A truck's cargo weight limit is determined by the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) derived by calculations of brake, powertrain, frame and suspension limitations. A large percentage of semi-trucks on US roads and highways are a union of a tractor and a trailer that have never been rigged together. Accurately determining the GVWR is not easy if at all possible. In many cases the tractor is independently owned by the driver and the trailer is consigned by a different company. The driver, motivated more by making a paycheck than by safety, signs some papers, hooks up the trailer and pulls away, not knowing if the load is too heavy or off balance. Once on the highway, the driver may feel the equipment straining on a hill but turning back is rarely an option. There are weigh stations on major interstate roads that are placed strategically for the sole purpose of identifying overloaded trucks, but these stations are often closed. If a truck is checked and found to be overweight, it is a common practice for a DOT or State Police inspector to issue a ticket to the driver and send him and his dangerous load on their way. Once the driver reaches his destination, the trailer may be disconnected and left at a transfer station for a local driver to pull into an urban location. This local truck may be even less equipped to pull a load of that weight.
Hazards Associated with an Overweight Truck
Tractor trailers are inherently dangerous to other vehicles on the road, but an improperly loaded truck poses a much greater risk. An overloaded 18 wheeler is operating with strained equipment such as its brakes, frame, suspension, steering and tires. An overweight truck requires a greater stopping distance especially when traveling downhill. The truck is prone to jackknifing especially on wet road surfaces. An off balance trailer can easily turnover on a curve or while swerving to avoid a collision. Overloaded trailers have been known to buckle in the middle and split open. Often the driver is not aware of the overweight situation until the truck does not properly respond when corrective driving measures are initiated.
Shifting the Blame
The results of an overloaded tractor trailer losing control and striking other vehicles are often devastating; resulting is serious injuries and loss of life. It takes an experienced truck accident attorney to determine exactly what happened and who is culpable. When there are multiple parties involved it can become convoluted. The driver will often blame the consignor for improperly loading the trailer. The consignor will blame the driver for accepting the load without verifying its weight. There may even be a third company whose employees actually loaded the trailer after it was dropped off at their dock by the trucking company. Then there is the possibility of defects in the manufacturing of the trailer or a poorly maintained tractor cab.
Determining Negligence in an Overweight Truck Crash
The trucking company will have a powerful and highly experienced legal team defending their clients in truck accident cases. The independent trucker will fight hard to defend his reputation and lively hood and his insurance company will fight vehemently at his side. The experienced truck accident attorney will know how to deflect the finger pointing and peel away the layers of blame, getting to the real facts in the case. He or she will have the resources necessary to retain an accident reconstruction firm to recreate the scenario leading up to and through the event. For the injured party with an inexperienced attorney, the temptation to settle for less than the true value of the case will be great.
If you or someone you care about was injured or a life was lost due to a truck accident, you need to be represented by an experienced truck accident attorney. The attorney will know true compensatory value of your case and will have the skill and resources to recover what you truly deserve. The attorney’s investigative team will check the records of weigh stations, service records, log books and police reports for any evidence that could be pertinent. If the evidence exists, diligence will produce it.
Dolman Law Group has successfully represented victims of truck accidents and their families. Our truck accident attorneys are ready to fight tenaciously to ensure that you get the maximum amount possible for your medical bills, lost income as well as pain and suffering. If a life was lost due to a truck accident a wrongful death claim could be successful. Contact the truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group today for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712