How secure are trailers carrying cargo? Can a cargo shift cause a truck accident?

It’s a sad but undeniable truth that semi-trailers and commercial trucks have the ability to cause numerous kinds of accidents—any of which could be fatal. The vehicles’ size and weight make them dangerously hard to control, in addition to aiding in the severity of injuries during an accident.

Although the size and weight of a truck play significant roles in causing some of the thousands of truck accident injuries that occur each year, they aren’t the only factors you have to worry about. In fact, what’s inside the trailer can be just as dangerous as the trailer itself, especially if it is improperly secured.

Cargo Accident Risks

Commercial trucks travel cross country carrying thousands of pounds worth of boxes, merchandise, and cargo. Texas highways see a significant portion of this truck traffic, as Texas Gulf Coast ports handle more than 550 million tons of foreign and domestic cargo each year, and trucks are used to transport it all across the country. Unfortunately, when that cargo isn’t secured properly, dangerously heavy freight could fall onto the road—or worse, in your lap—causing the potential for catastrophic accidents and injuries.

There are two main factors that contribute to a dangerous trailer loads: overpacking and instability.


A 53-foot semi can safely hold approximately 40,000 pounds of freight. When that weight is exceeded, the truck runs the risks for:

  • Tire blowouts
  • Loss of control and stability
  • Failure of cargo restraints
  • Diminished control on turns
  • Reduced braking ability and longer stopping distance
  • Jackknifing
  • Rolling or tipping over


Anyone who has ever packed luggage for vacation knows the importance of stacking items to fit the space allowed without leaving gaps or holes. You may also have learned the significance of stacking larger pieces on the bottom and smaller pieces on top, in order to build a stable structure.

But what happens when truck cargo is loaded without following these rules—or without proper cargo restraints? The bouncing, turning, and frequent braking of the truck on the highway can cause the load to shift, slide, tip, fall, or burst from the trailer. The results can include…

  • Cargo hitting cars
  • Debris falling on the highway. This can cause an accident by forcing other motorists to swerve to avoid the debris
  • Chemical spills
  • Gas leaks
  • The entire truck becoming unstable and tipping over

Securing Your Claim From Shifting

Unsecured freight in trucks can pose a serious threat to others on the road, and lead to serious (and costly) injuries. Allow an experienced truck accident lawyer to help get you the compensation you deserve from all those at-fault. We can help you determine who was liable, whether it be the driver, the truck company, the owner of the cargo, the people who (poorly) stocked the trailer, or all of the above. We can also review the details of your accident, conduct a thorough investigation to determine what factors contributed to your crash so that you know who was to blame.

Attorney Steve Lee has the knowledge, resources and background to help you recover compensation in your truck injury case. He has been helping accident victims for 35 years and is waiting to help you. Contact our office today at 713-921-4171 or 800-232-3711 to make sure your case has a solid foundation and is strong enough to withstand the forces the insurance companies will throw at it.

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