Overweight and Overloaded Trucks
Companies usually use commercial trucks to transport goods in a quick and cost-effective manner. Commercial trucks, therefore, are usually substantially heavier than other vehicles on the road. When a commercial truck is too heavy, or improperly loaded this can increase the risk of an accident or injury to the public or to the persons unloading the truck. Accidents involving overweight and overloaded trucks may cause critical injuries that alter the victims’ lives. If you were injured in an accident involving an overweight or overloaded truck, it is essential to speak to an attorney to discuss the damages that you may be able to pursue. The assertive Gainesville truck accident lawyers at Cook Law Group have ample experience representing injured people in cases against truck drivers and the companies that employ them, and we will zealously pursue the full amount of compensation that you may be able to recover under the law.State and Federal Limitations on Truck Weights
State laws and federal regulations limit the permissible weight of commercial trucks. Typically, weight limits vary based on a truck’s length and the number of axles. Generally, the maximum permissible weight of any truck traveling on state or interstate roads is 80,000 pounds. Permits that allow a truck to exceed the weight limits may be granted in certain circumstances, however. Truck drivers frequently must stop and weigh their trucks to ensure that their trucks’ weights are within the legal limits. Notably, even trucks that fall within the legal weight limits may be barred from traveling on certain roads.
Additionally, certain cargo must be loaded and secured in a way so that it will not shift or fall during transport or during unloading. Sometimes load securement is the responsibility of the driver; sometimes it is the responsibility of the shipper. Our firm recently handled an improper loading case that resulted in the death of our client. That case resulted in a $6 million verdict which was the largest jury verdict ever in the county where it was tried.Proving That an Overweight or Improperly Loaded Truck Caused an Accident
Laws and regulations establishing maximum truck weights are meant to reduce the risk of harm, since overweight and overloaded trucks are among the primary causes of accidents involving trucks. When a commercial truck exceeds the weight limits, this can reduce the truck driver’s ability to stop or control the truck, which often leads to a collision. Additionally, improperly loaded trailers with unevenly distributed weight in a truck’s trailer increases the risk of the trailer tipping over. In many cases, excessive weight can put extra strain on a truck’s tires, which can lead to accidents caused by blowouts. When a driver operating a truck that exceeds the permitted weight causes an accident, anyone injured in the accident can pursue claims against the truck driver. Usually, a plaintiff in a lawsuit arising out of an accident caused by an overweight or overloaded truck will allege that the truck’s driver was negligent.
In Georgia, a plaintiff alleging that a defendant acted negligently must prove each element of negligence to recover damages. In other words, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty, but the defendant breached the duty. In cases involving overweight trucks, the duty owed is typically the duty to ensure that a truck’s weight complies with the limits. The plaintiff must then show that the defendant’s breach of the duty owed caused the accident and that the plaintiff suffered measurable damages as a result of the accident.
Usually, the plaintiff will be able to obtain evidence regarding a truck’s weight at the time of the accident to show that the truck exceeded the weight limit, but the plaintiff may need to retain an accident reconstructionist to demonstrate that the excess weight caused the accident. In cases in which a truck driver who was involved in an accident was driving the truck as an employee of the company that owned the truck, the plaintiff may also be able to pursue claims against the driver’s employer.Meet with a Knowledgeable Gainesville Attorney
Commercial trucks that are overweight or overloaded pose a significant risk of harm to everyone on the road. If you were injured in an accident caused by a truck that was overweight, it is advisable to meet with an attorney to assess your options. The Gainesville lawyers at Cook Law Group are proficient at handling cases involving overweight and overloaded trucks, and we have the skills and experience to help you seek strong results. We assist people injured in truck accidents in cities such as Gainesville, Albany, Columbus, Savannah, Macon, Augusta, Athens, and Valdosta. You can contact us at 678-928-3899 or through our form online to set up a meeting.