Can cargo overload impact a negligence claim in a West Palm Beach Florida truck accident?
Florida – June 2, 2021
The United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration estimates over 500,000 truck accidents every year, some of which are caused by issues with a tractor trailer cargo. Florida driver restrictions for trucks carrying property cargo are limited to maximum hours driven; minimum hours off duty; and required rest breaks. Commercial motor operators that drive big trucks carrying cargo are also restricted by the federal government regarding hours of driving over 7/8 consecutive days. The United States Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. part 387, subpart A, mandates minimum levels of financial responsibility to address accident losses. Individuals should contact a truck accident attorney to discuss legal options after an accident involving a big rig, or tanker.
Distinct cargo hazards.
Cargo overload is when a truck is carrying more than the specific maximum weight designed for the truck. A trucking company may engage in this practice for cost containment regarding road time and fuel, but it can be more costly if accidents are caused due to a failure to comply with cargo limitations.
An overloaded truck can cause an accident because:
- the added weight requires longer stopping distances and emergent stopping situations may cause rear-end collision,
- tires may not be able to support the extra weight and result in blowouts limiting driver’s ability to control the large vehicle,
- mechanical components may not be able to bear the weight increasing downhill speeds of a truck and decreasing uphill speeds causing roadway problems for other motorists.
Inadequately secured cargo may shift during the course of travel causing a truck to jackknife, rollover, or become difficult to steer. Cargo that is not secured correctly may spill on a roadway causing a multi-vehicle damage situation, or damages to highway structures, including bridges and tunnels. If an accident is caused by poorly, or overloaded cargo, other parties besides the driver may be held responsible. Experienced Florida truck accident attorneys can be instrumental in damage assessment and compensation after an accident occurs because of cargo load negligence.
Commercial Motor Vehicles must carry additional liability insurance required (Florida Statute 627.7415) Florida Statute 627.7415 to cover combined bodily liability insurance and property damage liability insurance in addition to any other insurance requirements based in part on the weight of their truck. Florida is a “no fault” state and follows the “pure comparative negligence rule” and compensation will be adjusted with percentages of fault assigned to accident parties.
Compensation is based on the severity of injuries, and the percentage of fault assigned to the truck driver, trucking company or third party if they were involved in cargo matters. Damages that victims can sue for include: 1) compensatory damages which are those damages causing economic and non-economic loss to victim; and 2) punitive damages meant to punish the persons being sued.
Hire a lawyer.
Tractor trailer truck accidents involve multiple complex factors that require specific knowledge of the commercial trucking industry, experience in civil injury laws, and sophisticated investigative capabilities to collect evidence and analyze it to support a negligence claim. Contact a truck accident lawyer if you have been in an accident in West Palm Beach Florida.
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