Cargo loaders are a priceless part of a trucking company, but can they be a hazard as well? The past few years have seen an increased occurrence of truck accident deaths in America. For example, in 2019, there were 4,119 truck accident fatalities. Notably, several factors are responsible for these collisions. They include over-speeding, driver fatigue, overloaded cargo, etc. Furthermore, Atlanta truck accident lawyers know that different parties can be liable for truck crashes.
These include the driver, trucking company, or manufacturer. In addition, a cargo loader can be responsible for a truck accident. Determining truck crash liability is sometimes challenging, though. That’s why it’s always best to hire a truck accident lawyer. After dealing with several truck collisions, a lawyer knows how to identify a fault party.
When Will Truck Loaders Bear Accident Responsibility?
Truck cargo loaders bear truck crash liability in some collisions. However, these are restricted instances. Such liability only arises when the cargo loaders’ negligence caused the crash. Notably, this can occur in two primary ways, as discussed below.
Trucks come in different sizes. So, they also have loading requirements. Exceeding these limits can lead to cargo spillover accidents. There are also federal and state regulations on truck cargo weight. Unfortunately, many cargo loaders neglect these rules. When they do, and accidents occur, they’ll bear the liability.
Truck drivers also have a responsibility to ensure they don’t carry excessive cargo. Such excessive cargo can make controlling the truck more challenging. This factor also increases the chances of an accident. Therefore, suppose a driver knowingly moves with overloaded cargo. Then, they can also share the accident’s responsibility.
Improperly Secured Cargo
Sticking to the required cargo weight isn’t sufficient. Instead, the loaders must also properly secure the cargo to the truck. If they don’t, the truck’s movement can dislodge the cargo. Such dislodged cargo can then fall on oncoming vehicles. Conversely, improperly secured loads can tilt the truck’s weight to one side. This can also make the truck fall.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules for securing vehicle cargo. So, truck cargo loaders must abide by these rules. If they don’t, you can sue them for any accident from improperly secured cargo.
Can the Truck Driver Be Liable for Improperly Secured Cargo Accidents?
Yes, the cargo loaders aren’t the only responsible parties for cargo accidents. Instead, the driver will share some of the faults in some cases. The FMCSA even has a Driver Handbook on Cargo Securement. This handbook places some cargo responsibilities on the truck driver.
Furthermore, it provides that some safety conditions must exist before the driver moves the vehicle. For example, the Handbook states that the vehicle’s cargo must be properly distributed and adequately secured.
Notably, it also provides that the cargo must not:
- Block the driver’s front or side view
- Interfere with the trucker’s arms or legs, or
- Prevent the driver’s access to emergency accessories
So, suppose the driver moves the truck without abiding by these regulations. Then, such a trucker would have acted negligently. Consequently, you can sue them for any resulting truck accident. This means that you can sue both the drivers and cargo loaders.
Recoverable Damages in Georgia Trucking Accidents
If you win a Georgia truck accident claim, you can recover multiple damages. These include economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the actual financial losses from the crash. You’d have to specifically prove these losses to recover them. So, you can prove and claim:
- Medical bills
- Cost of medical equipment
- Property damage
- Cost of vehicle repair
- Cost of alternative transportation
- Lost wages
- Costs of in-home medical care
These are intangible losses that aren’t easily financially quantifiable. Georgia law allows to you claim some of such damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
The court can also award punitive damages against the fault driver and cargo loaders in very rare cases. Notably, though, Georgia law caps punitive damages at $250,000. Georgia law uses punitive damages to punish the defendant for their actions. However, you’ll have to prove willful misconduct, malice, wantonness, oppression, or recklessness to get punitive damages.
Escaped a Georgia Truck Accident? Let Bethune Law Firm Help You!
Have you survived a Georgia truck accident? If you have, then you may be eligible for compensation. First, however, you’ll need the best Georgia truck accident lawyers. Our attorneys at Bethune Law Firm can help you determine the collision’s fault. Once we ascertain the accident’s responsibility, we’ll proceed against this fault party. Notably, our attorneys have several years of experience in handling truck accident cases. So, call us today for a FREE consultation.