Did A Big Rig Cause You To Crash? Speak To Us.
Tractor-trailers are designed to carry more massive loads than other vehicles, but they can still be overloaded. When large commercial trucks are carrying too much weight, it can lead to deadly accidents, which usually injure others on the roadways – not the truck driver. When an overloaded semi weighing in excess of 80,000 pounds collides with a 3,000-pound passenger vehicle, the passenger vehicle occupants are likely to suffer serious injuries or death.
What Is An Overloaded Truck?
Truck weight standards are based on a blend of federal and state laws and regulations. The Federal Highway Administration controls maximum vehicle weights and axle loads on interstate highways. The federal limits are:
- 80,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight
- 20,000 lbs. on a single axle
- 34,000 lbs. on a tandem axle group
How Do Overloaded Trucks Cause Accidents?
- Overloaded rigs are more prone to brake failure and tire blowouts. More weight means more strain on brakes, the engine and tires, which can lead to equipment failure.
- More weight requires longer braking distances. When an overloaded semi is traveling at higher speeds, the required stopping distances increase, along with the likelihood of a catastrophic rear-end collision with a passenger vehicle.
- Excess weight means a greater force of impact in a crash. When an overloaded truck hits a passenger vehicle, the momentum can mean catastrophic or fatal injuries for passenger vehicle occupants.
- Trucks are already more susceptible to rollovers. When a truck is overloaded, the cargo is more likely to shift, causing improper load distribution and increasing the risk of a rollover.
- Cargo in overloaded trucks may not be properly secured. This can lead to items falling off the truck, creating a deadly obstacle course for other vehicles on the road.
- Excess weight can lead to loss of control of the vehicle. When a truck is overloaded and the load is not properly balanced, it can cause the trucker to lose control while changing lanes or executing turns.
Who Is Liable For Injuries In An Accident Caused By An Overloaded Truck?
There may be several potentially liable parties in an overloaded truck crash. Truck drivers are responsible for ensuring their loads meet all transportation requirements and maximum load capacities are not exceeded. The trucking company or employer may be at fault if it knowingly allowed or encouraged overloading for the purpose of transporting more cargo in fewer miles or negligently hired or retained the driver.
Why You Need A Lawyer
Truck drivers and trucking companies are required by federal regulations to keep meticulous records of truck inspections and maintenance and the weights of the loads they carry. Trucking companies have been known to destroy or alter evidence after an accident in an attempt to avoid liability. If you have been seriously injured in a crash with an overloaded truck, it is critical to speak with an attorney as soon as possible at Pendergast Law. Our Seattle personal injury lawyers can thoroughly investigate your truck accident, determine fault and liability, and secure and preserve evidence to support your claim. We can negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, and fight for your rights in court, if necessary.
Mr. Pendergast, our founding attorney, is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He has been rated 10.0 Superb on Avvo and named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers. We offer a free initial consultation and handle our cases on a contingency fee-basis, which means you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you.