If you were the victim of an accident due to an oversized or overloaded commercial truck, do not hesitate to contact the truck accident lawyers of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today. The force produced by an 80,000-pound vehicle striking a small car can result in severe injuries and fatalities to the smaller vehicle occupants. If you were lucky enough to walk away from the crash, you likely incurred expensive medical bills and experienced a great deal of pain and trauma. The truck driver or trucking company should be held liable for the suffering you were forced to endure and provide adequate compensation to cover your losses.
The compassionate and experienced Fayetteville oversized/overloaded vehicle accident lawyers of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. understand the aftermath of an accident involving a large truck. It can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. You can trust our legal team to advocate for your rights and fight hard for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve. Call us at (770) 205-2231 today and let us help you get on the road to recovery.
Regulations for Loading and Securing Cargo On Commercial Trucks
State and federal regulations provide weight and size restrictions truck drivers must comply with to avoid overloading their trucks. Exceeding the maximum limits can lead to an imbalanced vehicle and cause maneuvering issues for the driver. Cargo that isn’t correctly secured in the trailer could fall onto the road, leading to dangerous conditions for motorists following the truck.
Unless a truck driver has a special permit allowing their vehicle to exceed the maximum gross weight limits, they must follow these Georgia laws:
- Maximum 20,340 pounds on a single axle truck with low-pressure tires.
- Maximum 18,080 pounds on a single axle vehicle with high-pressure, solid rubber, or cushion tires.
- Up to 34,000 pounds on tandem axle trucks. If the vehicle is less than 55 feet and the gross vehicle weight is under 73,280 pounds, the maximum gross weight limit is 40,680.
- 80,000 pound limit for trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 73,280 and 80,000 pounds.
The only exception allowing a commercial truck to exceed the state weight limits is if the driver operates their vehicle on a non-interstate highway and:
- Their single axle truck contains cargo that doesn’t exceed 23,000 pounds; or
- Their tandem axle truck contains cargo that doesn’t exceed 46,000 pounds.
The gross weight of a truck must also be less than 80,000 pounds if it contains any of the following loads:
- Naturally occurring ore or raw mineral delivered to a processing plant from a quarry or stockpile area within the same county or an adjoining county.
- The feed from a feed mill for delivery to a farm.
- Live poultry or cotton delivered to a processing plant from a farm.
- Recovered materials or solid waste transported to a solid waste handling facility or another type of processing facility.
- Unhardened and freshly mixed concrete delivered to a customer.
- Poultry waste delivered to a farm from the original point of origin.
- Forest products cut from a forest and transferred to the first point of marketing or processing.
Regulations on the federal level require truck drivers to stay within the commercial truck weight and size limits below.
- Overall truck length – There is no length limit for most tractor-semitrailer vehicles. Exception: Combination vehicles containing racks designed specifically to transport boats and automobiles. The maximum length can be 65 feet or 75 feet, depending on the connection type between the trailer and tractor.
- Vehicle height – No federal height limits.
- Vehicle width – Restrictions are in place prohibiting states from regulating limits less than or more than 102 inches in width. Devices that drivers use to operate the vehicle safely should not be a part of the width calculation.
- Trailer length – State laws cannot place a semitrailer size limit that is less than 48 feet for truck tractor-semitrailer combinations or less than 28 feet for truck tractor-semitrailer-trailer combinations.
Truck drivers using the Interstate Highway System to transport cargo outside the state must adhere to the following weight limits:
- 20,000 pounds for single axle vehicles
- 34,000 pounds for tandem axle trucks
- 80,000-pound maximum gross vehicle weight
While the driver or trucking company loads cargo onto the trailer, they must follow cargo securement rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This requires using the proper tie-downs to keep cargo in place and using adequate securement systems to withstand acceleration or deceleration forces.
Common Causes of Accidents Involving Oversized or Overloaded Trucks
Large trucks have a specific design that makes them susceptible to rollover and jackknife accidents. The cargo they carry can contribute to how much control a driver has over the entire vehicle. An overloaded or oversized truck can create an uneven weight distribution or imbalanced vehicle, leading to operational problems for the driver.
Combining a truck exceeding the maximum weight or size limits with various contributing factors increase the risk of an accident. The most common causes of overloaded and oversized truck accidents include:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Improper flagging of oversized vehicle
- Oversized load escort vehicles’ failure to comply with safety regulations
- Taking a turn too fast
- Sudden braking
- Failure to yield or stop for another driver
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Poor weather or road conditions
- Defective vehicle part
- Maneuvering abruptly
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. could help you with your case and seek compensation from the at-fault party for their wrongdoings. Their carelessness caused your injuries, and they should be the one to pay. You shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of someone else’s actions, especially when they could have done something to avoid the accident. Our Fayetteville oversized/overloaded vehicle accident lawyers will use all the resources at our disposal to get you the money you’re owed.
Common Injuries Suffered In Fayetteville Truck Accidents
Small cars typically don’t stand a chance in an accident with a commercial truck. When the two vehicles crash into each other, the smaller car occupants usually sustain injuries far more severe than the truck driver. An accident involving an overloaded or oversized truck can be deadly, especially if speeding is a factor. According to data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 549 passenger car occupants died in accidents in 2019. That number is significantly higher than the 31 large truck occupants killed in crashes that same year.
The most common injuries associated with accidents involving commercial trucks are:
- Psychological damage
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ failure
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of limb
- Spinal cord injuries
- Physical or mental disability
- Crush injuries
Surviving an accident like this means potentially suffering through a long recovery. If your injuries don’t heal properly or entirely, you could end up with a permanent disability. Without normal functioning, you might not be able to return to work or care for your family. Your injury can cause financial setbacks as you find a way to afford your medical bills and daily living expenses.
Pursuing Compensation from the Truck Driver
There is a fault system in Georgia that determines liability in motor vehicle accidents. The person or entity responsible for a crash becomes liable for the injured person’s losses. Federal regulations require trucking companies to purchase liability insurance coverage for their truck drivers. The minimum coverage amounts depend on the type of cargo the driver is transporting and the vehicle’s total weight.
You could file a claim with the trucking company’s insurance company for compensation of your losses, including:
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
Another option for recovering a monetary award to compensate for the losses you suffered is to file a lawsuit. Georgia follows a two-year statute of limitations. This is a strict timeframe for suing someone for the injury they caused. You could lose your right to seek compensation and hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions if you don’t file your lawsuit by the two-year deadline.
You Could File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit If Your Loved One Died In An Oversized or Overloaded Vehicle Accident
Wrongful death in Georgia, according to the statute, is when negligent, intentional, or criminal acts cause someone’s death. You might be entitled to compensation for various losses if the commercial truck involved in the crash exceeded weight or size limits.
A few specific family members are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. They are:
- Surviving spouse, while also representing the interests of any minor children they share with the deceased; or
- Surviving children
If there isn’t a surviving spouse or child, one of these parties may be able to pursue a case:
- Surviving parent or parents; or
- Personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
The monetary value of your case would depend on two separate factors: losses associated with your loved one’s life and losses related to their death. They include:
- Loss of companionship, care, and other benefits the deceased would have provided if they survived.
- Lost wages and benefits, including what they could have earned if they were still alive.
- Funeral and burial costs.
- Medical bills associated with the fatal injury.
- Pain and suffering endured by the deceased before their death.
Georgia also uses the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. The timeframe for filing your lawsuit would be two years from the date of your loved one’s death resulting from the overloaded or oversized truck accident.
The Fayetteville oversized/overloaded vehicle accident lawyers of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. have 30 years of experience providing legal representation to those suffering from others’ wrongdoings. You deserve to recover the maximum available compensation so you can heal your injuries and move forward with your life. Our team will work diligently on your case from start to finish until we reach a favorable outcome.
If you sustained injuries in an overloaded or oversized commercial truck accident in Fayetteville, call Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. for your free consultation at (770) 205-2231.