Have you or someone you love been injured in a truck accident in which the truck was overloaded? You may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Burg Simpson for free guidance about your case.

If you or a member of your family were injured in an accident caused by an overloaded commercial truck, you probably have a lot of questions about where to turn for help and what you should do next. The overloaded truck accident lawyers at Burg Simpson know that you are under a great deal of emotional and physical pain, both of which are being aggravated by economic losses and other financial hardships.

Commercial Truck Weight Regulations

Pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations, some commercial trucks weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. In contrast, a standard passenger car weighs about 4,000 pounds. The discrepancy in weight between passenger cars and commercial trucks makes accidents involving both particularly treacherous and even catastrophic for the passengers and driver in the smaller vehicle.

Federal trucking regulations exist for a reason. The United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration consulted extensively with specialists including data analysts, scientists, safety and transportation professionals, and legal experts in their development of the trucking rules and regulations.

Truck drivers undergo hours of professional training. They are expected to obey the rules and regulations that were enacted by the numerous professionals listed above and show due care in ensuring the safety of others on the roadway. If the truck operator or trucking company disregards these rules and regulations, they could be liable for damages should an accident occur.

The Burg Simpson overloaded truck accident lawyers focus specifically on accidents involving commercial trucks. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience in seeing successful outcomes in lawsuits against prominent transportation companies. Our truck accident attorneys are familiar with all trucking laws and are dedicated to the aggressive pursuit of justice and financial compensation our clients deserve. Additionally, we never collect any fees unless we win your case. Call us for a free case evaluation today. Our truck accident lawyers here at Burg Simpson will review the facts of your truck accident case and advise you on the best way forward.

What are the Dangers of an Overloaded Truck?

The most common dangers caused by an overloaded truck are:

Difficulties With Steering

Trucks with poorly loaded freight or trucks that surpass federally mandated weight restrictions will almost certainly feel the effects in the way the vehicle handles. Uneven cargo distribution combined with the excessive weight of the truck itself will make the vehicle wobbly and hard to control, increasing the likelihood of a serious truck accident.

Improperly distributed weight or a disproportionate amount of freight will also make the truck prone to tipping over when attempting to execute a tight corner or turn. A truck that is overloaded is much more likely to have cargo that can fall, resulting in an accident. Overweight commercial trucks are also more vulnerable to various issues like loss of steering control, tire blowouts, and rollover accidents.

Braking Problems

When a truck is carrying a lot of extra weight, the length of time it needs to come to a full and complete stop increases. It also puts an additional strain on the brakes. When a truck’s brakes wear unevenly, brake failure can take place because of the increased friction caused by the overloading.

In addition to this, a truck that is overloaded will travel down a grade much quicker than usual, which means it will need additional braking power to come to a stop. If a truck’s payload is improperly loaded or overloaded, the operator can easily miscalculate the time and distance needed to bring his vehicle safely to a full stop. When the operator does depress the air brake, it might already be too late to avoid a serious truck crash.

Mechanical Failures

Overloading trucks with additional freight weight takes a heavy toll on the truck’s parts due to overexertion and strain. This overworking of the vehicle’s mechanical systems could cause it to break down prematurely before the truck operator or truck company expects it to. Similarly, a truck’s motorized parts might not be up to snuff, resulting in inefficient and potentially hazardous performance.

Jackknife Accidents

When a commercial truck is improperly loaded or overloaded, the odds of the freight inside shifting and moving around are quite high. When loose freight moves about inside the trailer, the truck's weight is unbalanced, and the possibility of a jackknife accident increases exponentially. A tractor-trailer comprises the front portion where the cab and engine are located, and the back portion consists of the trailer where the freight is stored. A truck jackknife accident occurs when the cab and trailer of a truck are no longer moving in tandem with one another, and the trailer swings out from behind the cab at a 90-degree angle. When trucks jackknife, they can easily overturn, or when the trailer swings out, it could cross several lanes of traffic, crashing into other vehicles and even pedestrians and fixed objects.

Inclement Weather

Bad weather conditions, such as snow, rain, sleet, ice, fog, hail, and high wind speeds can cause driving conditions to be dangerous for everyone. Commercial trucks are particularly susceptible to inclement weather conditions due to their immense size. Since commercial trucks are more challenging to slow down, turn, stop, and accelerate than a basic passenger vehicle, overloading freight only makes these standard driving maneuvers even more difficult and dangerous.

Tire Blowouts

When a truck is overburdened with cargo or that cargo moves around because it is improperly secured, the weight of the entire vehicle shifts, and it becomes unsafe. This lack of stability puts an enormous amount of pressure on the truck’s tires that it was not designed to bear. In these situations, a tire blowout is often the result.

Common Injuries Caused by Overloaded Truck Accidents

An overloaded truck is a serious threat to not only the truck operator but to everyone else around it as well. The injuries that are commonly sustained in an overloaded truck accident are usually life-changing and devastating, both mentally and physically.

The most common injuries caused by overloaded truck accidents include:

  • Fractured and broken bones
  • Torn ligaments and muscles
  • Contusions and lacerations
  • Damage to internal organs and internal bleeding
  • Head injuries, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries
  • Third and fourth-degree burns
  • Involuntary amputations
  • Neck injuries and whiplash
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Paraplegia and quadriplegia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Wrongful death

If you were injured in a truck accident and you suspect that overloaded cargo may have played a role, an overloaded truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson can help you protect your right to financial compensation.

Who Is Responsible for My Overloaded Truck Accident?

In order to establish liability for your overloaded truck accident, you will have to prove that the other party was negligent in some way.

To be viable, a personal injury claim must prove negligence, meaning the following four elements were present when the accident took place:

  • Duty: The truck driver owed the victim a duty of care, in this case, by not operating an overloaded or overweight commercial truck
  • Violation: The truck operator violated their duty by operating an overweight or overloaded commercial truck
  • Causation: The truck operator’s violation of duty contributed to or caused the victim’s trucking accident
  • Damages: The victim sustained injuries or other damages due to the accident

Unlike most motor vehicle accidents, there might be more than one party deemed liable for a trucking accident due to negligent loading practices. Some potentially liable parties for an overloaded truck accident are:

The Truck Driver

Commercial truck drivers are considered professionals in their industry and, as such, are held to certain standards. They are beholden to the numerous regulations and rules set forth by the FMCSA. They also have a duty to adhere to the protocols set in place to ensure that their trucks are safe to operate. A truck driver is the one who is ultimately responsible for keeping tabs on the weight of their vehicle and the securement of its payload.

Trucking Companies

Trucking companies can also be liable for an accident. Since it is the trucker’s employer, the trucking company can be held liable or share in the liability for overloaded truck accidents. The laws governing vicarious liability vary from state to state. In order to accurately determine who is liable for your trucking accident, talk to an experienced overloaded truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson today.

The Freight Loading Company

It is not uncommon for a third party to be contracted to load the freight onto a commercial truck. If a third-party company incorrectly or erroneously loaded freight onto a truck, they could be partly liable for any accident that took place. A truck that was negligently overloaded by a freight loading company could be attributed to inattention, carelessness, or deliberate overloading designed to speed up the delivery process and boost profits.

Weigh Station Agents and Weigh Stations

You have probably seen signs for truck weigh stations along highways and interstates. These facilities are generally run by each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or Department of Transportation in unison with the highway patrol or state police. Weigh stations act as dragnets for monitoring the weight of commercial trucks to ensure their vehicles are in compliance with federal weight restrictions. Weigh stations exist for the general safety of other drivers and even the roadway itself.

Despite these compulsory check-ins and weighings, there are some truck drivers who will try to circumvent these safety precautions by skipping check-in points and driving along restricted routes.

Additional reasons a truck driver might avoid weigh stations include:

  • Their truck is overweight due to being overloaded
  • Their truck has defective equipment
  • They do not maintain an accurate logbook
  • They have exceeded their consecutive driving time

In some instances, a weigh station agent might discover that a driver’s truck is overweight, but instead of reporting it, they let it slide and allow the driver to carry on, endangering every single person on the roadway.

How Do I Show That an Overloaded Truck Caused My Accident?

In order to be eligible for financial compensation following an overloaded truck accident, you will have to prove that the trucking company or the truck driver failed to load the freight in the trailer according to protocol. You need to show that the freight was improperly secured, unsecured, or that the cargo’s weight exceeded the maximum allowable weight for the vehicle.

The Black Box

Event data recorders, colloquially known as "black boxes", have been installed in almost all commercial trucks that were manufactured after 2000. Black boxes are waterproof, fireproof, and crushproof. They electronically log all of the driver's activity and record other bits of important information as well. Should an accident occur, details recorded by the black box can serve to verify that the vehicle was negligently overloaded.

Some of the details recorded by black boxes include:

  • The speed at which the truck was moving when the accident took place
  • If the vehicle's cruise control was in use
  • The mechanical condition of the truck when the accident took place
  • The tire pressure
  • The position of the steering wheel and the tires when the accident took place
  • Whether or not the truck operator stopped abruptly and the degree of force they applied to the brakes
  • The truck’s total mileage and mileage for the individual trip
  • How long the truck has been consecutively on the road

Most black boxes store data for 30 days. Older models store it for even less. To successfully prove the truck that caused your accident was overloaded, it is vital that the data from the black box be collected and analyzed. A skilled overloaded truck accident lawyer will know what steps to take in order to ensure that data is preserved.

Call the Law Firm of Burg Simpson Today

The economic difficulties that are experienced by trucking accident victims tend to be substantial. To help alleviate an overwhelming situation, no truck accident lawyer from Burg Simpson will ever ask you to pay anything out-of-pocket. If you were injured in an overloaded truck accident or any other kind of trucking accident, we will put forth the resources up front to help you pursue the maximum amount of financial compensation for your injuries and other damages pursuant to the laws of your state.

You will only pay our fee if we win your case. To schedule your free case review, speak with a personal injury accident lawyer by calling (888) 895-2080 or by filling out our contact form online.
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