Most drivers never give a second thought to how much weight a semi truck is carrying. The trailer may be carrying thousands of pounds of heavy materials, or it may be driving down Interstate 95 completely empty. It is only after a car is involved in an accident with an overloaded truck trailer that they realize how dangerous these overloaded tractor trailers can be. Overloaded and unbalanced truck loads are responsible for many highway accidents every year, often involving serious injury or even death.
Causes of Overloaded Trailer Accidents
As part of their job, experienced truck drivers haul trailers loaded with all kinds of products throughout the country. While experienced truck drivers can go their entire career without a major traffic accident, there are a number of reasons why an overloaded trailer may get into an accident. Some accidents are the result of another driver, others are caused by inexperienced or inattentive truck drivers, and some are due to negligence by the trucking company. Whatever the reason, innocent drivers and passengers should not have to pay the price for an accident caused by another person's negligence.
According to a report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large truck rollovers are caused by a number of factors, including uneven loads, overloaded trailers, and unsecured cargo. According to the survey, “tractor-trailers are particularly vulnerable because of the trailer's high center of gravity and frequently unstable loads.” If another vehicle swerves in front of a semi truck, the truck driver's reaction may cause the trailer to sway, and possibly tip over, causing an accident. In many cases, the negligent driver who actually caused the accident may just drive off.
Another common cause of overloaded trailer accidents, and tractor trailer accidents in general, involves truck driver error. This may include distracted driving, drowsy driving, or driving under the influence of stimulants. Given the pressures of productivity, and delivering on time, many drivers operate their vehicles without adequate sleep. A rapid correction could overcorrect the drivers course, causing the heavy load to tip, causing an accident.
Truck accidents can even occur even when the semi driver and other vehicles are all operating safely. Often, a driver will be given a load without being told exactly what it consists of, or how the load is packed. Most of the time, it is not a problem. However, when a logistics or transit company is looking to maximize profits, they may overload a trailer, or load an unbalanced trailer without giving the driver proper warning that they may be transporting a dangerous load. If the driver makes a normal turn or lane change, the trailer may suddenly tip, resulting in a serious accident.
Overloaded Trailer Accident Injuries
When a semi truck gets into an accident, the injuries to the driver and other vehicle occupants can be severe. A tractor-trailer may weigh thousands of pounds. Even at a low speed, the impact between a large truck and a passenger vehicle can crush the car's driver and passengers inside. When occupants are trapped in a vehicle, their injuries may be exacerbated by the time it takes to get free of the vehicle. It can also lead to additional injuries, including loss of blood, burn injuries, and brain damage.
Accidents involving an overloaded trailer can be severe, including permanent physical injury, or even death. Common injuries include broken bones, head injuries, neck or back injury, severed limbs, and puncture wounds. Truck drivers can also be injured when their overloaded trailer jackknifes, or flips over on the highway. They may be thrown from the vehicle directly into the path of oncoming traffic.
Filing a Claim After an Accident with an Overloaded Trailer
If you were injured in an accident involving an overloaded trailer, you may experience the frustration of dealing with the trucking company in trying to get compensation for your injuries and vehicle damage. The company may try and refuse responsibility, instead blaming the accident on you. If you are not persistent enough, they may even ignore your phone calls and never get back to you. Instead of trying to fight the trucking company on your own, let your personal injury attorney work for you. Your personal injury attorneys may offer a contingent fee arrangement, so you will pay nothing up-front, and may offer a free initial consultation.
Overloaded Trailer Accident Attorneys
If you were involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer, you may be unsure if the cause of the accident was an overloaded trailer, or driver error. You need an advocate to fight for you, to make sure you get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on recovery. If you or someone you love has been injured, please contact the team at Gilman & Bedigian. We offer a free consultation and will fight for you, to make sure you are fully compensated for your injuries.