Accidents Involving Overloaded Tractor-Trailers
There are several potential reasons for road accidents involving tractor-trailers, from driver error to faulty maintenance. One common cause that is not often discussed is when a tractor-trailer is on the road with an overloaded trailer – when this happens, the extra weight in the trailer will often throw off a driver’s sense of balance and ability to react as quickly as normal in turning the vehicle. It can lead to serious injury for any vehicles that may be struck.
Massive Size & Speed Are Dangerous
In general, most unladen tractor-trailers will weigh somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000 pounds – already a substantial amount of weight – while the maximum laden weight for a tractor-trailer under U.S. federal law is 80,000 pounds. Conversely, the average passenger vehicle like a car or pickup truck weighs between 4 and 5,000 pounds. The sheer mass and speed involved in these types of accidents can lead to life-changing injuries or even death.
If an unwieldy load of cargo is added to the trailer, not only will the weight of the vehicle increase, but the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle may also suffer. Commercial vehicle drivers learn to operate their vehicles under a certain set of circumstances, and it is often the driver who will notice that something is ‘off’ if the cargo has been loaded too high or too tightly. Nonetheless, they are also the ones who will likely be threatened with suit first in the event of an accident, simply because the injured plaintiff believes that the driver’s actions caused their injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer and you suspect that it was due to an overloaded trailer, you have the right to seek compensation for what you have been through. In general, accidents of this type are tried under a theory of negligence, which means that in order to recover, you must be able to establish that the defendant or defendants in your case failed to exercise reasonable care, and that their failure to do that led directly to your injuries, without any other intervening cause.
Keep in mind that depending on the facts of your situation, it may be possible to file suit against more than one defendant if you believe their actions contributed to your injuries – for example, the trucking company, the person or people who loaded the cargo, and so on. That said, it is important to keep in mind that Florida’s statute of limitations on negligence actions is only two years, which means that you only have two years to get your case together and file it. This may seem like a long time, but it can go by before you know it – all the better to seek legal help now.
Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
One should be cautious around tractor-trailers on the road even when not overloaded; with extra weight on board, it can become dangerous or even deadly. If you have been injured due to the negligent overloading of a tractor-trailer, a Tampa truck accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you determine the best path forward for you and your loved ones. Call our office today for a free consultation.