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Overloaded Trucks

Overloaded and Overweight Truck Accidents

Washington, DC Truck Accident Lawyers

Whether you realize it or not, truck accidents aren't always caused by unsafe driving; they can be the result of overloaded trucks as well . Obviously, when a truck is too heavy it has more momentum, making it more difficult to stop and more likely to go out of control when swerving to avoid an accident. Overloading can cause other problems with the truck, such as brake failure or inability to steer.

Truck weight and the law

Trucking laws dictate how much weight a commercial truck can carry, how heavy the truck itself can be, the combined weight of a truck and its load, weight on each axle and weight on the tires. The amount of weight is not the only factor. Distribution of the weight also affects the handling of the truck and is governed by these laws. Roads, bridges and overpasses often have a maximum weight limit for vehicles which travel on them to prevent damage over time or immediate collapse.

Weigh stations are set up along highways, at state lines and other intervals, and at checkpoints where commercial vehicles are weighed and inspected. Weigh stations check for overweight loads, illegal or falsely reported cargo, and compliance with Hours of Service laws. Discovery of an overweight truck does not necessarily mean that it will be prevented from returning to the road. In some cases drivers are merely issued a ticket and sent on their way. Others may be detained until an overweight permit is issued.

Why Overloaded Trucks Can Cause Accidents

Trucks which are too heavy can cause truck accidents in ways which may not seem obvious. Some of the main reasons why overloaded trucks cause accidents are:

  • Too much weight can cause tires to burst
  • Overloaded trucks travel uphill very slowly posing a hazard to approaching vehicles on blind corners
  • Going downhill, trucks which are too heavy travel too fast
  • Added momentum going downhill can mean too much stress on the brakes causing them to fail
  • More weight means more longer stopping distance
  • overloading raises the center of gravity making the truck more likely to roll over
  • Overloading can shift the weight to the rear of the truck taking weight off of the front tires and making steering very difficult, much like driving on ice
  • Trucks that exceed weight ratings for certain roads, bridges, and overpasses can cause roads to collapse

Who is responsible for overloaded trucks?

In most cases truck drivers are responsible for inspecting their loads to make sure that they are evenly distributed, properly secured and not overweight. The exception to this rule is when the load is sealed and the driver is not allowed to look at the load. Although drivers are ultimately responsible, other parties may share this responsibility.

Responsible parties in truck accidents caused by overloaded and overweight trucks can include:

  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies
  • Truck loading companies
  • Government entities (such as weigh station officials allowing an overweight truck to continue travel)

Contact Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Washington, DC

If you suffered an injury because of an overweight truck, you may be entitled to financial compensation thought a truck accident claim or lawsuit. Our team has served clients for more than 90 combined years. Let us put this experience to work for your case. After an accident, you need a lawyer who is willing to pour the time, energy and dedication into your case that you need to obtain the money you need and deserve.

Our lawyers believe that irresponsible and careless companies and individuals should be held accountable for the damages caused by their negligence. That's why our attorneys are wholeheartedly committed to helping people like you file truck accident claims and lawsuits.

To learn more about your options with our team, contact us today. When you call our firm, request a free case evaluation to learn more about your options with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, Siegel.