Giant trucks are a common sight on California freeways, interstates, and city boulevards. Big rigs keep the supply chain moving, but these trucks also pose real risks to the safety of people in cars and SUVs, on motorcycles and bikes, and those traveling on foot.
Truck drivers might allow themselves to become distracted and lose sight of the traffic ahead. They may step on the gas to make a deadline on the other side of the state and take the safety of everyone on the roads for granted.
Sometimes it’s the loads their big rigs pull that are the true dangers. The weight of a truck’s freight certainly factors into the severity of any collision. But the positioning of that weight also factors into many California truck accidents. An overweight or unbalanced truck might cause a big rig’s driver to lose control and roll into a devastating crash.
Overweight Truck Accident Dangers in California
The dangers that large trucks present on California roadways like Interstate 5 and Highway 99 start in the driver’s seat. Truck drivers are susceptible to distractions on their trips. Their cell phones are the biggest threat to traffic safety. Their failures to stay fully focused and awake on long journeys also factor into many accidents.
The shape and size of semi-trucks make controlling them and braking safely challenging tasks at times. And what doesn’t help in some instances is the loads they carry. A truck that’s loaded beyond safe (and legal limits) becomes harder to keep in the lane and harder to slow down for a red light.
A big rig that’s been set up with an unbalanced load is also harder for a truck driver to steer and keep on the road. Overturned trucks are a common result. Flat-bed trailers can also lose their loads and send debris down on vehicles.
Truckingsafety.org found that around 30% of tractor-trailers and dump trucks on our nation’s roads are running overweight. Researchers also found that in a single year one out of eight traffic fatalities involved a truck.
The threats to you and your passengers in smaller vehicles are clear. But knowing how to hold a truck driver and the company they work for accountable after you’ve been hurt is absolutely essential for your recovery.
Who’s Responsible for Unbalanced Big Rig Accidents?
As with most big rig accidents, blame and liability often fall to the truck driver and the trucking company involved. There are cases where a truck part or design flaw causes a highway accident, and under certain circumstances, a truck manufacturer is accountable for the hardships victims suffer.
In a truck accident involving an overweight payload or dangerously unbalanced freight, there is an additional liability in accidents.
- Truck Drivers – Truck drivers may work for themselves and be in charge of loading their own freight. If they violate weight limits or incorrectly stack a payload and an accident occurs, they are liable for helping victims through recovery.
- Trucking Companies – A truck may be traveling at a prohibited weight. An overweight truck is usually a misdemeanor and fines for offenses are very minor. Trucking business owners may not fear these fines. But if their negligence of truck weight restrictions gets someone hurt or killed, they might face having to fully support victims for months or over a lifetime.
- Third-Party Loaders – Trucks are sometimes loaded at manufacturing plants and inspected by loaders working for the company. These loaders may make a mistake or be asked to overload a tractor-trailer. When accidents occur, the loaders and their employers could be fully responsible.
- Multiple Parties – Injured victims filing a claim against just one commercial insurance provider run the risk of hitting caps on coverage. The policy limits may quickly run out, especially on the basic coverage from a single big rig driver. Victims can be left to pay whatever insurance doesn’t cover. When several parties are liable for an accident, a claim against multiple insurance companies gives victims a better chance of securing full financial support. A California Truck Accident Lawyer works to identify all parties who may bear fault and seeks full compensation from them on behalf of victims.
What Can I Receive Compensation for After an Accident with an Overweight Big Rig?
After suffering serious injuries in a California Truck Accident, you should expect full support for your recovery, no matter how long that takes.
You’ll be demanding compensation for every hardship you’ve faced. Some of these damages are economic in nature, such as the bills your receive for your medical treatment. Some damages are non-economic, such as the emotional toll a frightening and devastating big rig accident can take. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms are all possible as you experience a change in lifestyle due to your injury.
These are just a few of the factors that can earn you and your family compensation after an accident:
- All medical recovery costs
- Physical therapy/medical equipment
- Permanent disability/disfigurement long term support
- Physical pain and emotional trauma
- Travel for medical treatment
- Lost wages from missing work
- Loss of consortium (Being without the support of a spouse, partner, family member, etc.)
Contact a California Truck Accident Lawyer
Collisions with commercial vehicles like trucks differ from normal traffic accidents because more than one party may be liable for your injuries. The truck driver and the company that owns the big rig could be fully accountable.
There are often more insurance companies involved, but that doesn’t mean they will make it easy to secure a fair settlement. Having a personal injury lawyer fighting for your rights can shield you from insurance tactics meant to frustrate you and rob you of compensation.
To find out who exactly should be held responsible for the pain you’ve endured, contact an experienced California Truck Accident Lawyer. Maison Law offers a consultation at no charge or obligation to you or your family. It’s a risk-free way to determine what your injury may be worth and how to demand what’s fair.