The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration estimates over 500,000 truck accidents every year, some of which are caused by issues with a trucks cargo. Complications with cargo loads may impact the amount of injury and damage in a truck accident. Contact an attorney to assist in the investigation.

 

Property cargo dangers.

Georgia driver restrictions for trucks carrying property cargo are limited to maximum hours driven; minimum hours off duty; and required rest breaks. Cargo is an important safety consideration for trucking companies, and is often dependent solely on the people who load and/or drive these large trucks that already have limited maneuverability in certain traffic patterns.  If an accident is caused by poorly or overloaded cargo, parties besides the driver may be held responsible in the recovery of related damages.

Overload.

Overloading cargo is when a truck is carrying more than the specific maximum weight designed for the truck.  A trucking company may do this to avoid making more than one trip that would cost more road time and fuel.  An overloaded truck can cause an accident because: 1) the added weight requires longer stopping distances and if an emergent stopping situation arises, rear-end collisions may result; 2) tires may not be able to support the extra weight and cause blowout situations making a driving situation hazardous as a driver tries to control the truck; 3) mechanical components may not be able to bear the weight increasing downhill speeds of truck and decreasing uphill speeds causing roadway problems for other motorists.

Improperly secured.

Inadequately secured cargo may shift during the course of travel causing a truck to jackknife, rollover or become difficult to steer.  Cargo that is not secured correctly may spill on a roadway causing a multi-vehicle damage situation, or damages to highway structures including bridges and tunnels.

Hazardous materials.

Hazardous cargo including large equipment, vehicle/boat transport and flammable liquids and gas can increase injuries and damages in an accident due to awkward weight shifting and the possibility of explosions or highway spills with toxic substances.

Insurance.

Georgia is a Comparative Fault State which enables plaintiffs to seek damages up to 50 if they were partially responsible.  The plaintiff will not receive any damages if they are 50 percent or more responsible for injury or damages claimed.  This tort law allows plaintiffs to sue for the percentage of damages caused by the defendant. Georgia laws follows federal guidelines for all commercial motor vehicles subject to regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, where shey need to be insured in an amount equivalent to the minimum levels of financial responsibility set forth in theregulations.

Negligence.

Legal action can be initiated when the elements of negligence are present includin an owed duty of care; a breach in duty of care; and injury or loss caused by the breach. Wrongful death claims are based on the ability to prove negligence.

Compensation for damages.

Compensation is based on the severity of injuries, damages and the percentage of fault assigned to the truck driver, trucking company and/or  a third party possibly involved in cargo matters. Damages may include: 1) compensatory damages – those damages causing economic (loss of wages, medical bills, and property damage) and non-economic loss to victim (pain and suffering); and 2) punitive damages – meant to punish the persons being sued (Defendants).

Legal counsel.

Truck accidents involve complex factors that require specific knowledge of the commercial trucking industry, experience in injury law, and sophisticated investigative capabilities to collect  and analyze evidence to support a negligence claim.  Contact an experienced lawyer if you have been in an accident in Atlanta Georgia.

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/title49/section/387.1

https://www.bts.gov/content/transportation-accidents-mode

https://www.truckinfo.net/trucking/stats.htm

https://dps.georgia.gov/commercial-motor-vehicle-traffic-codes-safety-rules