Large commercial trucks have the potential to be extremely dangerous. If the trailer is not properly loaded, an accident is far more likely to occur. A semi-truck needs to be well balanced, and it cannot be overloaded. The big trucking companies have a legal duty to ensure that all of their trucks are loaded carefully and properly so that accidents can be prevented.
At Fisher & Talwar, our top-rated Los Angeles semi-truck accident attorneys fight for the legal rights and financial interests of truck accident victims. If you were injured in an accident with a semi-truck, and you believe that improper load or other issues with the trailer contributed to your accident, please contact our team today to set an immediate review of your case. The negligent trucking company must be held fully accountable for their misconduct.
Weight and Distribution Both Matter
The state of California has adopted rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that limit how heavy a truck can be. If a truck exceeds the maximum allowable weight limit, it is by definition dangerously loaded. Though, a truck could be well under the weight limit, and it could still be improperly loaded. Trucking companies need to make sure that a load is:
- Not too big for the specific vehicle in question;
- Properly distributed throughout the trailer; and
- Fully secured, so that nothing can fly off the truck.
For clarity, the FMCSA has issued guidance on how companies should safely load their trucks.
Spotting Improperly Loaded Trucks: Three Warning Signs
If you see an improperly or overloaded truck on the road, you need to avoid it. These trucks are highly dangerous since they take far more braking distance than ordinary trucks and they are inherently unstable. While you will not always be able to tell which semi-trucks are improperly loaded, there are some warning signs to look for, including:
- Uncovered cargo, especially if it looks unstable;
- A truck that is having trouble getting up hills; and
- The truck’s tires seem to be sunk into the ground or leaning to one side.
Of course, avoiding an improperly loaded truck is not always possible. Sometimes trouble finds you, and there is nothing you can do to avoid an accident. In these cases, you need to be able to hold the negligent actor fully liable for their unsafe actions.
Who is Liable for an Accident Caused By an Improper Load?
California truck accident claims are notoriously complicated. One of the reasons for this is that there are many different parties that may be held liable for an accident. If an accident was caused by improper loading, any party that either participated in the negligent loading or should have acted to prevent the improper loading, but failed to do so, can be held legally responsible for any damages sustained in a resulting accident. Parties that are often held liable in improper loading of semi-truck accidents include:
- The truck driver;
- The company that owns the truck;
- The company that loaded the truck;
- The company that was leasing the truck; and
- The manufacturer of the truck or the trailer.
How Our Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
In personal injury claims, trucking companies are typically represented by large insurance companies. As a general rule, insurers are not eager to pay injured victims a full and fair settlement offer. They will do what they can to limit your financial recovery, sometimes even denying valid claims. If you were involved in a major accident with an improperly loaded truck, you should work with a qualified attorney, who can help you build the strongest possible legal claim. When our firm takes on your semi-truck accident case, we will:
- Make sure that you receive the appropriate medical treatment, and that your medical damages are documented;
- Work with experts to prove that the improper loading of the truck contributed to your accident;
- Use legal tools to obtain much needed evidence from the trucking company, including black box electronic data along with trailer loading and vehicle inspection records; and
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters to get you the full recovery you deserve under California law.
Contact Our Southern California Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys Today
At Fisher & Talwar, our dedicated semi-truck accident lawyers have extensive experience handling accident claims involving improperly loaded trucks. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck crash, please call us today at (213) 805-7706 or use our short online contact form to request a free review of your case. From our office in the heart of Los Angeles, we serve communities throughout Southern California, including in Orange County and Ventura County.