You may not realize it, but overloaded cargo is a primary cause of truck-related accidents.
Not only do overloaded big rigs cause considerable safety concerns for motorists, but they also leave trucking companies and certain types of employees open to liability if a crash occurs.
Training is essential
A trucking company has a duty to train new drivers properly, and that training must include instructing new hires in the proper loading of cargo. For example, loaders must take into careful consideration the center of gravity. If a load shifts, the truck will be off balance and difficult to control. This could be a disastrous situation if the driver makes a sharp turn. An overly heavy load could also cause the truck driver to misjudge the need for extended braking distances, which could be a potentially serious concern if the big rig is traveling down an incline. Jackknifing and rollovers are also frightening possibilities with shifting loads.
Truck maintenance concerns
Off-balance loads create truck maintenance problems because, over time, brakes and other components will begin to fail due to wear and tear. Excessively heavy loads will cause tires to run hotter. Improper load distribution will also cause axle and suspension problems. Not only will maintenance become more expensive, but the chance of an accident due to equipment failure will also increase, bringing with it the potential for personal injury and legal liability.
We see our share of large trucks traveling through West Virginia. Overloaded 18-wheelers are difficult for motorists to spot, but the potential for a crash is always an unsettling possibility, and victims could suffer severe injuries. A personal injury attorney will tell you that, in the event of a truck-car crash, the smaller vehicle usually loses but a thorough investigation should determine fault. Cases related to commercial trucks are complex, and it is not uncommon for multiple parties to face charges of negligence, especially in matters involving overloaded cargo.