An overloaded truck is a safety hazard to both the driver and other motorists sharing the road. Due to a semi-truck’s sheer size and weight, overloaded truck accidents can cause devastating injuries for those involved. New York State and federal laws impose strict weight restrictions to prevent trucks from being loaded beyond their capacity before getting on the road. Unfortunately, not all trucking companies and drivers adhere to weight restrictions, which can result in tragic accidents.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an overloaded truck accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the injuries you’ve incurred as a result of the accident. Cellino Law focuses on meeting the needs of people injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you have questions about a Buffalo overloaded truck accident, take advantage of our free case evaluation to discuss your legal options with an experienced lawyer today.
Call us at (800) 555-5555 to schedule your free consultation and find out how we can help you.
Why Overloaded Trucks Are So Dangerous on Roads
Trucks are designed to carry various types of loads, usually much heavier than the average vehicle. Each type of truck has different size and weight restrictions so that it can function properly and deliver the goods in a safe way. Overloading a truck places a strain on the vehicle’s components beyond their design parameters.
When a truck’s load exceeds the legal weight limits, the vehicle is no longer road safe for the following reasons:
- Overloaded trucks place excess pressure on the tires and can cause them to burst or blowout
- Overloaded trucks can cause brake mechanisms to fail especially on downward slopes
- When an overloaded truck gains momentum, excess weight capacity can make it difficult to stop the vehicle in time
- Overloaded trucks have a higher risk of rollover due to their higher center of gravity
- An overloaded truck can put excess strain on the axle making it difficult to steer and control
- Overloaded cargo may shift during transit and cause the load to become imbalanced and tip over
New York Truck Weight Laws
New York imposes weight regulations for commercial trucks to protect motorists and the roadways of the state. Commercial trucks are subject to weight limits when traveling on certain roads, highway overpasses, or bridges.
Both federal and state laws set various limits for the weights of vehicles based on the following:
- Size of the truck
- Weight of the truck and/or trailer
- Weight of the truck’s load
- Weight applied on each tire
- Weight applied on the axel(s)
- Type of fuel used
New York’s weight restriction laws
New York’s weight restrictions for commercial trucks include the following:
- Any one wheel – 11,200 lb
- Single axle – 20,000 lb on Interstate highways
- Single axle – 22,400 lb on non-Interstate highways
- Any two axles – 34,000 lb on Interstate highways
- Any two axles – 36,000 lb on non-Interstate highways
- Three or more axles – 80,000 lb
New York weigh stations
Checkpoints called weigh stations are set up on highways to inspect and monitor the weight of a truck to ensure that it meets the safety criteria that each state has in place for its road system. Since each state may have different laws regulating the weight of trucks, weigh stations are often located in ports of entry near state borders.
Truck Cargo Securement Laws
An overweight or improperly loaded cargo compromises the mechanical integrity of the truck and can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates cargo securement by imposing strict requirements for loading and securing a truck’s cargo.
Trucking companies and drivers must ensure their cargo is loaded and secured in a manner that prevents the shipment from leaking, spilling, or falling from the truck. Although the loading of the cargo may be done by a different party, a driver should perform pre-trip inspection checks to make sure of the following:
- The cargo is properly distributed and secure
- All tie-downs and securement devices are fastened correctly (chains, straps, and tarps)
- The truck driver has clear visibility on all sides of the vehicle
Types of Accidents Caused by Overloaded Trucks
Overloaded trucks pose a high risk for motorists sharing the road. There are different types of accidents that can occur from a truck being loaded with cargo beyond the weight limits. Often these collisions are very serious and cause much havoc for all involved.
Displace cargo or spill accidents
Overburdened and improperly loaded cargo may cause the weight to shift and sway. If the cargo becomes displaced, it may throw the truck off balance and cause it to roll over. Overloaded cargo may spill onto the road or other vehicles.
Overloaded trucks may have a higher center of gravity which means they are at a greater risk of rollover. If a driver of an overloaded truck turns too quickly or misjudges the turn on a curved road, the truck may become unbalanced and start to sway or roll over. A rollover crash can be deadly for the driver and other motorists on the road.
When an unsecured and overburdened truck load moves around, the shift of weight can cause the truck to become unstable. If a truck has two separate parts, such as a semi-truck, the attached trailer may swing out and fold into itself. This is referred to as a jackknife accident and can happen when the attached trailer is out of control and swings around, sometimes into oncoming traffic.
Tire blowout accidents
The excess weight placed on a tire may cause it to blow out, causing the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and the attached cargo.
An overloaded truck can take much more time to slow down due to the momentum it picks up as it travels. A rear-end collision can occur when a truck driver is unable to stop in time and may even cause a multiple car pileup.
Who is Liable for an Overloaded Truck Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of the incident, there may be multiple parties involved in the crash that could be held liable for the damages. Generally, there are many different people that come into contact with the truck and its cargo before it gets on the road, so there may be more than one party held liable in the event of an accident.
Potentially liable parties for an overloaded truck accident may include:
- The truck driver
- The truck owner
- The trucking company
- The truck maintenance company
- The shipping and cargo loading company
- The truck parts manufacturer
- The freight broker
- Another driver involved in the accident
Why You Should Hire an Overloaded Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are often a result of negligence, so a thorough investigation is required to determine the involved party’s legal responsibility and whether they breached their duty of care. But this is hardly easy.
Truck accident victims who have suffered serious injury may be up against large trucking companies and their lawyers. This can be overwhelming for the victim since trucking companies often have a deeper understanding about the laws and regulations governing truck accidents and they also know how to get around them.
Hiring a qualified overloaded truck collision lawyer, though, can give you the confidence that you have the law on your side.
Cellino Law’s overloaded truck accident lawyers have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly investigate your case and defend your rights. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the trucking industry’s unique rules and regulations, and we know what evidence to gather to build a strong case for you. If you hire us to represent you, we can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and fight for your rights in court, if necessary.
Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers for Legal Advice You Can Trust
Cellino Law provides Buffalo residents with access to experienced legal professionals who know how to handle personal injury litigation in the right way. Although we cannot undo the damage caused by a tragic truck accident, our legal team fights hard to seek justice for accident victims and their families. We have recovered over $2 billion in compensation for our clients, helping them to get back on track and move on with their lives.
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, let our team of experienced personal injury attorneys help you to recover the maximum compensation you deserve for your injuries, financial losses, and pain and suffering. Schedule a visit with one of our award-winning personal injury lawyers and we can arrange a time to come meet you.
Call us at (800) 555-5555 to schedule your free consultation today.