Large commercial tractor-trailers can be dangerous as they are unwieldy, difficult to handle, and slow to respond. When these trucks are improperly loaded, overloaded, or overweight, they are even more likely to crash, causing catastrophic injuries and even death.
People injured in overloaded/overweight truck accidents in State College have legal grounds to file a claim against the responsible parties. If you or a loved one were severely harmed due to improper loading practices by a trucking company, do not hesitate to contact a State College truck collision attorney at our firm.
Federal Weight Restrictions for Commercial Vehicles
Federal law limits commercial tractor trailers to 80,000 pounds when driving on interstate highways. Pennsylvania has an identical weight limit, although certain towns and municipalities within the state might have significantly lower limits on certain roads and bridges. These weight limits are designed to protect the structural integrity of the infrastructure and to ensure that the truck is capable of safely transporting its load.
According to recent studies, between 25 and 30 percent of trucks on the road are overloaded and overweight. This is likely due to trucking companies wanting to ship more goods more efficiently, so they overload their vehicles.
Notably, a truck could be loaded improperly even if it is not overweight. Various cargo needs to be packed in the container in a way that both distributes the weight evenly and keeps the load from shifting. A trailer with shifting cargo could handle erratically resulting in a State College truck driver losing control of the vehicle and causing a crash.
What are the Dangers of Improperly Loading Cargo?
Poor loading and excess weight are dangerous because they make the vehicle’s movements less predictable and harder to handle. Fully loaded trucks traveling at highway speeds can require up to 500 yards to come to a complete stop, and an overweight truck might require even more distance.
Overweight and improper loading also put stress on the truck’s mechanical systems. Steering can be impacted, brakes might fail, and the axle of an overweight truck might break. Any of these mechanical failures could cause devastating accidents.
An experienced State College lawyer could investigate the circumstances of a particular crash and determine whether the truck was overweight or poorly loaded. If so, the truck driver, the trucking company, and the cargo loaders could be liable for the plaintiff’s losses.
Recoverable Damages in State College
Damages in a truck accident case typically include reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses like medical treatment and lost time at work. If the injuries will require ongoing care, future projected medical expenses and lost income over the person’s expected lifetime might also be included in a damages award. In addition, a plaintiff could secure payment for his or her pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, disability, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
However, under 42 P.S. §5524, people injured in a commercial vehicle accident have only two years to file a lawsuit seeking damages. This is a short time to investigate the crash, secure available evidence, calculate reasonable and appropriate damages, and attempt to negotiate a settlement with the responsible parties. Therefore, it is often beneficial to speak with an overweight/overloaded truck wreck attorney in the area as soon as possible.
Learn More About Overloaded/Overweight Truck Accidents from a State College Attorney
After suffering serious injuries in an 18-wheeler wreck, you will be in no position to investigate the cause of the crash or engage in negotiations with aggressive lawyers representing the trucking industry. Therefore, it is advisable that you speak with our local attorneys familiar with handling overloaded/overweight truck accidents in State College. Call today to schedule a consultation with our experienced lawyers at Marcus & Mack.