We’ve all experienced the uncertainty of sharing the road with large trucks. Non-commercial vehicles simply aren’t equipped to deal with things like cargo falling into the roadway or a collision with a swerving tractor-trailer. Truck accidents involving these sorts of hazards happen all too frequently, leaving destruction in their wake.
WHAT ARE OVERLOADING AND IMPROPER LOADING?
Two common causes of truck accidents are overloading and improper loading. Overloading is when a truck carries more weight than it can handle. This can cause the driver to lose control or the truck to tip over or fold into itself, which is known as jackknifing. Improper loading is when cargo is secured improperly or is unevenly distributed in the trailer. This also causes drivers to lose control and has the added risk of cargo falling into the roadway.
Thankfully, the law recognizes these dangers. Both state and federal laws regulate trucking cargo, so when these laws are broken and cause an accident, it can form the basis of a lawsuit.
FILING A LAWSUIT
Drivers considering a lawsuit should first understand New York’s lawsuit threshold. New York is a no-fault state. This basically means New York wants insured drivers to first turn to their own no-fault insurance benefits and only pursue a lawsuit if it’s absolutely necessary. The lawsuit threshold defines this necessity as:
- Having a sufficiently serious injury
- Being uninsured
- Having covered expenses exceeding $50,000 dollars
- Sustaining injuries resulting in death
Drivers should also know that holding the responsible party liable is possible, but challenging.
First, many parties can be held responsible if an improperly loaded or overloaded cargo causes an accident, including:
- Truck owner
- Trucking company
- Merchants shipping or receiving the goods
Second, there are laws that formally require these parties to follow specific rules. This creates an objective basis for showing someone did something wrong. For example, a New York state law says the maximum weight for a single-axle truck is twenty-thousand, four-hundred pounds. If a truck heavier than this causes an accident, the fact that the truck was allowed to travel at this weight establishes someone’s wrongdoing.
Third, there are many potential sources of evidence. Records of cargo weight are usually kept by the merchants, the trucking company, and the truck driver. Records are also created when trucks stop at weigh stations.
Winning these types of cases is challenging. It isn’t always apparent who should actually be sued. Moreover, the web of state and federal laws restricting truck cargo can be very difficult to interpret. Finally, gathering evidence is a monumental task, requiring significant resources and know-how.
At Rosenblum Law, we have spent decades fighting and winning these types of cases. Our unrivaled experience and extensive resources make us an invaluable tool to drivers hoping to be fully compensated for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by overloading or improper loading, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.