Accidents Caused By Unsecured Loads and Overloaded Trucks
Ever wonder why trucks are lined up along the highway to check in at the weigh station? State law mandates that commercial vehicles need to stop there for inspection. Officials will be checking several things:
- equipment safety, to ensure all of the truck’s systems are in good working order
- adherence to hours of service, a federal regulation limiting daily & weekly driving time
- whether the loaded truck is in compliance with weight limits.
The federal maximum weight for a load is 80,000 pounds. That’s right — All those semis traveling on the road alongside your car can carry loads weighing as much as eight elephants. What happens if that weight shifts? To put it simply, that’s dangerous.
Federal Law Says Truckers Need to Secure What They Haul
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, unsecured loads and road debris caused 440 deaths and 10,000 injuries in more than 51,000 accidents in 2010.
Anything being transported on a flatbed truck needs to be tied down. If a truck is carrying a long load such as timber that extends over the edge of the trailer, the material hanging over the roadway should be marked with flags to alert other drivers.
Federal safety regulations require operators of commercial vehicles to secure their loads. If this isn’t done and the weight shifts, the results can be catastrophic. The driver may lose control of the truck and veer into traffic, the entire vehicle may overturn, or the load could roll onto the highway, causing a road hazard or hitting oncoming cars.
Our Lawyers Ask Questions to Find the Responsible Party
If you are a victim of an accident involving a truck, you’ll need a lawyer to determine if there was negligence and what party would be responsible for a claim. Legal professionals at the Louthian Law Firm can analyze the details of your accident to determine the appropriate parties in a potential lawsuit.
Who’s at fault? It could be any of the following:
- Truck driver – Was an error made? Fatigue? Distraction? DUI?
- Truck manufacturer – Were any parts defective?
- Owner of the trucking company – Was the truck in compliance with federal safety laws?
- Mechanics who repair the truck – Were things done properly?
- Shipper who sent the goods by truck – Hazardous materials? Was the driver aware?
- Government agency responsible for road safety – Bad roads? Poor signals or lighting?
With so many factors to be considered, accident victims should turn to experienced lawyers who will ask the right questions and put together a case that will lead to compensation for their clients’ injuries and any costs associated with the wreck.
Car repairs, medical treatment, missed time at work and lost or reduced income can all be taken into consideration if you’re the victim of an accident involving a truck carrying an unsecured load, and so can compensation for pain and suffering.
Anywhere in South Carolina, Louthian Law Can Help
Several major highways criss-cross the state of South Carolina, meaning drivers around the Palmetto State are sharing the roads with truckers moving merchandise from place to place. If something goes wrong with one of those shipments and a truck causes you to be involved in an accident, turn to the Louthian Law Firm for assistance.
Whether it’s a rollover, a spilled load, or a mechanical failure that caused the accident, someone can be held liable for damages. Determining negligence and contacting the responsible party is our job. Contact us for a free consultation. Our family law firm has been practicing in South Carolina since 1959 and we’ll put our experience to work on your case.
Truck accidents can involve many parties, and an investigation should be started as soon as possible. If multiple defendants are named, things can get complicated, and the dollar figure necessary for a settlement can balloon. You’ll need an excellent lawyer, someone familiar with all the factors that can be involved in a truck accident, someone with an understanding of state and federal laws that may have been violated.
Call our office or fill out our online form to arrange a free consultation. You can rely on the Louthian Law Firm to handle your case while you recover.