Trucks carrying too much weight do not function properly, making them more prone to get into accidents. Although state and federal laws regulate trucks’ gross weight and the weight of their trailers, many trucking companies ignore these safety rules to increase their profits.
If you suffered an injury in an overloaded/overweight truck accident in Memphis, a truck injury attorney could provide information about your legal rights and the best way to pursue compensation. Work with our team at the Reaves Law Firm to hold these negligent parties accountable for their wrongdoing.
The trucking industry is competitive, and some transportation firms pad their margins by encouraging their drivers to haul overloaded trailers. Some drivers of overweight trailers are independent contractors trying to cut costs by delivering more goods faster.
Federal law limits the gross weight of a tractor-trailer to 80,000 pounds, and the Tennessee Code Annotated §55-7-203 adopts the same standard. Unfortunately, enforcement of these weight limits is lax. Trucks could theoretically drive hundreds of miles without encountering an open scale. Even when a 18-wheeler is weighed and found overweight, the trucker usually pays a small fine and continues their trip.
The incentive to overload often outweighs the risk of getting caught, so transportation companies and independent drivers continue the practice. The disincentive to overloading is the liability risk if the truck gets into an accident in Memphis.
Overweight trucks strain the mechanical integrity of their vehicles, and crashes are often the result. Tire blowouts and broken axels, two of the most common mishaps that afflict overweight trucks, impede a commercial driver’s ability to control their rig, risking collisions with other vehicles. Excess weight could cause brake failure, extending an already long stopping distance and putting other vehicles at risk.
Controlling the truck is challenging when it is hauling too much weight. The steering could become distorted, making it challenging for the truck driver to keep the rig in its lane. The center of gravity, already high in a truck, might become higher still if the truck is overloaded. A high center of gravity enhances the risk of jackknives, fishtailing, and rollovers.
An attorney representing a Memphis truck accident victim could investigate a crash to determine whether the truck was overweight or overloaded. If so, it could be proof of negligence, leading to an obligation to pay damages to the injured party.
An injured person has a claim for damages when they can prove that their injuries resulted from another party’s negligent act or omission. A party is negligent when they fail to take reasonable steps to protect others from injury. An injured person could prove negligence by showing that the other party did not take reasonable care, and their injuries resulted from that failure.
Violating laws or regulations that are enacted to enhance safety is considered negligence per se, which means that an injured person does not need to prove anything except a violation of the law or rule. A Memphis attorney representing someone injured in an overweight truck accident could present law enforcement citations, truck weight station receipts, records from the company that loaded the trailer, and other information to show that the truck was not in compliance with laws limiting the weight it carries.
Even if clear proof of a violation is not available, a truck’s handling before the accident could provide evidence of it being overweight or overloading. An accident reconstruction expert could analyze the physical evidence and the information on the truck’s data recorder to determine whether it is likely that the truck was overweight or overloaded when it crashed.
Truck crashes could lead to devastating injuries. If you are suffering because a trucker or transportation company decided their profits were more important than your safety, they should pay for the harm they caused you.