Overloaded and overweight trucks pose a serious danger to drivers throughout the Gainesville area and along the I-75 corridor. Weight and size regulations for trucks are outlined by the Florida Department of Transportation. However, not all trucks abide by these rules, and when drivers or trucking companies choose to break them, the result can be disastrous.
Serious truck accidents can result in severe injuries that can impact accident victims for the rest of their lives. If you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by overloaded or overweight cargo, you should learn about your right to compensation. At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we can investigate your crash and fight to hold the at-fault parties responsible.
Please contact our law firm today to schedule a free consultation, and let us put our experience and resources to work for you.
Dangers Created by Overloaded Trucks
The weight and size of large commercial trucks already amplify the severity of any collisions they are involved in. However, overloading these heavy vehicles only adds to the risk. Take, for example, the fact that:
Trucks are very heavy even when they are not overloaded. This weight makes it more difficult for trucks to stop and takes them longer to do it. When trucks are overloaded, it takes even longer to stop, increasing the chance of a serious accident.
A truck’s tires hold a lot of weight and, as such, are prone to blowouts. It is for this reason that trucking companies must regularly rotate and align their tires. When trucks are overloaded, though, there is even more weight the tires must bear. Often, they simply cannot, and a tire blowout results. Drivers and passengers in surrounding vehicles can become hurt when a truck driver loses control of the truck or if the damaged tire hits their vehicle.
Steering mechanisms within a truck are intricate systems. They are designed to safely guide and control standard weights on a truck. Even when a truck is full to capacity but still within the guidelines, steering and maneuvering the vehicle is difficult. When trucks are overloaded, safely maneuvering the load is almost impossible, as the system simply was not designed to handle it safely.
Brakes in a commercial truck go through a lot of wear and tear. They are essentially for bringing the truck, and its load, to a full stop. When a truck is overloaded, the brakes must work harder to come to a stop. In many cases, it is simply too much for the system and the brakes fail.
Overloaded/Overweight Truck Liability
When an overloaded or overweight truck causes an accident, there is typically someone responsible for the crash. Liability can be difficult to prove in any personal injury claim, but in overloaded and overweight truck accidents, there are sometimes multiple liable parties, making these cases even more complex.
Truck drivers can be held responsible for an overloaded truck if they were the ones who loaded it. If drivers are also responsible for inspecting their truck and making sure it complies with federal and state regulations, and they head out on the road with an overweight truck, they can be held liable for any accident that results.
Trucking companies can also be held liable for an overloaded or overweight truck. This can happen in one of two ways. If the trucking company encouraged their drivers to carry additional weight loads in order to make more profit, they can be held liable. If they were negligent in hiring loading crews or truck drivers, trucking companies can also be held liable for those negligent practices.
Anyone that loaded the truck can also be held responsible for an accident. Those that load and unload commercial trucks are responsible for understanding state and federal regulations, and making sure loads comply with them.
Common Causes of Overloading Accidents
Below are some of the most common causes of overloading accidents:
- Braking distances: When a truck is overloaded, its braking distance is greatly increased. Drivers may not understand this and begin their stop as they usually would. Not realizing there is not enough time, the truck driver will run into whatever is in front of them.
- Rollovers: When cargo is not secured properly, it shifts around in the truck. This shifting weight can cause the driver to lose control and can result in a rollover. When a truck rollover accident occurs, it is disastrous for any vehicles nearby. Due to the fact that maneuvering the truck is also more difficult when it is overloaded, improper handling can also lead to a rollover.
- Jackknifing: When a truck is overloaded, it becomes extremely difficult to maneuver when changing lanes, traveling around a curve, or rounding a corner. When the weight of the cargo cannot keep up with the speed of the cab, the truck will jackknife. Of all truck accidents, these can be some of the worst.
- Structural failures: An overloaded truck does not just put additional pressure on the tires and the braking system. It places more pressure on every part of the truck. This means the structural components of the truck, including the frame, doors, axles, engine mounts, and more can break under the pressure. If that happens, a number of devastating accidents can occur.
These are just a few of the main causes of overloading accidents. Sadly, all of these types of accidents could be prevented if truck drivers, trucking companies, and others responsible for a truck’s operation were focused on safety.
Talk to an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Gainesville Now
At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., we are passionate about standing up for the rights of truck accident victims. We know how to determine the cause of a truck accident and hold drivers and companies accountable for paying victims the full and fair compensation they deserve.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a truck accident, please do not wait to seek legal advice from our trusted Gainesville personal injury lawyers. Contact us today for your free consultation so we can begin reviewing your case.