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Overweight/Overloaded Trucks

New York Attorney for Victims of Big Rig Accidents

A collision with a commercial vehicle can be devastating. Due to the sheer size and weight of a truck, accident victims may suffer catastrophic injuries or tragic death. Although tractor-trailers must comply with state and federal laws related to gross weight limits, drivers and truck companies sometimes choose to overload their vehicles in an effort to increase profits. The risk of harm to others on the road rises dramatically when a truck is overweight. The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC has provided legal guidance for more than a decade to people who were hurt in a preventable truck accident near New York City or elsewhere in the State of New York.

Protect Your Rights after a Truck Crash

Although load limits can vary based upon many factors, including the number of axles on a semi-truck, federal law states a commercial vehicle traveling across state lines may not have an overall gross vehicle weight of more than 80,000 pounds. Carrying too much weight can affect a tractor-trailer driver’s ability to maneuver, and it can damage the vehicle’s brakes or tires. Additionally, an overweight or overloaded truck normally has trouble making sudden stops or avoiding unexpected hazards. In some cases, too much weight can even cause a big rig to jack-knife or roll over.

If an overweight or overloaded semi is involved in a collision, a truck driver or trucking company may be held financially responsible for any harm that a crash victim suffers. In order to recover damages following a tractor-trailer wreck, an injured person must demonstrate that the trucker or business that owns the vehicle was negligent.

To establish negligence, a victim will normally need to prove the driver of a commercial vehicle owed the victim a duty, the trucker breached that duty, the victim’s harm resulted from that breach, and quantifiable damages were incurred as a result. For example, a semi-truck driver has a duty to comply with state and federal industry rules. If he or she cannot stop in time to avoid an accident because the vehicle is carrying too much weight, and someone is hurt, the driver likely will be deemed to have acted negligently. In addition, a trucking company may be held financially responsible for an employee’s actions through the doctrine of vicarious liability. Under this rule, an employer may be required to pay for any damages that resulted from the negligent acts of a worker if they occurred while the employee was acting within the scope of his or her duties and while under the employer’s control.

An individual who was hurt in a collision involving an overweight or overloaded truck may be entitled to recover for his or her lost wages and benefits, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. Certain family members of someone who died in an accident may be eligible to receive compensation for the harm caused by their loved one’s wrongful death.

It is important to note that the timeframe during which a crash victim may file his or her lawsuit is three years from the date of the accident. This is called the statute of limitations. A wrongful death action must be filed with a New York court within two years from the date of the decedent’s death. If a lawsuit is not filed before the applicable statute of limitations expires, a victim likely will be permanently barred from recovering compensation for his or her harm, no matter how severe it is.

Due to state and federal trucking laws, tractor-trailer accidents normally involve distinctive forms of evidence. For example, big rig drivers must document the amount of time they spend behind the wheel each day. Also, on-board computers and other pieces of technology may be utilized by accident investigators to gain information about the events that led up to a truck crash. In order to successfully preserve valuable evidence, an injured person should file his or her claim as soon as possible.

Legal Guidance for New York Residents Injured in Vehicle Collisions

A truck driver who fails to comply with weight limits or other laws can place other travelers in grave danger. The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC provides compassionate and tireless service to those who were hurt in a collision that was caused by an overweight or overloaded tractor-trailer. Experienced truck crash lawyer Michael H. Joseph has worked with victims across New York, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and  Staten Island. If you were hurt in a highway accident, please give us a call toll-free at (877) 580-6636 or contact us online.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph