Designed to carry large loads over long stretches, tractor-trailers are heavy, dangerous vehicles that can be difficult to control and are susceptible to rollovers. They can also cause a tremendous amount of damage in accidents, which is why the industry is so heavily regulated.
However, trucking companies don’t always follow the rules. Motivated by their business interests, they sometimes create dangerous conditions for other drivers on the road that can – in the worst-case scenarios – lead to devastating accidents and injuries.
One of the major factors in the seriousness of a big rig accident is the weight of the vehicle. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash with a semi, the truck accident lawyers at Patrick Daniel Law can investigate and build a strong case on your behalf.
Vehicle weight limits were created to protect the highway system. Heavy vehicles cause more wear and tear on roads and highways and pose a danger to the integrity of bridges. As a result, the government stepped in and designated weight limits for commercial vehicles.
The calculations for the limits are complicated, but the conclusion is that the limit for gross vehicle weight should be 80,000 pounds. This includes the trailer as well as the load.
While this rule is enforced with weigh stations along the highway, drivers sometimes get around these stations by avoiding certain roads or simply not passing through the weigh station. If caught, they could face fines and have their license suspended. However, sometimes they aren’t caught until it’s too late.
While the original purpose of weight limits may have been to maintain the integrity of our roads and bridges, this is far from the only reason these weight limits are important. Trucks are designed to carry loads up to a certain limit. Going beyond this limit can increase the risk of vehicle failures that can lead to accidents.
Some of the problems associated with overloaded trucks include:
Overloaded trucks are also more difficult to control, including taking longer to stop. Because of this, an accident that may seem to have been caused purely by driver error may have been caused by the truck being overloaded.
When it is determined that overloading was the cause of an accident, the party or parties responsible for overloading the truck could be held responsible for resulting damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
While overloaded trucks are a significant problem, so are improperly loaded trucks. In these cases, a truck may be within the weight limit, but the load isn’t properly secured.
Many of us have experience loading a piece of furniture or a heavy object into a car or truck. You may use a ratchet strap and a couple of bungee cords, give it a shake, and decide it’s good enough. Fortunately, when it comes to commercial vehicles, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets very specific guidelines for how cargo must be secured.
Since the consequences of improperly loading trucks can be high, the need for complying with these regulations is also high. When a load isn’t properly or adequately secured, it can lead to several hazards, including heavy objects falling from the vehicle, shifting weight that leads to rollovers, and more.
Even something as simple as a piece of tarp or cardboard, if not secured, could cause another driver to swerve off the road and lead to a catastrophic accident.
You should contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after a crash with a big rig. If the truck and trailer are no longer at the scene, your attorney can submit requests to the trucking company to preserve the vehicle and its cargo. Examination of the truck and its contents may reveal that the trailer was overloaded or that objects were improperly secured.
If overloading or improper securement was a factor in the accident, your lawyer can also investigate to determine what party or parties were responsible for loading the truck. You may be entitled to damages from multiple parties if negligence caused the truck to be overweight and/or prone to crash.
While we rely on trucking companies to transport goods across the country, we also rely on them to follow the rules to keep us safe while doing so. Unfortunately, trucking companies have been known to break these rules time and again, putting their business interests above the safety and well-being of other drivers on the road.
If you believe this was the cause of your accident, the truck accident lawyers at Patrick Daniel Law are here to hold the negligent parties accountable. Our mission is to bear the legal burden and help you recover the compensation you deserve for your damages while allowing you to focus on getting better.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law today at (713) 999-6666 for a free case review. Our truck accident lawyers serve clients in Houston, all of Texas, and nationwide.