Overweight/Overloaded Trucks

Legal Guidance for Tractor-Trailer Crash Victims in Ocala

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2012, 3,921 individuals were killed and 104,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks, which are those with gross vehicle weight ratings greater than 10,000 pounds. Large commercial vehicles can cause serious harm to other people on the road, particularly if they are overloaded. These trucks are designed to carry a maximum weight, taking into account their frame, suspension, and brake system, among other factors. Overloading the vehicle increases the risk of rollover accidents and tire failure, and thus the possibility of catastrophic injuries. If you are injured in a tractor-trailer crash in Ocala or the surrounding area, the experienced attorneys of the Dean Law Firm have the skills to help you pursue compensation.

Hold Commercial Drivers and Trucking Companies Accountable for Overloading

Why do overweight or overloaded trucks have a greater probability of causing an accident? The additional load puts more pressure on the tires, which are more likely to burst. The driver's ability to steer and brake is also adversely affected. A trucker may not understand how much additional force he or she needs to apply to an overweight tractor-trailer. The vehicle may jack-knife, which is what happens when the trailer swings to the side, forming a 90-degree angle with the truck. This makes a rollover more likely.

Similarly, if a load is not properly distributed on its axles, the truck will be off-balance. This can cause it to tip. It can also result in improperly secured cargo, which could fall off the truck and strike other cars or cause them to crash as they swerve to avoid it.

Because of these potential hazards, both state and federal laws have strict rules about how much weight a commercial vehicle is permitted to carry. A truck driver who violates these rules may create liability for both him and the trucking company. To prove negligence against one or more of these defendants, an accident victim must show that the defendant breached the duty of reasonable care with a careless action and that this conduct led to a crash in which the victim incurred quantifiable damages. Overloading a truck in violation of regulations governing the industry likely constitutes a breach. The victim then would need to show that he or she would not have been hurt if the tractor-trailer driver, or his or her employer, had not acted carelessly.

A trucking company in Florida can be held liable under several theories, including negligent hire, negligent retention or supervision, vicarious liability, or respondeat superior. In most cases, this entity will have more significant resources than the individual driver, including better insurance coverage. An experienced attorney will try to hold all the parties responsible for the accident accountable to ensure that the victim can pursue the full amount of his or her damages.

Types of compensation that may be recovered after a collision involving an overloaded truck include past and future lost income, past and future medical bills, property damage, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. In some cases, punitive damages may also be appropriate when a defendant acted especially egregiously.

Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Ocala

Even when a commercial driver's fault is clear, as in the case of an overloaded tractor-trailer, defendants are likely to try to dodge their responsibility to compensate a victim. At the Dean Law Firm, our truck accident lawyers understand trucking regulations and have the trial experience necessary to mount an aggressive claim for compensation after an accident in the Ocala area. We can take your case to trial if necessary. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent injured individuals in Crystal River, the Villages, and other communities throughout the state, such as in Sumter, Lake, Marion, Citrus, and Levy Counties.