U.S. highways, interstates, and roads are filled with oversized commercial trucks transporting cargo to locations throughout the country. We depend on these oversized vehicles to keep the supply chain moving and to stock our store shelves. Our reliance on semi-trucks and other vehicles designed to carry large loads, however, does not minimize the fact that these vehicles present significant dangers to everyone else on the roads. The sheer size of a commercial truck can spell devastation for any accident it is involved in especially if it’s an overloaded truck. There are also factors that can contribute to the dangers posed by a commercial truck. Proper loading, for instance, is essential to making a large truck as safe as possible.
Unfortunately, overloaded trucks go out onto the open roads each day. With an improper load, these vehicles pose a risk to other drivers and passengers. Crashes resulting from a truck overload can be catastrophic. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by an overloaded truck, do not hesitate to retain dedicated legal counsel as soon as possible. Our team stands up and fights the big commercial truck and insurance companies to help ensure our injured clients receive the monetary compensation to which they are entitled.
Dangers of an Overloaded Truck
Commercial truck companies, drivers included, are under an obligation to comply with strict regulations regarding the cargo they carry on their trucks. This means that they must honor certain weight limitations as well as load the truck properly and secure the cargo. An overloaded or improperly loaded truck can be a fatal hazard. Unfortunately, there are truck companies and drivers that fail to comply with these regulations.
What makes an overloaded truck dangerous? Well, it can make the truck much more difficult to control. More weight means that the truck will require more distance to effectively slow down and come to a stop. Furthermore, an overloaded truck tends to be more top-heavy. A top-heavy vehicle is much more prone to rollover accidents.
The integrity of the truck is also put at risk when overloaded. A heavy load increases the stress on the very mechanical operation of the truck. The truck’s engine, brakes, tires, and more will have to work harder to continue to function safely and effectively. An overly heavy load could easily cause truck parts to break or fail altogether. Truck features designed to restrain cargo may not be designed to safely manage cargo beyond a certain weight limit. It is also important to consider that the truck’s safety features, such as those designed to secure cargo, may not be intended to restrain weight beyond a certain threshold
Types of Accidents Caused by an Overloaded Truck
The dangers posed by an overloaded truck tend to contribute to certain types of accidents, all of which can mean death or serious injury for those involved. Common accidents caused by overloaded trucks include:
- Rollover crashes: Overloading cargo is a major contributor to truck rollover crashes. This is because the oversized load raises the truck’s center of gravity, making it top-heavy. With this type of weight distribution, a turn or any driving maneuver made at higher speeds can lead to the truck rolling over. Other vehicles nearby may be crushed. The truck may collide with other vehicles. There may be a multi-car pileup as cars swerve to avoid the overturned truck.
- Tire blowouts: A truck that is carrying too heavy of a load also greatly increases its chance of a tire blowout. The excessive weight being held by the truck puts increased stress on the tires, increasing the chance of a blowout. When a truck tire blows out, the driver can easily lose control and those cars surrounding the truck are at risk of an impending collision.
- Cargo spills: When a truck is overloaded, the safety restraints meant to keep the cargo in place can be compromised. An overload can also increase the chances of the cargo being improperly loaded. The cargo can become unsecured and, in turn, spill out onto the roadway. When this happens, the truck driver may panic and be dangerously distracted from continuing to safely operate the vehicle. The cargo itself can also pose a risk to other drivers who may be struck by the cargo or swerve to avoid the cargo.
Who Can Be Held Liable?
There are a number of parties who may be held responsible for an overloaded truck accident. The specifics of who can be held liable will vary greatly depending on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the crash. It is critical to identify correctly who can be held liable for an overloaded truck accident as the damages sustained in such a crash can be truly devastating. Injured parties may be able to file a personal injury claim against those responsible for the accident.
Truck drivers do have a responsibility to ensure cargo is properly loaded onto the vehicle and secured accordingly. However, truck companies also have responsibilities to help ensure that trucks are properly loaded. For instance, it is the responsibility of the truck company to see to it that drivers are properly trained in how to safely load cargo onto the truck. In the event that an overloaded truck causes an accident, a truck driver or the truck company may very well be named as a responsible party and, thus, required to properly compensate any accident victims.
Contact Our North Dakota Overloaded Truck Accident Attorney Today
Being injured in an accident can bring your life to a screeching halt. Let our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys help by rigorously pursuing your legal right to compensation. We take up the fight so that you can focus on getting your health and your life back on track. Proudly serving the people of North Dakota, do not hesitate to contact our office for assistance.