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Overweight Commercial Motor Vehicles Can Cause Accidents


Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are usually trucks or other conveyances designed to carry passengers or cargo, though the definition of what specifically constitutes a CMV will vary between jurisdictions. Florida’s definition of what constitutes a CMV has specific height and weight limits for a vehicle, but the state’s roads also have their own weight limits. While the mere fact of a CMV being overweight is not grounds to hold the driver liable in the event of an accident, it can be a factor in determining liability.

Many Different Limits

Florida’s laws establish strict height, width, and length limits for all types of vehicles on Florida roads, as well as weight limits. It is important to keep in mind that these limits do not determine what can be classified as a CMV; they do apply to commercial trucks, but in general, the numbers on what qualifies as a CMV are lower – for example, Florida allows vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 80,000 pounds on its state roads, but a CMV has a minimum required weight of 26,001 pounds in Florida.

In addition to all these regulations, an individual CMV will have its own weight limit, based solely on what its components will allow it to carry. An overweight truck is dangerous simply because it results in a lack of control for the driver. That said, whether it meets or exceeds that weight limit is entirely up to the discretion of the company – and as a result, it will generally be the CMV’s owner or operating company that bears the brunt of any lawsuit in the event of a crash.

Can Weight Prove Negligence?

If you have been injured in an accident with a CMV you suspect was over its weight limit, this is an important fact that can help to establish negligence on the part of its driver or owner. Florida upholds a legal doctrine called negligence per se, which holds that a defendant is negligent as a matter of law if they break a law designed to protect a certain class of people by injuring one of that class. The most common example is drunk driving – if a person injures a pedestrian while driving drunk, they have broken the statute banning that behavior, and the court would usually find them negligent without that negligence needing to be established by the plaintiff.

That said, not every accident involving an overweight CMV will qualify for this scenario, or you may simply not be able to establish the vehicle was overweight. You may still have a case against the driver or owner of a CMV if you can show that either breached the duty to exercise reasonable care that all road users have, and that their actions were the direct cause of the harm you suffered. Every case is different, and enlisting an attorney to help with yours is generally a good idea.

Contact A Tampa CMV Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in a crash with a CMV, its weight can make a difference in the potential success of your case – but it may not be the only brick required in the proverbial wall. A Tampa CMV accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help answer any questions or concerns you may have about potentially filing suit against the person who caused your injuries. Call our office today for a free consultation.



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