an item could directly contact a tie-down, edge protection is necessary to avoid cutting or abrading the tie-down. The load should always stay “inboard” if a trailer with rub rails carries the cargo.
Regulations for the number of tie-downs used based on the weight and length of each item are:
- Up to 1,100 pounds and a maximum of 5 feet – 1 tie-down
- More than 1,100 pounds and up to 5 feet – 2 tie-downs
- Between 5 and 10 feet – 2 tie-downs
- 2 tie-downs for the initial 10 feet and 1 tie-down for an additional 10 feet
If the truck driver, trucking company, or another party violated these regulations, and those violations resulted in your injuries, you could seek compensation from them. Tiemann Law Firm can review the details of the accident and determine your available legal options.
Common Types of Truck Accidents Resulting from Poorly or Improperly Loaded Cargo
If cargo isn’t loaded and tied down in a way that meets federal standards, boxes and other items can shift, causing an uneven weight distribution. They could even fly off the truck, creating dangerous debris for other drivers. The truck driver could lose control of their vehicle and crash into a small car. Severe injuries and fatalities are typical in accidents like this.
The most common types of truck accidents due to improperly loaded cargo are:
- Jackknife – A commercial truck contains a front cab with a trailer attached to it. If the vehicle jackknifes, these two parts fold toward each other at an angle. Exceeding the maximum weight limit of a truck can cause an uneven distribution of weight. A sudden turn or braking can create a shift in momentum, causing the tires to skid and the whole vehicle to jackknife.
- Lost load – Defective securement systems, such as frayed roping, can’t effectively keep items securely in place. If the truck driver takes a sharp turn or maneuvers to avoid a hazard, the cargo could slide off the trailer.
- Rollover – Loose materials can bounce around or shift, throwing the commercial truck off-balance. This prevents the driver from having total control over the vehicle. It’s easier to roll over with uneven weight distribution because of the truck’s high center of gravity.
- Hazardous materials – A collision could lead to an explosion or fire if the truck driver doesn’t secure hazardous items, such as oil or flammable substances, correctly. Additionally, these materials could spill onto the road, injuring drivers and passengers in other vehicles.
- Tire blowout – Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when loaded with cargo. Weight limits are necessary to avoid extra pressure that the tires can’t handle. Too much freight can cause one or multiple tires to explode during transport and cause an accident.
If you sustained injuries in any of the kinds of truck accidents identified above or another type, contact Tiemann Law Firm immediately for a free consultation.
Who’s Liable After a Poorly or Improperly Loaded Cargo Truck Accident?
California uses a fault system to determine liability following motor vehicle accidents. That means the party that causes another person’s injuries or death in a crash becomes financially responsible for their medical bills and other expenses. You could either hold the truck driver or trucking company liable, depending on the circumstances of the case.
The truck driver might be at fault for the accident if they:
- Knowingly used defective, worn out, or damaged cargo securement devices
- Failed to use the correct tie-downs based on the weight or length of the cargo
- Engaged in reckless driving while transporting improperly loaded cargo
- Loaded materials above the weight or size limits onto the truck
- Failed to inspect or weigh the vehicle
The trucking company could be responsible for the crash if they:
- Failed to provide the necessary training for the drivers
- Knowingly hired an inexperienced or unqualified trucker
- Failed to perform complete background checks on a new employee, such as employment history, criminal records, and licensing
- Failed to perform routine maintenance and repairs on the vehicle and securement devices
- Failed to supervise the cargo loading process adequately
Tiemann Law Firm understands the suffering you were forced to endure because of someone else’s error. You will not be alone in the fight when you hire us. Our legal team will remain by your side until the very end.
Possible Compensation You Could Secure in a Truck Accident Case
Many people suffer physical, emotional, and economic losses after a truck accident. If you were hurt in the crash or from unsecured cargo, you could file an insurance claim or lawsuit. The compensation you receive should cover your past and future losses, so you’re not forced to pay for anything yourself.
The various losses you can pursue includes:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Although most insurance companies don’t enforce a strict filing deadline, you should still initiate a claim immediately after the accident. Some policies might require that you file “promptly” or “within a reasonable amount of time.” Tiemann Law Firm can request a copy of the applicable insurance policy to determine the timeframe we must follow.
It’s also critical to hire a lawyer and begin working on your case as soon as possible because there’s a deadline for filing a lawsuit. California has a two-year statute of limitations. That means you only have two years from the accident date to sue the truck driver or trucking company.
This might seem like a long time, but you could encounter unforeseen obstacles or delays during the insurance claims process. By the time you’re ready to file a lawsuit, the deadline could have already passed if you waited too long to start the initial filing of your case.
Call Tiemann Law Firm Today
Tiemann Law Firm has a dedicated legal team available 24/7 to answer your call when you need us most. We aim to provide personalized one-on-one attention to every client, so you always feel like a priority. We will offer the guidance and support you need to get through this overwhelming period in your life.
If you want to discuss the details of your case, we can meet you for a free same-day consultation. There are no fees to receive the legal advice you need to make the decisions that can meet your needs. We also take cases on contingency, meaning you won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident due to poorly or improperly loaded cargo, call Tiemann Law Firm at (916) 999-9000 now.