All vehicles, including trucks, are rated according to how much weight they can safely carry. A truck is overloaded if more weight is placed into the trailer or cargo area than the truck can safely support, such that the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating is exceeded. If a truck is improperly loaded, it can become difficult to turn or accelerate. It also becomes much more difficult to brake when traveling downhill. Tractor-trailers that are improperly loaded present a huge hazard on the road. If you were injured in a collision and suspect the cause was an improperly loaded or overloaded truck or falling debris, you can consult the Syracuse truck accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.Improper Loading
Oftentimes cargo is not adequately secured when it is loaded on a trailer. Items can come loose and hit other vehicles at high speeds. Sometimes they hit a windshield and cause a car to swerve and crash into other cars. In other cases, they may directly strike a pedestrian or motorcyclist or bicyclist. The result can be catastrophic injury or death. Truck drivers are supposed to make sure all of their cargo is adequately secured before they go out on the road, as well as at any stops.
When cargo isn’t properly loaded, it may be overloaded on one side or the other. When trucks are hauling more than what they are allowed to handle, it is harder to stop and more challenging to control than a truck that doesn’t go over weight limits. The truck may become challenging to maneuver, and an accident involving jackknifing may occur. Jackknifing happens when the cab continues to go straight but the trailer swings to the right or left at a right-angle. There is also a very real danger of tipping and rollover. After a truck accident, it is critical to determine whether a truck was overloaded and whether the involved trucking company has a record of overloading trucks in the past. A skilled truck accident lawyer can help you seek out this information in support of your claim.Liability for Overloaded Trucks
Federal and state laws govern truck operations. These laws impose requirements related to loading cargo onto the truck and how it should be secured. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) limits the maximum weight of commercial vehicles to 80,000 pounds. Truck drivers must also abide by rules related to securing and balancing the cargo. There are rules in place to stop loads from shifting during transit and causing the truck to become seriously unbalanced during a turn or when going uphill or downhill.
After a truck crash, it becomes important to examine all potential causes of the accident. There are different parties that may have responsibility for an overloaded truck, including the truck driver and trucking company. To establish the truck driver’s negligence for an overloaded truck, you will need to show: (1) the truck driver owed you a duty of care, (2) breach of duty, (3) causation, and (4) damages.
A trucking company may be held responsible for an overloaded truck as well. Whether the trucking company has past overweight violations can bear on its liability. Likewise, a third party loader’s negligence can be a contributing factor in a truck accident. Often there are multiple victims in a large truck accident involving improper loading, all of whom may have claims against the truck driver’s insurance. It is critical to bring all potentially responsible parties into the lawsuit in order to improve your chances of recovering adequate compensation.Retain a Truck Accident Attorney in Syracuse
If you were harmed in a Syracuse truck accident due to improper loading, you may be able to sue for damages. It is advisable to talk to an experienced trial lawyer about whether you have a viable truck accident claim. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents truck accident victims in Syracuse, Rochester, and across Upstate New York, including in Canandaigua, Ithaca, Binghamton, Cooperstown, Auburn, Lyons, Herkimer, Elmira, Wampsville, Utica, Oneida, Lowville, Oswego, and Watertown. Call our firm at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.