Commercial trucks are meant to carry a certain amount of weight. If overloaded, these unwieldy vehicles could cause accidents or even tip over, resulting in catastrophic consequences. Overloaded/overweight truck accidents in Elgin often involve multiple vehicles and leave other motorists severely injured.
If you were hurt in a commercial truck wreck, you may have options for recovering compensation for all your losses. At the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd., a dedicated attorney could advise you on holding the truck operator or company liable for your damages.
State & Federal Weight Limitations for Commercial Vehicles
According to federal law, commercial tractor-trailers cannot exceed 80,000 pounds when driving on interstate highways. Illinois uses the same weight limit for semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. Under state regulations, single-axle trucks cannot exceed 20,000 pounds. The state also limits the weight of each semi truck’s tandem axle, the device that links the trailer and tractor, at 32,000 pounds.
However, trucking companies often overload their vehicles to cut down on costs. Those that violate the weight limits may face repercussions at the state and federal levels.
Risks of Overloaded Trucks
When a commercial truck is over the weight limitations, it becomes challenging to maneuver. The majority of the weight is located at the trailer’s rear, which is too far from the driver seat. Large vehicles naturally take longer to stop, turn, and accelerate. Overweight trucks are also more likely to jackknife or roll over, which can lead to severe property damage and injuries to anyone impacted.
When overloaded, commercial tractor-trailers may:
- Sustain blown tires from the extra weight
- Cause asphalt roads to crumble
- Increase the risk of overpass and bridge failure
- Allow debris to fly off the truck
The latter issue occurs when flatbed trucks carry too much cargo that strains bungee cords and other anchoring. Debris can fly off the truck and hit other cars and structures, thus damaging them. All of these problems increase the risk of accidents and injuries to nearby drivers and passengers.
Liability for Overloaded Truck Crashes in Elgin
The trucking or shipping company is responsible for loading a commercial truck safely and effectively. Staff should undergo training in proper loading procedures, as poorly secured items can cause problems. Employees loading trucks should also know how to handle hazardous cargo, such as flammable or explosive materials.
If a shipping or trucking company does not train their employees correctly, the company could be held liable in the event of a trucking accident caused by overloaded cargo. However, staff members could also be held accountable for negligent behavior while loading the vehicle, such as distraction, carelessness, or intoxication. The local attorneys at our firm could investigate the circumstances of an overweight/overloaded trucking collision to see who may be at fault.
Consult an Elgin Attorney on Overloaded/Overweight Truck Accidents
There are many state and federal weight regulations for tractor-trailers to prevent serious accidents. However, when companies or employees violate these standards, injured victims may have legal options for holding them accountable and recovering significant compensation.
Victims of overweight/overloaded truck accidents in Elgin should speak with the skilled legal team at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. Our attorneys have over thirty years of experience handling these types of claims and could advise you on the most effective strategy for getting the damages you deserve. We are here to review your case and provide the legal counsel you need, so call us today to learn more.