Tractor-trailers haul all types of goods and services across the country. While most trucks arrive at their destination, not all do. Some break down or are rerouted because of construction or poor weather. When an accident occurs, however, more than the cargo is at stake. If you’ve been injured in a semi crash, an overweight truck could have been the cause. When that’s the case, you need help from Albuquerque overloaded truck accident lawyers.
When a truck’s load exceeds weight limits, which are set at state and federal levels, the truck driver and other motorists are at risk of getting into an accident. An overloaded truck can easily topple, or the driver could lose control. No matter what happened, victims deserve compensation to cover their accident-related losses.
Filing a truck accident claim can be a lengthy process, but it’s worth it when you’re looking at medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Part of building a case involves proving the truck was overloaded. To do so, your lawyer will start by looking at the regulations for loading and unloading trucks.
Federal Regulations for Loading and Unloading Trucks
According to the Federal Highway Administration, the maximum gross vehicle weight (GVW) for a tractor-trailer in New Mexico is 86,400 pounds. The maximum axle weight for a single truck is 21,600 pounds, while a tandem truck can weigh up to 34,200 pounds. Those weight requirements apply to all interstate highways.
In addition to the actual weight limits trucking companies and truck drivers are supposed to abide by, there are also set rules for loading and unloading. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has jurisdiction over off-highway loading and unloading. This includes locations like warehouses, plants, retail locations, wharves, piers, shipyards, and grain handling facilities.
OSHA’s regulations control wiring methods, personal protective equipment, guarding floor and wall openings, and the control of hazardous energy. Those rules ensure trucks are loaded properly and are safe to drive. Certain industries, like logging and meatpacking, face specific hazards that OSHA addresses.
Your Albuquerque attorney will have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and regulations that apply to your claim. The applicable laws can be used to strengthen your claim and prove that negligence played a role in your wreck.
The Dangers of an Overloaded Tractor-Trailer
If a big rig weighs more than it’s supposed to, a number of problems arise. For one, the vehicle will not perform the way it’s supposed to. For example, traveling uphill and downhill becomes difficult. While going uphill, the truck may go considerably slower than what is safe because the engine doesn’t have the power to get the vehicle to the top efficiently. Traveling downhill becomes even more dangerous because it may be difficult to slow down or come to a complete stop if necessary.
When a truck weighs too much, it’s possible the cargo isn’t loaded properly either. Loose cargo that falls off the truck while it’s moving turns into road hazards for other drivers. If a smaller vehicle isn’t able to maneuver out of the way in time, hitting the object could cause a catastrophic wreck. Improperly loaded cargo can also lead to a rollover accident. If there are cars traveling next to the trailer when it rolls over, the consequences have the potential to be fatal.
Determining Liability for an Overloaded Truck Accident
Determining who’s at fault for an overweight truck crash isn’t always easy. It’s possible there are multiple parties at fault. When we review your case, we’ll start by looking at the driver and the trucking company. There are a number of resources we can use to gather evidence.
Logbooks at the location the truck was loaded can give an indication as to how much the vehicle weighed upon departure. After an accident, the black box can also be useful. A black box is a device that calculates what the vehicle is doing and when. It will have a record of events like slamming on the brakes or jackknifing. Your attorneys will be able to identify violations with that information and use it to support your case.
When you work with a lawyer, they’ll also have access to accident reconstructionists who can research the wreck and create a play-by-play of what happened. With all the evidence compiled, you’ll have a claim that proves you’re owed compensation.
How an Attorney Can Help
When you’ve been injured in a tractor-trailer crash, recovery can seem far away. Fortunately, an Albuquerque overloaded truck accident lawyer can aid in expediting your recovery by getting you the monetary award you need to move forward comfortably.
To get started, schedule a case review with Buckingham Barrera Law Firm today. We’ll listen to your side of the story and determine if there are grounds to proceed with a legal claim. If there are and you decide to move forward, we’ll conduct a thorough investigation to prove you were injured in an accident that never should have happened.