Overweight Truck Accident Lawyer Serving Riviera Beach
Truck accidents occur throughout the United States each and every day. Due to the size of these vehicles, the resulting damages and injuries tend to be catastrophic. But when considering the number of Riviera Beach truck accidents per year, due to overweight trucks, these accidents can be completely avoidable. However, we still see approximately one in ten truck accidents resulting in fatalities in the state of Florida.
While some people may be surprised at this percentage, it makes sense due to the fact that fully-loaded semi-trucks can reach a weight of 80,000 lbs. or more. The average car only weighs about 5,000 lbs. (sometimes much less). When you have a situation in which the larger vehicle crashes into the smaller one, then it becomes obvious that a serious disaster is imminent. Needless to say, the smaller vehicle doesn’t stand much of a chance. As an example, let’s take a look at some statistics for accidents involving trucks in 2014:
- In the case of large truck collisions that resulted in fatalities, 68% of those who were killed were those who were in passenger cars. In addition, we also had 15% of road fatalities, involving large trucks, coming from bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians. In comparison, only 17% of the fatalities were the truck drivers (and other truck occupants) themselves.
- From the years 2009 to 2014, the number of fatalities from large truck accidents increased by 16%.
- 59% truck accidents that involved deaths in 2014 happened on major roadways, which weren’t a part of the state’s freeway/interstate roadway system. On minor roads, the percentage was 9%.
- The most dangerous time for truck accident roadway fatalities was between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 p.m. when 47% of truck deaths occurred.
When you consider the threat posed by an overweight and/or overloaded truck there are a number of reasons why accidents may happen. For example, when a truck is too heavy, the driver has less of a chance to accurately steer their vehicle in situations that require emergency maneuvers. In addition, when attempting a sudden maneuver with an overweight truck there is a greater chance of the driver losing complete control of the vehicle. Inclement weather can also play a part when it comes to making overweight trucks more dangerous. Because of this, we see a number of truck accidents per year that involve cargo becoming loose or a semi-truck tipping over. Also, with a large truck accident, there is the possibility of more than one or two vehicles involved.What are the Definitions Used in Truck-Related Statutes?
When dealing with these potential dangers, both federal and state agencies have established laws that limit the size and weight of commercial trucks. Some of the truck definitions that are listed in these statutes (Florida Statutes 320.01) are:
A Trailer is designated as a form of vehicle that isn’t able to move through its own power. This will usually make its purpose as a carrier for truck cargo, which the trucks will then tow. In addition, it is further stipulated that none of the trailer’s weight may rest on the towing vehicle.
A Semitrailer is a type of vehicle that is similar to a trailer insofar as it has no ability to move on its own. The difference is that its construction is such that some of its weight can rest on the motorized vehicle that is towing this type of vehicle.
The term Gross Weight defines the net weight of the entire truck along with the entire weight of the load which is being towed.
The term Net Weight defines the actual weight (scale weight) of the vehicle with the entirety of its equipment.
A Truck is defined as a motorized vehicle that has a 5,000 lb. net weight (or less), which is designed to transport cargo as its primary function. It also includes equipment that is not part of the driver’s or a passenger’s personal belongings. This may include; a platform, a rack, cabinet box, etc.
A Heavy Truck is defined as a motorized vehicle that has more than a 5,000 lb. net weight. The vehicle is registered in deference to its gross weight (Florida Statute 320.08(4)). It’s main purpose is for the transporting of cargo. The vehicle also carries the same type of equipment as a truck (minus passenger and driver effects).
A Truck Tractor is defined as a motorized vehicle that has four or more wheels. It also possesses a 5th wheel that can be used for the attaching of a semitrailer.What are the Weight Limitations for Trucks and Trailers?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other agencies are tasked with the overseeing of truck-related operations that are designed to limit the truck accidents per year in Riviera Beach and the rest of the country. These agencies determine the size and weight restrictions for trucks and trailers. The determination of how much a truck is legally allowed to carry is based on several different factors. These factors include the truck’s ability to brake, vehicle axel number and its gross weight. These various regulations are monitored and enforced through the use of weigh stations and inspections. But, even with programs and inspections, Riviera Beach still sees a number of overweight trucks that account for an unacceptable number of truck accidents per year.
The general federal restrictions for semi-trailers maximum weight are:
- The maximum weight, per axel, is 20,000 pounds with the axels spaced no less than 40 inches apart and no more than 96 inches apart.
- 80,000 lb (36,000 kg) total for any vehicle or combination
- 34,000 lb (15,000 kg) on a tandem
- 20,000 lb (9,100 kg) on a single axle
The maximum weight for a semi-truck is:
- U.S. Semitruck – The maximum weight (with full trailer) is 80,000 lbs. that’s distributed over 18 wheels. (23 U.S.C. 127).
In addition, trucks must also be equipped with a device that provides rear-end underride protection (49 C.F.R. s. 393.86)What are Your Rights Under the Overloaded / Overweight Truck Laws?
If you are injured in a Riviera Beach truck accident, you should be aware of your rights when it comes to trying to obtain the compensation you deserve. It may be possible to hold the truck driver and/or trucking company responsible for the injuries that you have sustained. If liability can be established, then you may be entitled to compensation.
In general, the basis for these types of lawsuits revolves around negligence. In this matter, you would want to prove that a defendant had failed to exercise reasonable care in circumstances that would be similar. This means:
- There was a failure to exercise reasonable care
- The breach of the duty of care (such as overloading the vehicle)
- The direct result of that breach of duty is the accident that occurred
- The accident has directly caused injuries and damages that you have sustained.
A company may be deemed liable for a truck accident which occurred in Riviera Beach that was the result of an overweight/overloaded truck. This can happen should the trucking company made an error in the calculation of the truck’s weight. This falls under “negligence” on the part of the truck company.
Also, a company employer might be held liable (vicariously) for the negligence of a truck driver, should the negligence fall within the scope of the driver’s responsibilities. This can happen should the driver be responsible for furthering the interests of the employer.Who is Liable for My Riviera Beach Overloaded/Overweight Truck Accident?
Determining the liability for a truck accident that involves the truck being overweight can involve different factors. Either the trucking company or the truck driver may be at fault. In addition, there may also be liability that can be placed on the loading company, as well. This may happen should the loading company overload a truck due to a directive from the truck company. So, the liability may fall on more than a single party in these cases.
However, in cases in which easily seen negligence contributed to the accident, it can also be prudent to enlist the services of an experienced truck accident attorney. The results of a truck accident can include injuries, medical expenses and loss of income. Property, such as a vehicle, may still need to be replaced. When you secure the help of an experienced truck accident attorney, you can have the benefits of:
- Thoroughly investigate your claim and advise you on how to proceed.
- Handle all communications with the insurance company
- Try to protect valuable evidence from being destroyed. This should happen before the destruction of any evidence that would be critical to the case.
- Consult with experts who can try to recreate the scene of the accident in order to establish how the accident took place.
- An experienced truck accident attorney will already know just what types of evidence may necessary in order to prove liability.
Survivors of a Riviera Beach truck accident may be dealing with severe and permanent injuries. These injuries may include: lacerations, disfigurement, broken bones, whiplash, spinal cord injury, chest injury paralysis, traumatic brain injury and loss of limbs.
There are cases in which an accident victim may be concerned whether or not things will ever get back to normal or how are they able to provide for themselves and their families. Lifelong limited mobility and pain may occur as well as mental trauma can be the result of an overweight or overloaded truck accident.Speak to a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
Deaths and injuries from negligent truck accidents can be the result of reckless behavior, which may occur in Riviera Beach at any given time. In addition, it’s important to understand that while high speeds are often a factor, there are also many times when this isn’t the situation. There have been a number of cases in which a very low speed accident has resulted in an injury that eventually led to a person’s death. The injuries involved may include brain damage and various internal organ injuries. Therefore, even if you are involved in an overweight truck accident, it is advised that you seek medical care and the advice of a truck accident personal injury attorney.
Discuss your claim with an experienced personal injury attorney, serving Riviera Beach, for guidance in receiving the best care and compensation that you rightfully deserve. Therefore, if you or a loved one are involved in a Riviera Beach overweight truck accident, contact an Overweight Truck Accident Personal Injury Attorney Serving Riviera Beach Today! Turn to Frankl Kominsky for comprehensive legal guidance. Call (561) 800-8000 or use our Contact Form to set up a free consultation.