Overweight and Overloaded Trucks
Overweight and overloaded trucks pose elevated dangers to motorists on Illinois roads. Not only do these vehicles have a decreased steering and stopping capability, but also they pose a higher risk of rollover crashes, due to their higher and heavier center of gravity. If you or someone close to you was injured in an accident involving an overweight or overloaded truck, you need to reach out to a skilled Wheaton or Schaumburg truck accident attorney who can help you recover the compensation to which you may be entitled for your harm. We understand how to navigate these potentially complex types of claims.Holding a Trucker Liable for Injuries Caused by an Overweight or Overloaded Truck
Both federal and state laws put certain weight restrictions on trucks. These weight limits are designed to keep trucks at safe weights as they drive on the road. Under Illinois law, a tractor trailer’s weight limit is based on a formula to measure and weigh different truck sizes and axle configurations. The amount of weight allowed per axle is 20,000 pounds. As a result, a truck with two axles is limited to 40,000 pounds. When a truck has tandem axles, the number of feet between the axles determines how much load distribution is permitted between them. The limit for a tandem axle is 32,000 pounds. For even the biggest trucks, with more axles, the weight limit is 80,000 pounds in Illinois. This is the same as the federal limit.
There are a number of dangers associated with driving a truck that is overweight, including an increased downhill speed, a decreased speed driving uphill, a decreased stopping capability, a longer braking distance than other trucks, and a higher possibility of a rollover.
If you have been injured due to an overweight or overloaded truck, or due to another form of negligence like failing to take blind spots into account, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim. In order to win on an injury claim, the plaintiff must establish the following elements:
- The plaintiff was owed a duty by the defendant to drive a truck with a proper, balanced load;
- The defendant breached this duty by driving an overweight or overloaded truck;
- The defendant’s breach in driving the overweight or overloaded truck was a direct and proximate cause of the accident; and
- The plaintiff suffered injuries as a result.
In certain instances, you might also be able to sue the truck driver’s employer through the legal concept of vicarious liability. This is appropriate when a truck driver’s negligence occurred within the scope of employment. A driver acts within the scope of employment if their conduct furthers the employer’s business in any manner. For instance, if the driver of an overweight or overloaded truck was making a delivery for the employer at the time of the crash, the employer may be liable as well. Put another way, the truck driver’s employer may be accountable for the negligence of the employee if the accident took place while the employee was on the job.
If negligence is established, a plaintiff can recover a variety of damages. Some of these damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, loss of future earnings, and property damage. The exact amount of damages that a plaintiff will be able to obtain in a truck or car accident case will depend on the nature and extent of the injuries sustained.Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Wheaton or Schaumburg
Trucks that exceed safe weight limits are a serious concern in Illinois and throughout the United States. If you have been hurt in a truck accident caused by an overweight or overloaded truck, we can help you pursue compensation from anyone who was responsible. Whether a truck was properly loaded is not always immediately clear, so it is important to have a skilled attorney on your side who can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your case. Other factors also may have played a role, such as driver fatigue caused by excessive time behind the wheel. We also represent people in cities such as Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Lombard, Villa Park, Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, and Lemont. To speak with one of our lawyers in detail, do not hesitate to call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.