Virginia Truck Accidents: Uneven Load Could Be to Blame

Truck accidents involving semi-tractor trailers, 18-wheelers, and other big rigs can cause major damages, both to the truck driver and other motorists involved. These accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. Driver errors, such as speeding, approaching turns too fast, and driving distracted or under the influence are often primary contributing factors. In other situations, poor truck maintenance and lack of proper training may have made a crash or collision more likely to occur. In many truck accidents, shifting loads or improper loading practices are often to blame.

Trucks with Unsecured Loads

Many car drivers have had the experience of driving down the highway or road when a huge truck pulls up beside them, hauling a massive load of cargo. This can be very intimidating, even frightening when the load the truck is carrying looks so unsteady that it looks as if part of it could fall onto your vehicle or even cause the truck to tip over.

That weight and size of the truck are not only intimidating, but these factors can also play a significant role in the handling of the vehicle, including needing a greater stopping distance and time, less maneuverability, and a much greater impact if the truck hits something. This is why accidents with large trucks often result in catastrophic injury or death for victims in other vehicles.

Truck accidents caused by unsecured loads usually occur due to one of the following reasons:

  • Failure to conduct regular load checks to ensure securing devices or load has not shifted
  • Failure to ensure that the cargo load is balanced properly
  • Hauling unapproved cargo
  • Incorrect or inappropriate use of tie-downs, straps, or other securing devices
  • Not fully closing or locking the cargo door
  • Overloading the truck
  • Use of defective straps, tie-downs, or other securing devices

Uneven and Unsecured Loads Can Increase Likelihood of Rollover Accidents

One of the most common causes of rollover truck accidents is an unsecured or uneven load. These rollover crashes usually occur because of one or more of these reasons:

  • The driver was going too fast as he approached the highway entrance ramp, causing him to lose control.
  • The cargo he was carrying may have been improperly secured, causing it to shift to the left as he made the turn.
  • The cargo may have been improperly loaded, with the bulk of the weight on the driver’s side.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck accidents can rarely be attributed to one single cause. Trucks, in general, are top-heavy and prone to leaning or listing on even subtle turns and bends in the road. When weight distribution is an issue or when cargo is not secured properly, a rollover accident becomes more likely, regardless of how safe the driver is. In these cases, the trucking company itself may be liable for damages, due to a lack of training or due to negligence on the part of employees.

Contact a Virginia Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact a Virginia truck accident attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party or parties. The legal team from Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn has successfully advocated for many truck accident victims and their families and we understand how complicated these cases can be. Our attorneys are available to meet and discuss the details of your case and how we may be able to help.

For more information about truck accidents in Virginia, please download our free guide.