Truck Accidents: Overloaded Trucks and Trailers
Large commercial trucks are a necessary part of the modern economy, but their existence still poses a danger to other drivers on the road. Trucks are larger than almost anything else motorists encounter on the road, and that means that truck accidents are generally more dangerous than ordinary accidents. For instance, these sorts of trucks only represent 4 percent of all vehicles on roads, but they account for 8 percent of all fatal crashes, according to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is particularly troubling because of the way the trucks’ size distributes those fatalities; 83 percent of people killed in trucking crashes were people in other vehicles or bystanders. One particular form of truck accident that can lead to danger is an overloaded trailer accident.
Overloaded Trailer Accidents
Overloaded truck or trailer accidents occur when a trucking company adds too much weight to the truck either as a result of carelessness or out of a desire to make the run more profitable. However, this overloading can cause a wide variety of potential problems. For instance, the extra cargo often moves the truck’s center of gravity higher. This can make the truck more likely to roll over during a turn, and it can increase the possibility of the truck’s jackknifing. Overloaded cargo also increases the risk of cargo falling off the truck. If the cargo is heavy enough, it can crush cars adjacent to the truck. Even if the cargo misses any nearby cars, it can still create obstructions in the road. Falling cargo can force nearby cars to swerve, which may endanger those drivers, and can even cause other accidents as the drivers try to dodge the falling materials.
What Makes Truck Accident Lawsuits Different
Like an ordinary car accident lawsuit, the motorists injured in an overloaded truck accident may have legal recourse. However, truck accident lawsuits can differ from normal car accident lawsuits in a variety of ways. For example, trucking companies are subject to highly specific regulations about the weight of cargo they can carry and how it must be packed. There are even special regulations dealing with particular types of cargo like cars or metal piping. Failure to abide by these regulations may form the basis of a legal claim that would not be available to someone who was involved in an ordinary car accident.
There are also practical differences that make truck accident lawsuits different, especially with regard to the type of evidence that needs to be gathered. For instance, trucking companies keep far more information than a personal driver would about their trucks and driving activity. Some trucks are even equipped with electronic devices that monitor the truck and store information about it. This information can be useful evidence in a lawsuit, but trucking companies are not obliged to keep it indefinitely. Consequently, it is important to act fast after a truck accident.
If you were recently involved in a truck accident resulting from overloading or some other cause, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney at Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices today to learn more about the options available to you. We are prepared to help you in any way that we can.