The trucking industry plays an important role in delivering goods across the country, and large trucks are a common sight on New York roads and highways. When coming across a large truck, we often assume that the proper attention and care has been taken to ensure it is safely loaded. After all, such an extensive, expansive industry has many regulatory organizations in place to enforce safety laws and regulations.
However, accidents caused by overloaded trucks may be more common than you may expect. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an overloaded truck, you personally understand the impact these accidents can cause.
You may feel overwhelmed by your situation. In most cases, truck accidents lead to serious injuries and have a substantial impact on a person’s ability to work and provide for family members. A victim may especially be concerned with recovering fair compensation for losses suffered.
For over 60 years, injured New Yorkers have trusted our legal team at Cellino Law to make a difference in their case. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the level of attention, care, and experience they deserve. Schedule a free consultation today at 800-555-5555 to learn how we can help you and your family after a truck accident.
What Are the Risks of an Overloaded Truck?
In an effort to reduce the risk overweight trucks pose on the road, truck weigh stations are set up across the country. Any truck over 10,000 pounds is legally required to stop when these stations are open. Unfortunately, they are not always open, leaving many trucks to pass through unchecked.
Weight requirements exist for a reason – when a truck is overloaded, this increases the likelihood of a dangerous accident.
Due to their design and nature, large trucks naturally have a higher risk of experiencing a rollover. They often carry heavy loads and have a much higher center of gravity than a regular passenger vehicle.
When momentum shifts, such as during a turn or a sudden movement, large trucks are especially prone to a rollover. This increased risk becomes even higher if the truck is overloaded. Not only does the additional cargo add to the weight of the truck, but it can also raise the center of gravity when it is improperly loaded.
When carrying a full load, truck tires are under tremendous weight and pressure. Despite the fact that large trucks use upwards of 18 wheels or so, all it takes is for a single tire to blowout, which can cause a dangerous or potentially fatal crash. A blown tire can make a driver lose control of the truck, becoming a hazard and colliding with other vehicles on the road.
Weight is not the only concern when it comes to an overloaded truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict regulations in place for loading and securing loads. If a truck driver, trucking company, or shipping company is negligent with the cargo, fallen or spilled cargo presents a major risk.
Inability to stop
The stopping distance of a truck mainly depends on two main factors – the weight of the vehicle and the speed at which it is traveling. In fact, doubling the weight doubles the amount of stopping power required to stop a vehicle traveling at the same speed. It stands to reason, then, that the heavier a truck, the harder it would be for the driver to make a sudden stop.
In addition to the effect overloaded cargo can have on driving, there is one other important reason for weight limits to be respected: to keep the integrity of the truck’s mechanical parts. This is especially the case when drivers, trucking companies, or shipping companies do this habitually. The dangers of an overloaded truck can have an effect on the truck even when it is not carrying a heavy load.
Over time, crucial mechanical parts, such as brakes, axles, and trailer coupling components can break down and fail, causing an accident. While the FMCSA has regulations in place requiring regular maintenance of commercial vehicles, a history of overloading trucks can cause parts to fail quicker than expected, rendering maintenance insufficient.
What Are the Insurance Requirements for Commercial Vehicles?
The amount of mandatory insurance coverage for commercial vehicles is higher than that of passenger vehicles. For example, the minimum amount of liability coverage for passenger cars is $25,000 bodily injury and $50,000 death for 1 person, or $50,000 bodily injury and $100,000 death for 2 or more people.
For large trucks such as semis, the minimum coverage is much higher, and it depends on the type of cargo being transported. It ranges from $300,000 for household goods to $5,000,000 for hazardous materials. Of course, many transportation companies carry insurance policies that are higher than these mandatory minimums.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help With an Overloaded Truck Accident?
After a truck accident, it may not be immediately obvious what caused the crash. Even if you believe you know who or what was at fault, proving your side of the story may not be as straightforward as expected. One of the primary responsibilities of a personal injury lawyer is to accurately determine who or what was at fault and to ensure that person or party is held accountable for the damages caused. This often includes an extensive investigation, where all relevant evidence is collected and examined and potential witnesses or experts are located and interviewed.
The other primary responsibility of a personal injury lawyer is to take over the communication with the insurance company. Our lawyers know the tricks insurance companies often use to intimidate injury victims or devalue claims. When you have an experienced attorney on your side, you have someone who can fight for you and your family.
What Are Some Common Injuries After an Overloaded Truck Accident?
Since cargo-carrying trucks are much larger than the average passenger vehicle, when an accident involves a large truck, it often results in serious injuries. Our lawyers have helped truck accident victims who suffered a wide range of injuries, including:
- Head and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Spinal injuries
- Neurological damage
If an overloaded truck caused your accident, you may be able to receive full compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages from the accident. Contact one of our personal injury lawyers today for a free case review to learn about your legal options.
How Cellino Law Can Make a Difference For You
If you or a family member has suffered injury or death due to an overloaded truck, we want to help. You deserve a law firm with the experience, resources, and results to back them up. The lawyers at Cellino Law have supervised over $2 billion in total compensation for our clients, including multi-million dollar settlements for victims injured in truck accidents.
For example, our firm won $9.4 million for a man who was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and suffered serious spinal injuries. For another client who suffered severe burns after a tractor-trailer accident, our legal team recovered over $12 million in damages.
The help we offer to injury victims goes beyond financial compensation – during the hardest time of your life, we want to be here to support you and your family and provide the help you need. To learn more about your legal rights and your potential personal injury case, contact us to schedule a free consultation with our team today.