Overweight / Overloaded Trucks
Overloaded tractor-trailers can cause serious accidents that result in devastating and life-threatening injuries, particularly to the non-truck driver. Knoxville truck accident lawyer Mark C. Hartsoe is committed to helping you if you were injured in a tractor-trailer accident. Mr. Hartsoe has been representing victims in personal injury cases for over twenty years, and over the past ten years, has focused a large part of his practice on tractor-trailer accident cases. He understands the complex nature of these accidents, and knows the steps necessary to ensure that you seek the maximum recovery for your injuries. Contact our office today to discuss how we can help you.Overweight / Overloaded Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Overweight or overloaded tractor-trailers pose a major threat to other motorists. Trucking companies are under pressure to deliver goods quickly and cheaply. They may resort to overloading tractor-trailers as a result. An overloaded truck may shift in weight during lane changes or other turns, causing a driver to lose control of the truck.
While an overloaded truck is itself a danger on the road, other factors increase the likelihood that overloading will cause a serious accident. A recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found several driver-related factors that contributed to tractor-trailer accidents, including:
- Failure to stay in the proper lane
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Any of these factors combined with an overloaded truck raises the odds that an accident will occur, and also increases the severity of the injuries that may result from it. Recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that while traffic fatalities overall have decreased, deaths in truck accidents have increased. According to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were over eighty deaths attributed to truck accidents in 2012 alone.Liability and Compensation for Overloaded Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Tennessee law dictates the gross weight for trucks and tractor-trailers in the state. Several state and federal regulations also outline the proper procedures for safe loading of tractor-trailers. Despite the law, tractor-trailers are often still overloaded in an effort to deliver materials as quickly and cheaply as possible.
In the case of tractor-trailers, several parties must exercise a duty of care when they operate the vehicle and load materials onto the trucks. If an overloaded tractor-trailer gets into an accident, a victim of the accident must show that a party:
- Owed a duty of care;
- Breached that duty; and
- Caused injuries as a result of his or her breach.
Depending on who breached their duty, a victim may have a claim against more than one party. For example, the driver may be accountable for injuries if he was negligent in operating the vehicle. The driver’s employer may be liable if it overloaded the truck. Sometimes another party is responsible for loading, in which case, an accident victim would have a claim against that person or entity. It is also important to determine what insurance coverage any of the responsible parties may have, as this is a key potential source of recovery.
Given the special complexity of commercial truck accident cases, it is crucial that you retain an attorney with experience in this area. Truck accident investigation differs from car accident investigation in terms of the kind of evidence that must be collected (e.g. trucking logs), the multiple parties it must be sought from, and the expert analysis that may be involved in determining and proving the cause of the accident.Compensation and Recovery
Tractor-trailer accidents can result in serious injuries that require extensive medical care. If you were involved in a tractor-trailer accident, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries and lost income from the person or entity responsible for the accident. Since more than one person or entity may be liable, it is crucial to gather all the facts and relevant evidence quickly and thoroughly to determine who is at fault.
If your relative was involved in a fatal tractor-trailer accident, you may file a wrongful death claim against the parties whose negligent actions caused his or her death. You can potentially recover for funeral expenses, medical bills, and loss of companionship.Committed to Helping You
Knoxville personal injury attorney Mark C. Hartsoe has handled numerous truck accident cases over the span of his decades-long career. He understands the complexity of these cases, and is prepared to act promptly to safeguard your rights. Mr. Hartsoe can go to the scene of the accident to gather information, interview witnesses, and fight to hold the proper parties accountable for your injuries. If you were injured in a tractor-trailer accident, call us today at (865) 524-5657 or contact us online for a free consultation.