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Overloaded Tractor-Trailers Can Cause Serious Accidents


Even while unloaded, a tractor-trailer is a large vehicle, capable of doing significant damage to a smaller vehicle. When a tractor-trailer is carrying cargo, it is even heavier, which can lead to difficulty in controlling it for some – and when a tractor-trailer is out of control, accidents are likely to follow. That said, a fully loaded tractor-trailer complying with legal limits is generally less dangerous than a vehicle that has been overloaded. There are limits on cargo capacity for a reason, and if you have been injured in a crash with an overloaded truck, it may enable you to seek compensation from the person or entity doing the overloading.

Can Lead To Multiple Types Of Accidents

Both federal authorities and the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) have weight regulations that companies must abide by, both for an unloaded truck and for the maximum weight overall for this type of vehicle. These regulations do not simply exist for their own sake – rather, overloading a tractor-trailer puts more pressure on its components (such as its tires or axles), which can lead to a higher likelihood of crashes. Overloads can also affect stopping distance, which can already be quite significant in a heavy vehicle like a tractor-trailer.

In addition to creating excess weight, overloading can make a tractor-trailer unwieldy. Having too much cargo in a trailer can mean that some may not be properly secured, or it may shift in transit – and if the cargo is particularly heavy, this can disrupt the link between the cab and its trailer or otherwise cause the driver to lose control. Any perceived benefit to overloading a trailer is simply not worth the potential risk – but if a company engages in this practice, they are likely to be liable for any injuries they cause.

Know Your Options

If you have been injured by an overloaded tractor-trailer, it is important that you are aware of your legal options. Because a tractor-trailer being overloaded violates state and federal weight regulations, you may be able to take advantage of a legal doctrine known as negligence per se, which can ease the requirements you must prove in order to hold the driver (and/or their employer) liable for your injuries. Negligence per se applies when a defendant violates a law designed to protect a certain class of people by injuring a person of that class.

For example, Florida’s trucking weight regulations are designed to protect Florida’s roads and the other users of those roads. If a tractor-trailer driver injures another road user while their vehicle is in violation of the weight regulations, they will have injured a person the law intended to protect. This establishes the fact of the driver’s negligence – which may, in turn, apply to the employer that put them on the road. An experienced attorney can help to clarify matters.

Contact A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney

Being involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer can leave you with serious, long-term injuries, but it can be difficult to determine how best to hold someone liable if you believe their negligence played a role. A Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help to answer any questions you may have about the legal process, and can hopefully ease some of your fears. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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