Accidents with 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks can cause serious injury. When an overloaded truck is involved, the results can be even more devastating. Our personal injury lawyers at Pepper & Odom, P.C. often investigate these types of cases for clients who have been injured. Determining who is responsible for an overweight truck accident can be tricky, and sometimes, more than one party may be liable.
Why Are Overweight Trucks So Dangerous?
Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations for weight limits and the proper loading of trucks, some trucking companies overload their vehicles to transport more cargo in shorter amounts of time. Unfortunately, when they do this, they may also load cargo in an unsafe manner. A massive 18-wheeler that’s overloaded or filled with unbalanced cargo can easily cause serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. In addition to making a truck more prone to rolling over, overweight cargo can cause:
- Excessive downhill speed and overly slow uphill climbs
- Tire blowouts
- Brake failure
- Bridge, road, and overpass collapse due to excess weight
- An inability to stop in a short amount of distance, which can cause fatal accidents, such as a multi-car pileup
- Jackknife and rollover accidents
Determining Liability After an Overweight Truck Accident
Commercial truck accidents often involve multiple parties, including the truck driver, trucking company, affiliated shipping company, cargo loaders, product manufacturers, and other businesses in the supply chain. Some truckers are independent contractors who own their trucks. However, if someone else loaded the truck, they may be liable as well. Knowing how to make connections between all of these entities is daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with how personal injury claims work.
It’s critical to seek the counsel of experienced personal injury attorneys who understand the steps to take to determine exactly who is responsible for an overweight truck accident. This process takes extensive investigation, which may include analyzing data from the “black box” in the truck, taking statements from witnesses, reconstructing accident scenes, and gathering evidence, such as cargo manifests and other records. In cases involving overweight trucks, it’s particularly important to investigate any weigh station documentation as well.
What To Do After A Truck Accident
When trucks that are owned or contracted by big companies are involved in an accident, insurance company representatives sometimes show up on the scene. If you’re involved in a crash that you believe was caused by an overweight truck, do not give a statement, sign anything, or accept a settlement from an insurance company without speaking to a personal injury lawyer first. Being hurt in a collision is jarring and can be confusing — you may not even realize the extent of your injuries immediately, so it’s also important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Take photos of the scene, gather witness statements, and collect contact and insurance information from everyone involved in the accident. If possible, get a copy of an accident report from the trucking company and any police reports as well. An attorney can assess your case, help you understand your rights and options, find out who may be liable for your damages, and determine all possible avenues to help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.
Contact An Alabama or Mississippi Truck Accident Lawyer To Learn More
At Pepper & Odom, P.C., we’re dedicated to helping injured victims find the justice and compensation they deserve. Contact us, or call either our Birmingham, AL office at 205-250-1107, or our Jackson, MS office at 601-202-1111. We assist clients throughout the state of Alabama, Mississippi, and nationwide, utilizing local counsel.