According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, in the United States, an average of 112,000 injuries are caused every year in large trucking accidents. Unfortunately, this number has been steadily increasing every year. While many people assume that drunk driving and overspeeding are the only causes of truck accidents, there are actually many causes of trucking accidents including overloaded trucks with poorly secured cargo. When a truck is overloaded, loaded incorrectly, or overweight, the chances of a serious accident are substantially increased. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by an overloaded truck, learn how a Minnesota truck accident attorney can help you with your case by calling Tyroler Injury Law at 651-259-1113.
Understanding the Dangers of Overloaded Trucks
An overloaded or overweight truck creates more danger on the road than other large commercial vehicles. Overloaded trucks are inherently more prone to accidents even if the truck driver follows other traffic safety rules. Some of the main reasons why an overloaded or overweight truck poses dangers to others on the road include:
Difficult to Control
An overburdened truck with excess cargo or improperly secured cargo creates undue strain on the mechanical components and axles of the truck. This makes it difficult for the truck driver to control the truck and increases the chances of a serious road accident.
Makes Braking Difficult
Overloaded trucks increase the chances of braking errors and braking failures. An overloaded truck requires substantially larger stopping distances. Sometimes, the driver may miscalculate the stopping distance when using the brakes and consequently, rear-end into another vehicle, or causes a multiple-car pile-up.
Uneven Weight Distribution
The cargo on an overloaded truck might have uneven weight distribution. Even weight distribution is essential for the proper and timely functioning of the truck components. Poorly packed cargos or improperly loaded cargos can cause the truck to flip over or jackknife and cause serious injuries and damage to the truck, the driver, or others on the roadway.
The weight of an overloaded truck is especially borne by its tires. An overloaded truck faces the substantial risk of a tire blowout due to the increased weight.
Additional Danger in Unique Circumstances
An overloaded truck is far more difficult to control in poor weather conditions such as fog, rain, and snow. Further, controlling an overloaded truck on a downward slope can put extra pressure on the braking system and lead to brake failure or loss of control. Extra weight on the truck due to overloading may increase the speed of the truck when traveling downhill, leading to an inability to stop in time to avoid an accident.
Greater Rollover Risk
Overweight trucks are more prone to rollover, particularly when rounding curves. When trucks are overloaded, or improperly loaded, the center of gravity shifts and increases the chances of a rollover.
Trucking companies and drivers may be well aware of the practical consequences in terms of the risks and hazards posed by an overloaded truck. Yet in order to cut costs, the driver, trucking company, or loading company may put excess loads on the truck and create danger for other vehicles and pedestrians on the road. If you suffered injuries and losses in an accident caused by an overloaded truck, learn how a Minnesota overloaded and overweight truck accident attorney at Tyroler Injury Law at 651-259-1113 can help you with your case.
Overloaded Truck Laws
Federal and state laws set the maximum weight limits and restrictions for commercial trucks. In the state of Minnesota, the legal gross vehicle weight (GVW) cannot generally exceed 80,000 pounds, and trucking companies and owners are required to adhere to these limits. Truck dimensions should also be compliant with the height, weight, and width specifications set by law. Trucking companies, drivers, and owners must also comply with other requirements including load securement, safe loading, and inspections. Further, weigh stations are also set up to do random weight checks at interstates. However, oftentimes, even an overweight truck is allowed to be on the road after the driver is issued a ticket and sent back to the truck. Visiting with an experienced trucking accident attorney at Tyroler Injury Law can help you obtain these records in order to prove that the large commercial truck involved in your accident was overloaded according to the law.
Improperly Loaded Trucks
In addition to overloaded trucks, improperly loaded trucks can also lead to serious accidents and injuries. Even if the cargo load is within the weight limits set by law, improper loading may create safety hazards. For example, spills caused due to poor packaging may create unsafe road conditions for pedestrians and motorcyclists who will travel on the same road. The absence or misuse of a proper restraining device or strap to secure the cargo can also increase the chances of a serious accident. Further, improper loading may also create safety issues at the time of loading and unloading of the truck.
In addition to adhering to the weight limits set by the law, trucking companies, owners, and drivers must also ensure that their trucks are properly loaded, have even weight distribution, and have secured cargo with proper packaging.
Injuries Suffered in Overloaded Truck Accident
Due to their sheer shape and size, commercial trucks pose a greater danger on the road as compared to other vehicles such as cars or bikes. This danger is increased when the truck is overweight and overloaded. Injuries caused by an accident with an overloaded truck can be catastrophic in nature and sometimes, even lead to death.
Some of the injuries caused in an overweight truck accident may include broken and fractured bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, internal organ damage, lacerations, bruising, and cuts. Apart from bodily injuries, overweight trucks can cause great damage to other vehicles and sometimes, comparatively smaller vehicles such as cars and bikes can be a total loss. The effect of these injuries and damage can be life long and can have life-altering consequences.
Determining Liability in an Overloaded Truck Accident
Determining liability in an accident caused by an overloaded truck can be a complex issue as multiple parties may be involved. The trucking company or the truck owner may be held liable if they authorized or approved the carrying of an overloaded cargo on a truck. However, sometimes, truck drivers may out of their own choice ignore the instructions given by their employers and carry excess weight on the truck. Further, third party companies who provide cargo loading and unloading services may also be responsible for improper loading or unsecured cargo.
To hold any of these parties liable for an accident caused by an overweight truck, negligence must be shown. It must be proved that one of these entities (or several entities) compromised the safety of other passengers on the road by allowing the operation of an improperly loaded or overloaded truck on the road. After proving the liability, the victim of an overloaded truck accident may be able to get compensation for both economic and non-economic damages including medical bills, lost wages, loss of future wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Learn How a Minnesota Overloaded Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Proving fault and claiming compensation in an overloaded truck accident can be a legally complex and challenging task. Most trucking companies and owners have access to legal teams and resources to help them in defending themselves against any kind of claim. Further, the involvement of multiple parties and the compilation of evidence can make the process even more difficult. If you suffered injuries in an overloaded truck accident, consider contacting our legal team to learn how a Minnesota overloaded truck accident attorney at Tyroler Law at 651-259-1113 can help you understand your legal rights and ensure they remain protected.