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Overloaded Truck Accident Lawyer

Riding beside a big rig truck on a highway is scary enough. Still, considering that you have no idea what is in the trailer and whether or not it was loaded correctly, it becomes even more intimidating. Federal and state laws restrict truck loads because improper loading presents a danger to the truck driver and everyone else on the road. If you suffered an injury in a truck accident because of an overloaded trailer, you have the right to seek compensation from the at-fault parties involved in the loading process.

What Makes an Overloaded Truck Dangerous?

What truck drivers carry in the trailer and how they load it plays a significant role in their safety and the safety of others on the road. Some common ways that an overloaded truck can present a hazard to other drivers include:

  • Cargo can spill outTrucks have open and closed trailers, and both present unique dangers of cargo spillage. An open trailer can dump cargo onto the road at any angle, including to the side where other cars could be present. Overloaded closed trailers can spill when the driver fails to secure the doors properly.
  • The trailer could roll over. All vehicles have a center of gravity. An overloaded trailer can disturb the truck’s balance and cause it to tip over. When that happens, the truck driver cannot maintain control, resulting in a dangerous accident, especially for passenger vehicles on the road.
  • The tires could blow out under pressure. Weights limits for cargo exist partly to keep unnecessary stress off the tires. However, overloading can exceed the weight limit and cause blowouts. 

When any of those scenarios occur, it is almost impossible to ensure everyone stays safe on the road. In addition, trucks make up a significant number of vehicles on highways and interstates, where they ride side-by-side with other vehicles under varying conditions. Therefore, drivers and trucking companies owe a duty of care to everyone else on the road.

Who Is Liable for an Overloaded Truck Accident?

Determining liability is a crucial step for a personal injury lawsuit. What makes truck accidents unique is that there are often multiple parties that are or could be responsible for your actions, and only one of them is present at the time of the crash. Some potential at-fault parties include:

  • The person driving the truck. Truck drivers are responsible for checking the cargo load, even if they do not load it themselves. 
  • The trucking company. If the investigation into your accident turns up contributory factors in the cause, such as missed inspections or improper training, the trucking company could be responsible. 
  • A third-party loading company. When a third party places the load into the trailer, they are responsible for ensuring the load meets regulations.

Collecting evidence to support a liability claim is vital to your case. However, because it can be so complex, you would likely benefit from speaking with a truck accident lawyer about your case.

What Laws Regulate Truck Load Weight Limits?

The laws that regulate weight limits vary from state to state, but every state considers the number and width of tires on the truck, the ratings from manufacturers, and the axles. The Federal Bridge Formula determines how much weight a truck can bear when traveling on the interstates. It considers the number of axles, the space between them, and how both affect the distribution of weight.

Additionally, states use Bridge Law to calculate the weight a truck can bear based on the distance along its route. The law requires each state to conduct reviews to ensure that trucks never carry more weight per route than the axles can handle.

Northern states also implement Frost Laws. These laws require consideration of the road surface when determining weight limits. As winter turns into spring, states in cold climates deal with thawing ground that softens and reduces the road’s ability to withstand heavier loads. To accommodate these seasonal issues, states came up with Frost Laws to regulate changes in weight limits during the changing seasons. Heavy trucks can damage the roadways during this time.

What Damages Can You Recover From an Overloaded Truck Accident?

Given the size of large commercial trucks, which can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, the damages to a smaller vehicle and its passengers can be devastating. If you sustained bodily injuries and vehicle damage in an accident with an overloaded truck, you may be entitled to compensatory damages.

Compensatory damages include the financial and non-economic losses you suffered due to the other driver’s negligence. Financial or economic damages include:

  • Your medical expenses. You can file a claim for ambulance costs if you need emergency medical services during the accident. Other expenses include doctor visits, hospital stays, medicines, medical equipment, and ongoing rehabilitation or long-term treatment.
  • The wages you lost from missing work. You can ask for compensation for the work you already missed and the work you will miss in the future, either from loss of earning capacity or ongoing medical treatments.
  • The damage to your vehicle. Commercial truck accidents typically result in irreparable damage to a smaller passenger vehicle. You can request the cost of replacing or repairing that vehicle.
  • Expenses related directly to your accident and injuries. Anything you had to pay for to accommodate your injuries is a potential compensatory damage. Examples include childcare and transportation costs. In addition, if you had to hire household help to handle day-to-day chores while you heal, you could include that in your expenses.

Another component of compensatory damages is the non-economic losses. The physical pain and suffering you endured have a monetary value in the court. The same is true for mental anguish, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and losing the ability to enjoy your life. Any way the accident and your injuries negatively impact your life is compensatory.

Why Would You Hire an Overloaded Truck Accident Lawyer?

In the aftermath of a truck accident, you have a significant amount of healing to do, especially if you suffered severe injuries or lost someone you love. Getting the compensation you need often means going through the complex process of filing a lawsuit and proving your claim. However, you do not need to do that alone. Some ways an overloaded truck accident lawyer can help you include:

  • Providing you with the moral support you need
  • Acting as professional representation for you in all communications throughout the legal process
  • Taking care of all the necessary paperwork
  • Ensuring you meet deadlines
  • Investigating the accident and relying on experts to collect as much information about your case as possible
  • Talking to eyewitnesses and collecting statements
  • Handling the insurance company
  • Making sure you receive a fairly valued settlement
  • Helping you understand your rights as they apply to the case
  • Preparing your case for the courtroom
  • Charging no upfront fees for case evaluation and representation

At Fielding Law, our experienced truck accident attorneys are available to answer your questions and help you build a case for compensation. The complex nature of a truck accident lawsuit means you could benefit from having someone with legal education and experience on your side. We can offer you peace of mind and keep you informed of our plans and your options every step of the way. Contact Fielding Law today for a free case evaluation, and we will start working on your case immediately.