Poorly Loaded Truck Accidents in New York City

Cargo in a New York tractor-trailer can weigh approximately tens of thousands of pounds. The truck’s center of gravity can shift abruptly if the cargo is not properly secured. This can result in the truck overturning or running out of control.

Jackknife and rollover accidents involving trucks are usually caused when the cargo or load is not secured properly. In certain cases, the improperly secured tonnage may spill and trigger secondary accidents or cause property damage. Cargo spill or shift accidents, like other truck accidents, may result in serious injury, death, or property damage.

Poorly loaded trucks in New York City can result in truck accidents with devastating consequences. Fully loaded heavy duty trailers are humongous in width and size. They can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Collision involving these trucks and regular passenger vehicles an prove to be fatal, especially for the people in the car.

Who is Responsible for Securing Cargo?

New regulations for securing cargo updated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came into effect in 2004. FMCSA is responsible for regulating the truck industry in the US.

FMCSA claims the intent for bringing in new requirements was for reducing the overall number of truck accidents related to cargo spilling and shifting from commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

Generally, the FMCSA requires a truck’s cargo to be secured firmly with inflatable dunnage bills, tie-downs or other structures that are of sufficient strength. Cargo at risk of rolling needs to be secured or held in place with chocks, wedges or a cradle that won’t become loose or unfastened while the vehicle is moving.

The updated regulations address the following factors:

  • Load limit in relation to the cargo weight
  • Anchor point positioning
  • Minimum tie-downs used for securing the cargo

It also involves detailed requirements and instructions for securing:

  • Dressed lumber
  • Logs
  • Paper rolls
  • Metal coils
  • Concrete pipe
  • Automobiles
  • Shipping containers
  • Roll-on or off containers
  • Crushed or flattened vehicles
  • Large boulders

The Inspection of Cargo, Cargo Securement Devices and Systems have regulations that state every trucking company, agents, officers and employees responsible for hiring, dispatching or training drivers or drivers of CMVs to comply with these rules.

Typical Risks Associated With Improperly Loaded Trucks

Poorly loaded trucks pose serious risk to the person operating the vehicle as well as others on the roadway in the event of a truck accident in New York. These dangers are explained in detail below:

Improperly Stacked Cargo

Cargo that is not properly stacked can shift while the truck is in motion. It can cause the driver to lose control of the tractor trailer. This is particularly true if the truck is going at a high speed, which can result in jackknifing or a rollover accident. The vehicle following the truck may crash into it if they are not quick to react.

Unevenly loaded cargo truck can also result in the trailer losing control and swinging away. Motorists are at a high risk of crashing into the truck if they fail to swerve or brake in time. In certain cases, the trailer may crash into other vehicles if it swings at an outward angle.

Unevenly stacked loads tend to severely restrict a driver’s ability to control a commercial vehicle. This is particularly true during sudden evasive maneuvers or making turns.

Improperly Secured Cargo

Cargo that is not secured properly is also dangerous. Improperly secured cargo is a major safety hazard. This is especially true for other motorists around the truck. Cargo that is not tied down properly or braced using strong ties can come loose while the truck is moving. This may result in the driver attempting to maneuver the tractor trailer and causing the cargo to spill out. The driver may also lose control of the commercial truck and crash into other motorists on the roadway.

In certain cases, the cargo may end up spilling out of the truck and on the road. The falling cargo may also fully or partially block the view of other vehicles coming behind the truck. This can result in a massive pileup accident wherein multiple vehicles crash into the truck and into each other.

In certain cases, poorly secured cargos can also come loose and slip. The cargo may fall on the roadway or other vehicles causing the motorists to lose control and crash into each other. In this instance, there is a massive risk of multi-vehicle pileup as well.

Mistakes While Securing and Loading Cargo

  • Stacking cargo at the edge of the flatbed
  • Loading the cargo in excess of the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating
  • Loading the cargo unevenly or haphazardly
  • Stacking the cargo towards the back end, which results in it pushing against the door
  • Using worn out or old ropes to tie the cargo
  • Not securing the cargo tarp
  • Not using proper restraints
  • Not using an ideally sized cargo net that covers the entire cargo load
  • Tying the cargo at one end

Damages and Injuries Resulting from Cargo Accidents in NYC

Injuries and damages resulting from a cargo and passenger vehicle crash can be significantly severe. Passenger vehicles after colliding with cargo trucks can cause permanent injuries in the passengers of the car. In worst cases, the trucking accident may also result in fatal injuries or instant death.

You may end up experiencing head trauma, broken bones, back and neck injuries. Cargo truck accidents in New York City can also result in severe burns when the load is flammable and spills on the roadway. With luck, you may walk away with minor injuries that involve just bruises and cuts.

It is imperative that you get a medical check up done instantly regardless of the kind of injuries you have sustained. You should also know that the medical bills in such accidents can be covered under a settlement package with the at-fault party. Besides the medical costs, you can sue for property damages, missed wages and emotional trauma.

Liability in NY Truck Accidents Due to Improper Loading

In New York, the trucking company and driver can both be held liable for damages depending on the circumstances or factors that caused the accident. In general, the trucking company can be held responsible for damages under the following circumstances:

  • If the driver was forced to drive an overloaded truck
  • If the driver was forced to operate the commercial vehicle for a period more than 11 hours without rests or breaks
  • If the trucking company failed to repair, inspect or maintain the truck
  • If the trucking company failed to repair, inspect or maintain the vehicle properly
  • If the trucking company failed to follow safety standards laid down by OSHA in regards to loading and securing the load

There are certain circumstances in which the driver of the truck can be held liable as well. These are:

  • The driver was operating the truck drunk at the time of the accident or under the influence of drugs or prescription pills
  • The driver was talking on the phone, texting, eating, or chatting with another passenger at the time of the accident
  • The driver was speeding when the accident took place

Manufacturer of the truck can be held liable if the accident occurred because of defective parts.

Investigation of Cargo Truck Accidents in NYC

Loss of cargo is an obvious contributing factor to an accident, especially if it slipped and fell on the roadway. However, in some cases, the trucking company may claim the cargo was shifted and loosed as a result of the crash. This argument is usually used by trucking companies in jackknife and rollover accidents.

An independent investigation is required in most instances by knowledgeable analysts for determining a shift in cargo that resulted in the trucking accident. The investigation requires obtaining and examining cargo inspection records, bills of lading and other records regarding securing, loading and inspecting the cargo.

Experts are usually required to explain the crash and backtrack to the cause of the accident. These experts may be from engineering, mechanical design and automotive accident reconstruction fields.

The investigative work will be carried out by your truck accident lawyer in New York. They will make sure that a compelling case is built on your behalf. The compensation can be for lost income, medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering among others.

It is important for victims of truck crash to engage a seasoned personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Sometimes, crucial evidence required for building a case can get lost or destroyed. Retaining legal counsel helps in ensuring that you have a lawyer on your side for when the insurer of the trucking company calls to settle.

Experienced and Knowledgeable Truck Accident Lawyers in New York

Truck crash attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff have represented numerous truck accident cases in New York. Our team of skilled lawyers is dedicated to helping you obtain maximum compensation. This is one of the reasons why we are highly rated by both our peers and clients.

We can identify and assess the damages caused by the truck accident if you or a loved one were hurt because of an improperly loaded truck. We can help you seek damages by filing a lawsuit against the negligent or at-fault parties. Get in touch with us for free by calling at 1-800-660-2264 or simply contact us online.


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