Truck Accidents Caused by Cargo Shifts and Spills

cargo shift truck accident

Trucking crashes happen every day all across Oklahoma, and most of the time driver error is the culprit. Whether it’s a careless trucking company pushing a driver to drive long after he is exhausted or a truck driver trying to speed to save time and make a delivery, human error is always a significant concern.

However, there are other types of negligent conduct that can lead to a trucking accident, with many of these mistakes actually taking place long before the driver ever gets behind the wheel. One example is improperly loaded truck cargo.

At the Cain Law Office, we have years of experience holding the trucking industry accountable when people are seriously injured in crashes. So if you or a loved one has been injured due to a due to cargo shifting, please contact our law firm about your rights today.

Causes of Truck Cargo Accidents

A lot of things can cause a load to shift in a tractor-trailer combination vehicle. Here are just a few examples:

Tired drivers – A driver who is fatigued, exhausted, or simply drowsy may succumb to the desire to cut corners. Some cargo is loaded by the driver, while other loads are simply drop hook. Drop hook means that the driver merely backs up to the shipping company’s loading dock, and the warehouse employees load the truck. When done, the driver merely closes the doors, applies a seal, and drives away. Nevertheless, the driver should quickly get weighed to make sure the load is within limits. Likewise, if the load is not proper, the driver has a responsibility to tell someone before driving. The more tired and rushed a driver is, the more likely he or she will bend the rules to get back on the road.

Distracted drivers – A texting or otherwise distracted truck driver may take a turn too fast or not be able to stop in time due to a sudden act. This can cause the load to shift abruptly and lead to rollover accidents.

Turning too quickly – Even when not distracted, some drivers take on ramps and off ramps too fast, causing the entire rig to spill or turn over.

Speeding – Traveling faster than what is safe is always a problem. This can be especially dangerous when hauling liquids and transporting cargo on flatbed trucks, as these loads are more prone to shifting.

Poorly maintained roads – A road that is unlevel, full of potholes, or otherwise poorly maintained can lead a truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. Still, a good driver knows to slow down and use caution when navigating bad roads.

Cargo loading errors – If the loaders don’t use good common sense and proper loading techniques, more weight can be seated above the rear tandem, which can make the power unit lose traction to rear tires. If too much weight is forward of the tandems, it presses down on the rig and actually lifts the front steering tires, creating difficulty maintaining control in turns.

Sudden shifts in cargo – Finally, there are times when loads may have loose items, such as small objects, chemical containers, or fiber materials that can easily jar loose and spill inside the trailer, leading to a rollover accident.

Types of Cargo Spill Accidents

Large trucks transport all types of goods and materials throughout the United States. Some of the most common types of cargo spills involve:

Heavy equipment cargo – If you’ve ever seen a large tractor, airplane wing, or other oversized piece of equipment being hauled down the highway, you can probably imagine what would happen if the straps and harnesses were to fail. Improper or inadequate straps and safety measures can lead to cargo falling or spilling from a truck.

Toxic spills – About the only thing worse than rollover or oversize load trucking accidents is when hazardous chemicals are involved. A HAZMAT spill cannot only be dangerous due to the crash, but it can also expose the general public to lethal gasses, highly flammable and combustible products, and deadly corrosives. These can eat through metal and cause irritation and burns to the eyes and skin, while also causing serious or life-threatening respiratory injuries.

Material spills – Even non-hazardous materials can be dangerous. A spilled truck load of television sets or tires can prove deadly to those in smaller passenger vehicles, motorcyclists, and even pedestrians, if the accident happens in an urban area.

Types of Trucks Involved in Cargo Spills

For those who suffer load-shifting injuries in truck accidents, it can be frustrating to make sense of the situation. There are many types of cargo shift accidents that can happen in just a split second, and these can involve all sorts of trucks, such as:

  • Semi tractor-trailer combinations
  • Double and triple combinations
  • Straight trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Rental trucks and vans
  • Dump trucks
  • Tanker trucks
  • Garbage trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Local LTL (less-than-truckload) semi-trucks

Even a bobtail rig (a power unit without a trailer in tow) can cause a cargo shifting accident if the driver has loaded the inside of the cab with more weight than it is designed to carry.  Some new rigs have entire showers, lounge areas, and custom-built seating inside, all of which can greatly increase weight and dangerously affect weight distribution.

How Our Cargo Spill Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You

We know that a serious injury suffered in an Oklahoma City truck accident caused by cargo shift can stop you in your tracks and leave you fighting for a way to pay the bills, get back to work, and come up with money for medical expenses. Our respected truck accident law firm is here to fight for you throughout this process and demand the maximum compensation you deserve.

Please call the Cain Law Office today, and schedule a free initial consultation. Our truck accident attorney can answer all your questions and begin an investigation into your crash right away. We will do everything possible to take the pressure off of you, so you can focus on your recovery.