Overloaded Truck Accidents
An accident with a semi isn’t always fatal; sometimes the driver simply loses control of the truck and veers into passing cars. If you’ve been hit by a driver who couldn’t control his semi, odds are good that it happened because of overloading.
Why Overloaded Semis Are a Problem
Truckers get paid based on how quickly they can transport a certain amount of goods from one place to another. There are two ways to game this system: drive faster, and load your truck with more goods than it was designed to carry. There are laws against doing both of these things, but many truckers and trucking companies are willing to break them if they’re behind schedule or behind quota.
When a truck has too much weight, it is much harder for the driver to operate the semi or keep it under control in situations like high winds or tight turns. Overloading also shortens the life of the truck, since the engine is under more strain trying to haul a heavier load at a high speed. This can cause mechanical problems with the truck, making it, once again, harder for the trucker to control and operate.
Overloading increases the risk of tire failure, brake failure, and transmission problems. Overloaded trucks also need more time to come to a full stop, which means the driver may misgauge the distance at which he needs to start braking in order to maintain safety. Finally, when a driver makes a sudden turn, the load shifts in the back. The heavier the load, the more likely it is that the driver will lose control of the truck.
Long story short – if you were in an accident involving a semi, the odds are quite high that the problem was related to overloading the semi, which really should be investigated.
What To Do if you suspect a Truck is Overloaded
To avoid the accident altogether, give semis a wide berth and pass as quickly as possible. If you notice that a semi up ahead is having problems maintaining control – if it’s weaving all over the road, drifting toward the center lane, or taking the curves too wide – you can call highway patrol and report the truck driver for impaired driving or potentially overloading. If at all possible, try to pass such trucks on a straight stretch with no adverse conditions, and keep a lane between you and the semi if one is available.
If you are in an accident, make sure to get the truck’s number, the driver’s name, the trucking company’s name, the trucking company’s insurance provider, and the license plate number. Call 911 and get a police officer at the scene and file an accident report. Seek medical attention if you need it, and get photographs of your injuries and any damage to your vehicle as soon as it’s reasonable and safe to do so.
When you file your report, ask that the police officer investigate the possibility that the truck was overloaded. Call your own insurance company and explain your suspicions to them as well; they’re the ones who will contact the trucking company’s insurance, and they will want to have that information available. Also be sure your insurance company knows that an accident report was filed with the police; they can use that information to be sure your claim is fulfilled.
If you have any trouble getting damages for your accident, get a professional lawyer involved to look after your rights and investigate any possible negligence on the part of the trucker or the trucking company.