NY Truck Accident Lawyers Investigating Claims of Excessive Truck Loads
Overloaded trucks pose a serious risk to motorists. When a truck is overloaded, it has more momentum, making it harder to stop and more susceptible to a loss of control when swerving to avoid an accident. Overloading can also cause other problems, such as inability to steer and brake failure. Given the speed and weight of commercial trucks on New York’s highways, it is easy to see how an overloaded truck can cause devastating injuries and even death to other motorists.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, our attorneys can investigate your claim to determine whether an excessive load led to your crash. After we determine the cause of the accident, we will work tirelessly to hold the responsible parties accountable and secure the compensation you need to move forward. To receive a FREE evaluation of your claim, fill out the form on this page to speak with us.
Trucking Laws: Excessive Loads
To prevent accidents caused by excessive loads, federal trucking laws regulate the following:
- The weight of a truck
- The weight of a truck’s load
- The combined weight of a tractor-trailer and its load
- The weight on the tires
- The weight on each axle
- Weight distribution
Commercial vehicles are subject to weight limits when traveling on certain roads, bridges and overpasses to prevent gradual road damage or immediate collapse. Weigh stations are often positioned along highways and state lines and at checkpoints where trucks are inspected and weighed. Weigh station employees will check for overweight trucks, illegal or falsely reported loads and compliance with hours of service regulations. Discovering an overloaded truck does not necessarily mean the vehicle will be taken off the road. In some instances, the driver will be given a ticket and allowed to continue the trip. Some drivers will be detained until a permit for an excessive load is issued.
Overloaded Trucks and New York Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Overloaded trucks carry a variety of risks that can cause tractor-trailer accidents. For example:
- If a truck is overloaded, unnecessary pressure will be placed on the tires, which can burst as a result.
- Overloaded trucks travel uphill at a very slow pace and present a hazard to approaching cars on blind corners.
- Heavy trucks traveling downhill will gain momentum and may have difficulty stopping in time to prevent an accident.
- Overloaded trucks are more susceptible to rollovers and may become difficult to steer.
- Overloaded cargo may shift during transit and cause the load to become imbalanced. Imbalanced loads put excess strain on a single axle, causing problems with steering and balance. This situation can lead to serious accidents involving rollovers, often affecting multiple vehicles.
Regardless of specific cause, these heavy truck accidents are often devastating to others on the road. According to 2016 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), crashes involving commercial trucks caused 116,000 injuries and 4,067 fatalities nationwide. When truck drivers and their employers skimp on safety, everyone on the road suffers.
Who Is Responsible for Overloaded Trucks?
The scene of a serious truck accident can be chaotic, and those involved may have difficulty determining exactly what chain of events caused the accident. In collisions involving overweight trucks, it takes a thorough investigation to determine who is responsible. Parties that may be held liable include:
- The truck driver – Generally, drivers are required to inspect their loads to ensure that they do not exceed the maximum permissible weight. Additionally, they are responsible for making sure that loads are properly secured and evenly distributed.
- The trucking company – While drivers are ultimately responsible for an overloaded truck, other parties may share the blame. Companies that employ truck drivers often share liability when one of their trucks causes an accident. Trucking companies and truck loading companies can be held accountable when an overloaded truck causes injury or death to another motorist.
- Other motorists – While heavy trucks pose a serious threat on the road, they are not always the sole cause of related accidents. Other motorists who violate traffic regulations or fail to take adequate precautions may contribute to the accident. If that is the case, those injured in an accident may be able to bring a claim for damages.
- It is also worth noting that The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) operates weigh-in-motion sensors and temporary weigh stations at rest stops to identify overweight trucks on the road. There are instances when a weigh station official allows an overweight truck to continue travel. An experienced truck accident attorney can tactically use this to your advantage if you are a truck accident victim.
Seeking Compensation After an Overweight Truck Accident
The weight of large trucks puts other motorists at a grave disadvantage in the event of a crash. According to NHTSA, 74 percent of fatalities caused by large trucks in 2016 were occupants of passenger vehicles. To make matters worse, negligent truck drivers have resources that everyday motorists do not. While those who have been injured in a truck accident are being rushed to the hospital, the trucking company and its insurers are already at the scene of the crash, gathering evidence and building a case to deny adequate compensation to survivors.
After an accident with a large vehicle, it is essential to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. The sooner your lawyer launches an investigation, the more level your legal playing field. At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we draw on extensive experience and a record of favorable results to hold trucking companies accountable and pursue the financial damages our clients deserve.
Call for a Free Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, it’s important to contact a lawyer who can represent your claim and protect your legal rights. These cases are typically more complex than those involving only passenger vehicles because they require knowledge of the trucking industry’s special rules and regulations, such as weight limits. In addition, the damage caused by tractor-trailers and big rigs can be particularly devastating. It is vital that those who have been affected by a trucking collision work with attorneys experienced in high-stakes personal injury matters.
At Block O’Toole & Murphy, we have had success recovering compensation for victims of serious accidents. We have attained more results exceeding $1 million than any other law firm in New York, and our attorneys have the compassion and experience to handle your case. To speak with a lawyer, fill out our FREE case review form. From our convenient location across from Penn Station, we serve clients in Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and all of New York City and New York state.