Truck accidents involving commercial vehicles often lead to devastating injuries and significant property damage. Victims of truck collisions caused by overweight or overloaded trucks may pursue a personal injury claim against the driver, and potentially the truck company, following the accident. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, we investigate all potential means of recovery and build strong cases on behalf of clients hurt by the careless or reckless conduct of others. In some situations, liability may extend beyond the driver and employer to the subcontractor responsible for loading and securing cargo onto the truck. Our Chicago truck accident lawyers have experience representing victims hurt in a variety of collisions.Seeking Financial Compensation After a Collision with an Overweight or Overloaded Truck
Commercial vehicles are often used to haul heavy cargo for long distances. It is important that drivers ensure that the load is balanced and that the tractor-trailer remains stable so that they may steer and brake appropriately. An overweight or overloaded truck may cause the driver to lose control and potentially cause an accident. Federal and state laws maintain weight restrictions for commercial trucks, and truck manufacturers assign a gross vehicle weight rating that takes into effect the specifics of that vehicle.
While on the road, drivers must use weigh stations along their trucking routes. These stations help to ensure that cargo remains within the truck’s gross weight rating limit. If the station indicates that the truck is overweight, drivers are expected to lighten their load.
Overloaded trucks cannot perform as well as properly loaded trucks. Inclines present a challenge, since the vehicle will gain speed more quickly than it would at the proper weight. Cargo may shift when a truck is overloaded, and when it is improperly distributed, this may affect the axles and the balance of the vehicle. Even if a truck is not overweight, when cargo is improperly loaded, it may cause the truck to roll over or have issues when making turns.
Legal responsibility for a truck collision may be demonstrated through evidence that the driver or company engaged in negligent conduct. If the driver, for example, failed to abide by safety regulations concerning the maximum weight of a truck, this may be evidence of a breached duty of care. Failing to lighten a load at a weighing station or failing to record cargo weight may expose the driver and company to liability.
Legal theories such as respondeat superior may also hold the trucking company liable for the actions of its driver. This is an indirect theory of fault, under which the company is responsible for the negligent conduct of a driver who was acting in the scope of their job duties. A direct theory of liability, such as negligent supervision, is another doctrine that can potentially hold a trucking company at fault.
After showing that the driver or company was legally at fault, truck accident victims may recover damages. These compensate victims for both economic and non-economic harm. Economic damages refer to quantifiable costs such as medical bills, lost wages from work, and property damage to a vehicle. Often, in truck collisions, victims suffer catastrophic injuries that require lifelong medical care. They may recover the estimated cost of these necessary expenses, as well as compensation for lost future earnings at work. Emotional pain and suffering, as well as a decreased quality of life, are considered non-economic damages and may also be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. For all forms of damages, it is important to maintain documentation of expenses and costs.Hire a Chicago Lawyer to Assert Your Rights Following a Truck Crash
Injured people may feel overwhelmed by the physical and emotional impact of a truck accident. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, we understand the importance of investigating and securing evidence in order to prove the full liability of the driver, the truck company, and other parties that may have been responsible for an overweight or overloaded truck. Violating safety regulations or failing to take proper precautions when loading a truck is extremely dangerous. Contact our motor vehicle collision lawyers to better understand your legal rights and ability to pursue compensation. Our firm helps victims in Chicago as well as in Quincy, Rockford, Aurora, Springfield, Champaign, and other communities in Kane, Cook, Sangamon, Winnebago, and Adams Counties. Contact us for a complimentary consultation with a lawyer by using our online form or calling (800) 444-1525.