Overweight / Overloaded Trucks and Georgia Collisions
Due to their massive weight, large commercial trucks have significant potential to cause harm on the road. Commercial trucks have a maximum design weight known as the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The truck’s axels, frame, powertrain, suspension, and brake system are factored into a calculation of the maximum weight a truck can carry safely. Overweight and overloaded trucks are more likely to cause a collision. If you are hurt in a collision involving an overweight or overloaded truck, Michael Braun, an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney, can guide you through a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. We serve accident victims in Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton Counties, and other Atlanta-area communities.
An overweight or overloaded truck can cause a collision for a number of reasons. The added load creates extra pressure on the tires, which can cause them to burst. The added load can also impact a driver’s ability to steer. This makes a particularly big difference in mountainous terrain or on narrow roads. More force is required to brake enough to stop an overweight truck. A truck driver may not realize the amount of force necessary in time to avoid an accident, or the truck may “jack-knife.” Jack-knifing happens if an 18-wheel truck and its trailer skid such that the trailer swings and stops to form a 90 degree angle with the truck. If a rig jack-knifes after speeding, it is likely that the vehicle will roll over.
Trucks that Break State and Federal Regulations
State and federal law govern how much weight a commercial truck may carry. When these rules are broken and an accident like the ones described above happen, both the trucking company and the driver may be held responsible. Not only that, but they can be held responsible under the legal theory of negligence per se. Under these circumstances, the judge can instruct the jury that if they find the truck driver broke state or federal law, they must also find negligence.
Most truck collisions involve situations in which the driver was employed by a corporation or business with significant resources. This means that they will likely have a strong defense team looking to undercut the plaintiff’s version of events. However, it also means that a plaintiff may sue the corporation or business under a theory of vicarious liability, or negligent hiring or supervision.
Under section 391.21 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, trucking companies must maintain a “driver qualification file.” This includes: information about a driver’s prior licenses; the driver’s experience; crash history from the last three years; traffic tickets from the last three years; explanation of any past license suspension; and a list of previous employers over the past three years, including why they left. If a truck company fails to maintain an appropriate driver qualification file, this could be the basis of a plaintiff’s negligent hire or supervision case against the driver’s employer.
Find an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Atlanta
In order to successfully pursue a truck collision lawsuit, your lawyer must have an in-depth understanding of state and federal trucking regulations. Often the truck driver is backed by his or her employer and its insurer. Even though the driver may have caused the accident, he or she will be supported by a team of lawyers looking for technicalities and admissions from you in order to get out of compensating you for the full extent of your harm. It is important to retain your own trustworthy Atlanta truck accident lawyer to build a strong case and make sure you recover the damages you need. Our office serves clients who have been injured in Jonesboro, Decatur, and surrounding areas. Contact us at (770) 421-6888 or via our online form.