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How Do Oversized or Overloaded Trucks Factor Into Accident Liability?

When an oversized or overloaded truck contributes to a crash, the driver, the trucking company, or a third party that loaded the trailer might be to blame. Identifying the liable parties and building a case to show how their negligent actions caused the collision is sometimes difficult. These are often complex cases.

A Dallas truck accident lawyer helps clients determine liability and pursue a strong case against the liable party following this type of crash. Injured parties and those who lost a loved one can trust our team to develop a compelling case showing how the oversized or overloaded truck contributed to the crash. If you were hurt in a Texas truck accident, we are here for you.

Oversized and Overloaded Trucks Increase the Risk Factors for an Accident

A driver with an oversized or overloaded truck is much more likely to get into an accident than one who has an acceptable load properly secured in their trailer. When there is too much in the trailer, the risks include:

  • Struggling to maintain proper speed, especially when going down hills
  • Difficulty gauging stopping distance accurately
  • Cargo shifting leads to rollovers or difficulty steering
  • Altering the truck’s center of gravity, making a rollover more likely
  • Increasing the weight on the tires and other vital structures increases the risk of failure
  • A higher potential for lost loads and spilled cargo
  • More difficulty controlling the trailer if there is a bump or the driver must swerve
  • Hitting and damaging bridges and underpasses, causing a danger for others

As you can see, oversized or too-large loads can lead to collisions and injure occupants of other vehicles in many ways. This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and state regulatory agencies restrict the size and weight of loads without special permissions.

Trucks must meet these regulations to move cargo. Weigh stations along the interstate highways check truck weight randomly, although it might be possible to pass through without getting stopped or to receive a citation but continue to their destination.

What Evidence Is Available to Support My Truck Accident Case?

When an overloaded or oversized truck causes a crash, victims might have a case against the driver, their employer, or another company that loaded the trailer. Often, determining liability in these cases requires an in-depth investigation into the circumstances of the truck’s excessive weight and the role it played in the crash.

Evidence in these cases includes:

  • The accident report filed by law enforcement officers who were on the scene
  • Eyewitness statements
  • The truck’s onboard computer data
  • Other logs kept by the driver and trucking company
  • Documents showing the contents of the trailer
  • Video of the crash, when available
  • An accident scene survey
  • Accident reconstruction data
  • Relevant medical records
  • Expert testimony
  • Documentation of damages

ow Does Liability Work When a Commercial Vehicle Driver Causes a Crash?

When it is apparent that the truck’s weight contributed to or fully caused a collision and the trucking company violated industry regulations, these cases can be fairly straightforward. When the company that owns the truck and employs the truck driver also loaded the trailer, they failed to use reasonable care. In other words, the company acted negligently.

To recover compensation, the victim must show:

  • The excessive weight caused the accident, or
  • The driver acted negligently and caused the crash, or
  • The driver’s negligence paired with the overloaded trailer caused the crash

In a commercial vehicle crash case, including most 18-wheeler accidents, it is uncommon to build a case against the at-fault driver alone. Instead, their employer is vicariously liable under Texas law. This means victims can pursue a case against the trucking company or corporation instead of an individual.

Companies generally have much larger corporate liability insurance policies than an individual driver would carry. This allows victims to have a better chance to recover compensation based on serious or catastrophic injuries, which are common in truck accidents.

What Damages Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Recover for Me?

When a personal injury lawyer represents a truck collision victim, they identify their client’s recoverable expenses and losses and document these damages. This allows them to value these costs and seek fair compensation. When they can build a compelling case to show how the trucking company is liable, they can recover money for the client.

The recoverable damages differ from case to case. However, truck accident damages often include:

  • Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages
  • Medical care and related costs, present and future
  • Income lost while out of work
  • Reduced ability to work and earn
  • Property repair or replacement, including the damaged car
  • Miscellaneous expenses

If the victim died from their truck accident injuries, their loved ones can pursue a wrongful death action under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.002(b). This usually includes the spouse, children, or parents.

What Should I Do If I Was Hurt in a Crash With an Overloaded or Oversized Truck?

If you were hurt in a crash caused by a truck driver or involving an overloaded or oversized truck, you should discuss your options with a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. The earlier you hire a law firm to manage your case, the better. Evidence in these cases can disappear quickly, especially when it is held by the liable party.

You generally have up to two years to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in Texas under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003. However, your lawyer will need to begin investigating your crash long before this deadline.

Most truck accident firms work based on contingency. You should not need to pay upfront fees to hire a lawyer to handle your case. You will pay out of the money they recover for you.

Talk to Our Team About Your Texas Truck Accident Case

At Loncar Lyon Jenkins, we will assess your legal options and explain how we can help. We provide these consultations for free. If you cannot come to one of our eight offices, we can set up a virtual meeting. Call in the Strong Arm.

Contact us now to learn more.

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Author

Ted Lyon

Born in Terrell, Texas, Attorney Ted Lyon, a partner of Loncar Lyon Jenkins, attended East texas State University, now Texas A&M at Commerce, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in political science. Working as a police officer, Attorney Lyon paid his way through undergraduate school, followed by attendance at the Southern Methodist University School of Law. Learn More

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