Whether you are traveling the interstates or state roads, odds are you will encounter an overloaded truck on the majority of your trips.
Trucks carrying legal weight limits are dangerous enough, but overloaded trucks are true menaces on the road. Such accidents are responsible for thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of serious injuries annually.
If a victim of an overloaded truck accident survives the collision, their life is changed irrevocably. A Louisville trucking attorney specializing in overloaded truck accidents can help such victims recover damages for their injuries.
Trucks are designed for a specific weight load. When the trucking company ignores those specifications, the vehicle is stressed and accidents are much more likely. Common causes of overloaded truck accidents include:
- Tire blowouts – excess weight on the tires can lead to blowout, which in turn causes the driver to lose control of the truck
- Jackknifing – sudden stops easily cause overloaded truck jackknifing
- Rollovers – also common with sudden stops
- Inability to stop – the excess weight on an overloaded truck impairs its ability to stop as quickly as necessary. This may result in an overloaded truck plowing into stopped or slow-moving vehicles. In a worst-case scenario, this type of crash causes a chain reaction, injuring or killing many people in various vehicles
- Improperly secured cargo – Poorly secured items may fly out of the truck, crashing into other vehicles.
When traveling on the interstate highway system, trucks must follow federal regulations for weight. States may set individual standards for vehicles not using the interstate highway system. Current maximum federal weight standards include:
- Single axle – 20,000 pounds
- Tandem axle – 34,000 pounds
- Gross vehicle weight (GVW) – 80,000 pounds
Any truck weighing more than 80,000 pounds is overloaded.
Drivers are required to weigh in at weigh stations en route, as well as keep scrupulous records of vehicle weight. In Louisville, Kentucky, trucks with a GVW of 10,000 pounds or more must stop at weigh stations. That also holds true for vehicles transporting agricultural products.
Some drivers avoid weigh stations if they know or suspect their truck is overloaded. Even if the weigh station finds the truck overloaded, drivers are not always required to lighten their cargo – they may instead receive a ticket.
Reasons for Overloaded Trucks
Drivers and trucking companies do not have good reasons to overload vehicles. Trucks are generally overloaded for one of two purposes: either the trucking company is more concerned with profits than safety, or the driver wants to get to the destination faster with a larger load.
How an Accident Attorney Can Help
Overloaded truck accident victims often suffer life-changing, catastrophic injuries. Louisville attorneys help their clients during this difficult time by thoroughly investigating the crash circumstances and determining the responsible parties. It is imperative to establish that the truck was indeed overloaded.
In an overloaded truck accident, liability extends not only to the driver and trucking company, but to the entity that overloaded the cargo.
If you or a loved one is the victim of an overloaded truck accident in Louisville, you need the services of a personal injury lawyer specializing in truck accidents. Call a skilled accident attorney today.