Improperly Loaded Truck Trailer and Debris Accident Attorneys
Commercial truck accidents are some of the most devastating because of the sheer size and weight of an 18-wheeler or larger truck. Unfortunately, there are many causes of truck accidents, even outside of driver errors. Fatigue, inattention, and drunk driving can all result in collisions, but poorly maintained and improperly loaded truck trailers are also likely to cause an accident on Kentucky and Ohio roadways.
If a truck accident is caused by an improperly loaded or overloaded trailer, the liability can fall on several different parties. Truck companies, contracted drivers, cargo loading companies, and shipping agencies are all responsible for part of the truck trailer loading process.
Before any trip, a driver must ensure that the trailer has been loaded properly by any contracted agencies such as shipping companies and cargo loading firms. A truck company is required to have written confirmation from their drivers that confirm trucks have been loaded within legal weight limits and that cargo is secured properly so it will not shift during the trip.
Legal weight limits in Ohio are as follows:
- Two axle vehicles with less than four feet between each axle must remain under 24,000 pounds and 34,000 pounds for space greater than 4 feet.
- Three axle vehicles must not exceed 48,000-pound limits.
- 1,000 additional pounds are allowed for each foot of length added between axles
Fines for failing to adhere to these legal limits in Ohio begin at $80 for any weight that exceeds the limits by up to 2,000 pounds. These fines are increased incrementally by $100 for weight overloads between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds, and weights surpassing the legal limits by 5,000 pounds can result in jail time.
These penalties can be severe enough to cost truck companies a lot of money if their trucks are found to exceed legal limits. Yet, many drivers, companies, and/or cargo-loading agencies are responsible for overloading or failing to properly load their trailers, in order to attempt to maximize gains with slightly larger delivery loads.
Though in some cases the truck drivers may be at fault for failing to confirm that their loads are as heavy as listed or loaded properly for a trip, oftentimes a driver can operate a truck unaware that they are creating a dangerous situation for other drivers on the road. Even the most experienced truck drivers, who are driving safely, may experience difficulty operating an overloaded or improperly loaded trailer for a number of reasons.
Overloaded and improperly loaded trailers create accidents due to:
- Reduced rear visibility and increased blind spots when a trailer is overloaded
- Higher risk of rollover when cargo inside the truck is unsecured, causing it to shift as the truck turns
- Jackknifing or rear ending because of increased stopping distances that the truck driver doesn’t expect
- Inability to maintain a lane, or lane drifting, when the momentum of unsecured or overly heavy cargo pushes the truck trailer into another lane
Accidents caused by overloaded trailers can create substantially more devastating property destruction and injury, simply because of the added weight and debris that creates obstacles on the road during an accident. Spilled cargo on the road can be an extremely dangerous hazard that contributes to accidents that happen well after the initial crash.
If you or someone you love was hurt or killed in an accident caused by an improperly loaded trailer or debris from a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost time from work, and emotional trauma. Contact Lawrence & Associates today to consult us for a free evaluation of your claim at our Ohio office at (513) 351-5997 or in Kentucky at (859) 371-5997.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Commercial vehicle accidents generally become complicated cases of liability. Truck companies, drivers, cargo loading and shipping agencies may all be partially at fault. In some cases, insurance and truck companies can even blame injured parties for the accident, citing a broken headlight, failure to use a turn signal, or other minor error as one cause of the accident.
In all truck accident cases, and especially when you are partially at fault, it is extremely important to secure an experienced lawyer.
Ohio and Kentucky operate on the doctrine of comparative negligence, which allows injured parties to seek compensation if they are less than 50 percent at fault for any personal injury accident. A lawyer can help you prove that you were less than half at fault for your accident, and the court will assign you a quantitative percentage of blame which is then deducted from your compensation.
However, when a case involves improperly loaded trailers and cargo debris, your lawyer will have to do a lot of investigative work to build an argument that explores all negligent actions that contributed to the accident. Following paper trails, documenting evidence, collecting witness testimony, and conversing with law enforcement are all standard actions taken by attorneys to help build a strong case for you after a truck accident.
In addition, a lawyer will be able to apply a comprehensive knowledge of transportation law and insurance coverage.
Truck companies and insurance agencies are also well-prepared for truck accidents. Especially in cases where the truck company or driver was intentionally negligent in their inspection or loading duties in order to receive a greater payoff, you will be up against a firm with a lot of money for accident litigation and an aggressive defense. These parties will act quickly after an accident to attempt to minimize the appearance of injury and damages, and to reduce the total payout you would receive as a victim.
Occasionally, insurance or truck company agents will even send a representative to the scene of the accident to offer victims what seems like a substantial payoff. These offers should always be discussed with a lawyer before they are accepted. A lawyer will be usually able to secure a much bigger settlement in court. It is important that you consult with a skilled attorney who can guide you in how to best obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Why Choose Lawrence & Associates?
Lawrence & Associates will fight for your rights in Ohio and Kentucky when you’re up against large companies trying to minimize the appearance of damage in the wake of their negligence. Lawrence & Associates has the resources to conduct large-scale investigations into the causes of your accident and to collect substantial evidence on your behalf.
We understand that after a painful truck accident your priority should be to heal from your injuries. But we will fight for you and your loved ones by pursuing compensation from the reckless parties who created the conditions that caused your accident.
That’s why our attorneys fight diligently for you in court or at the negotiating table to ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Lawrence & Associates is committed to making the legal process as simple and painless as possible for clients who come to trust our judgement as we guide them through their cases. For several years, we have been awarded the designation of a 10.0 Avvo rating because of our success rate and client satisfaction. We were also named a Client’s Choice in 2013 because we were able to secure thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars for our clients throughout a number of personal injury cases.
Justin Lawrence has been awarded in Ohio and Kentucky for his legal advocacy efforts. Thompson Reuters named Justin a Super Lawyer in 2018 and 2019. Justin brings compassion, dedication, and empathy to each of his cases, earning him the respect of his peers across these states and the admiration of many clients.
Contact Lawrence & Associates
After a truck accident caused by an improperly loaded trailer, the most important thing you can do is secure an experienced attorney to represent you against all potentially liable parties. Lawrence & Associates has the skilled advocates you need to stand up against the negligent truck companies and drivers who caused your accident.
Let us begin to evaluate your case with a free consultation today, so we can begin to recover the compensation you need for your injuries. All of our services are offered on a contingency fee basis, so you never pay unless we win your case. Our Kentucky office can be reached at 859-371-5997 and you can contact our Ohio office at 513-351-5997 today.