Overloaded Truck Accidents
An overloaded or overweight truck not only puts the truck driver at risk but also endangers other vehicles on the road. According to an estimate, 5% of all truck accidents in the US are caused by overloaded trucks.
When trucks are overloaded with more than the recommended volume of cargo, the possibility of rollovers, tire-blowouts, and other deadly accidents rises significantly.
A driver behind the wheel of an overweight or overloaded truck can quickly lose control of the truck, especially if it’s raining or the roads are in poor condition. Failure to brake in time to avoid a crash can also cause devastating accidents.
The weight of the cargo can lead the truck to tip over or even cause the load to come loose and strike innocent drivers on the road.
Many state and federal agencies, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have imposed clear weight and size restrictions on vehicles.
Several factors affect how much cargo can be carried by a truck safely, including the gross weight of the truck, working load limit, braking ability, and the number of axles on it.Improper Loading in a Truck
In some cases, the truckload may not have been appropriately fortified by the trucking company or the truck driver.
While sometimes, the load is unsafe simply because there is no cargo restraining device to secure the load. If the cargo is loaded on an 18-wheeler van trailer dangerously and improperly, it will be almost impossible to safely unload it.
A trucking company must adhere to the proper safety protocols when loading and securing a tractor-trailer. This ensures that there will be no dangerous imbalances while loading and unloading the cargo at any point. The trucking company must make sure there are no safety risks or hazards for the tractor-trailer.Overloading/Improper Loading Truck Liability
If you have been injured in a truck accident, it is highly likely that the crash may have been caused by an overloaded truck. The cargo may not have been loaded properly, or the company may have neglected the recommended weight limits.
If you can establish liability, you may be able to hold a trucking company or truck driver responsible for your injuries.
In the cases of truck accidents, the defendant’s liability is generally based on negligence. Trucking companies or truck drivers can be held strictly accountable for an accident caused by an improperly loaded cargo.
If the trucking company failed to calculate the load’s right weight, and it resulted in an accident, the company can be held legally responsible for your injuries.Risk of Accident in an Overloaded Truck
An accident caused by an overloaded truck is absolutely preventable, and that’s why truck drivers must ensure they don’t exceed the set weight limits.
Even if the drivers are simply moving cargo across the same town, they could overload their trucks with too much soil, concrete, furniture, and other materials.
Here are some of the most common dangers posed by an overloaded truck:
- Overweight trucks automatically speed up when going downhill. This makes it incredibly hard for the truck driver to apply brakes.
- Overweight cargo has a tendency to shift to the rear, making it more challenging for the truck driver to steer safely. If there is a curb or bump on the road, it can also cause the truck to tilt.
- An overloaded truck can also cause an already-weak road to collapse.
- The heavy weight of the truck can put extreme pressure on the tires, causing a blowout.
- If the overloaded truck is going uphill, it can cause troubles for the driver if the truck is not equipped with sufficient horsepower.
- The center of gravity of an overweight truck can elevate, increasing the risk of rollovers.
The extent and type of truck accident injuries also depend on the cargo that’s been transported. The shipment can spill or become loose and create even more severe issues for bicyclists and pedestrians on the road.
The video below shows a compilation of the top ten overloaded truck accidents.
hHow Helpful are the Checks at Weigh Stations?
Sometimes, the overloaded truck accidents are caused by inexperienced and/or unskilled truck drivers.
In the US, the turnover rate of truck drivers is incredibly high, so the trucking company may hire inexperienced drivers to fill their posts.
To weigh and inspect large commercial trucks, weight stations are set up at state lines and other locations. The checks are usually random, which means most of the overloaded trucks are on the road when the inspections are conducted.
And even if an overloaded truck is identified at a weigh station, it doesn’t necessarily prohibit the truck from returning to the road. Most drivers are generally issued a ticket and sent on their way while some are required to obtain an overweight permit.Role of a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer in Truck Accidents
If you’ve been in a truck accident, never try to handle the legal proceedings on your own. Most trucking companies employ a savvy team of lawyers and experts who will try their best to make it look like you were at fault – even if the accident was caused by an overloaded truck.
You should get in touch with a competent personal injury attorney who will:
- Investigate the accident scene(s) within hours to collect maximum evidence and determine liability
- Consult with truck loading experts
- Review police reports regarding the accident
- Evaluate the truck driver’s record
- Interview witnesses (if any)
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento truck accident lawyer. If you have been injured in an accident caused by an overweight or overloaded truck, you'll need an experienced and proficient personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Call me today for free, friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
I have been representing auto accident victims since 1982. I can help you obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries so you can seek the best medical treatment and get your life back on track.
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