The defendants in truck accident lawsuits in West Virginia and around the country are usually negligent truck drivers or their employers, but that may not be the case if shifting cargo that had not been properly loaded or tied down caused the accident. Tractor-trailers haul loads weighing up to 40 tons, and they can overturn or jackknife without warning when their cargo moves suddenly during turns or while ascending or descending steep gradients. When this happens, passenger vehicle occupants unlucky enough to be in proximity have little chance of avoiding serious injury.
When improperly loaded cargo shifts quickly, trailers can swing out to one side like a pocket knife; this is jackknifing. When this happens, even a highly experienced and capable truck driver may not be able to avoid an accident. To prevent this from happening, the distribution of the loads should be equal across the entire cargo bay and properly tied down. Tractor-trailers are particularly prone to jackknifing during emergency braking situations.
Rollover crashes happen very quickly and are usually extremely serious, and the occupants of any passenger vehicles that tipping tractor-trailers land on are almost always seriously injured or killed. Motorists can reduce their risks by limiting the amount of time they spend beside large trucks. These accidents often happen because heavy cargo is on one side of the trailer and lighter items are on the other side. When commercial vehicles loaded in this way take sharp bends or their drivers take evasive action, gravity can cause them to tip over. This often happens on highway entrances or exits.
Truck accident lawsuits
If you received an injury in a motor vehicle accident due to an improperly loaded tractor-trailer, an experienced personal injury attorney may check Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records to find out if the truck driver, trucking firm or cargo loading company received citations for cargo violations in the past. If you decide to take legal action, an attorney could seek compensation for your medical bills and other expenses, property damage, lost income and pain and suffering.