West Virginia motorists see a lot of big rigs on I-70 and other busy highways. It can also be a little intimidating to meet an 18-wheeler on a curve on one of our winding roads. The trailer portion of these rigs often follow the truck on a shorter path and end up left of center on turns.
An overloaded truck, or one carrying unsecured cargo, is a big accident threat. If you are the victim of a truck-car crash, several parties may be liable for any injuries you suffer.
Truck overloading is a violation of numerous state and federal regulations, but that does not stop the practice from happening. For trucking companies, the bottom line is about profit. The more cargo a truck can carry, the more profit there will be. The problem is that overloading is both a safety and liability issue. The cargo can shift during transport, causing the truck to be off balance and, therefore, difficult for the driver to control. The same is true of unsecured cargo, which could also fall off the back of the truck and endanger vehicles.
Wear and tear
Overloading causes truck components to wear out faster and compromises operational performance. With more cargo onboard, tires also run hotter, which makes them prone to failure; the driver may have to contend with a blowout. Furthermore, the driver may not realize how much more braking power it takes to stop the truck when it is overweight. This is especially problematic if the truck is traveling down an incline and must stop at a light at the bottom of the hill.
Who is responsible?
In a collision with a commercial truck, the smaller pickup, van or passenger car is at a distinct disadvantage due to the size and weight of the larger vehicle. If the investigation establishes that overloading or unsecured cargo is one of the causes of the crash, several parties could share liability. These may include the trucking company, the driver, the company or individual responsible for loading the truck and even the company or individual responsible for driver training that included loading procedures.
Injuries sustained in this kind of crash can be devastating, and the victim has the right to expect full and fair compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages and more.