Overweight Truck Accident Lawyers: Chicago, Illinois
An overloaded or overweight truck accident is a common occurrence on the Chicago highways and main roadways. Unfortunately, many commercial truck companies and drivers overload the cargo on their trucks or fail to secure the loads correctly.
This dangerous practice in the trucking industry can make it challenging for motorists to stop the commercial vehicle because the tractor-trailer becomes extremely unstable.
Heavy commercial trucks have far more momentum than an unloaded truck or passenger vehicle. Overloading the truck makes it challenging to stop and increases the likelihood of an uncontrolled accident when the driver has to swerve or slam on the brakes.
Overloaded tractor-trailers can cause a tire blowout, the inability to steer, or significant brake failure and other serious truck accident. Overweight trucks require significantly more room to come to a complete stop safely.
Illinois State Law Involving Truck Weight
Federal DOT (Department of Transportation), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Illinois State Laws dictate the weight limit that every commercial truck and semi tractor-trailer can carry. Also, the rules regulate precisely how heavy the truck plus its load can weigh on all tires and each axle.
However, weight is not the only factor in how the truck will handle safely on the roadway. Extensive rules and law also govern the distribution of the truck's weight load. Also, there is a maximum weight limit for every vehicle traveling across overpasses, bridges, and roads as a way to prevent damage or their immediate collapse.
Government agencies set up weigh stations along state lines, interstates and freeways. Commercial vehicles must stop at every checkpoint for an inspection and weight check.
Weigh station inspectors check how much cargo every truck has and for heavy loads, illegal freight, falsely documented manifests and travel logs, and the driver's compliance in following Hours of Service rules, regulations and laws.
If the inspector identifies an overloaded or overweight commercial truck, the trucker is not always prevented from traveling on to their destination. Many times, truck drivers are cited and then allowed to return to the roadway. Other times, inspectors will issue the driver an "overweight permit" and allowed to continue.
Overloaded Chicago Truck Accident Causes
Overloaded heavy trucks can cause catastrophic serious accidents and serious injuries in many ways that are not obvious, including:
- Trucks that weigh too much causing one or more tires to burst
- Heavy trucks traveling downhill traveling too fast
- Overloaded commercial vehicles going uphill and moving too slowly pose hazards or potential problems for approaching cars around blind corners
- Heavier weight on a commercial truck requires longer distances to stop
- Added momentum when trucks travel downhill places enormous stress on the brakes, often causing the system to fail
- Overloaded trucks have a raised center of gravity, increasing the potential of a rollover
- Overweight cargo can easily shift from front to back on an overloaded vehicle, lifting the front tires, making it challenging to steer
- Roads, overpasses, and bridges can collapse by overweight trucks and semi tractor-trailers
Responsible Parties When an Overweight Truck Causes an Accident in the Chicagoland Area
In nearly every overweight truck accident, the driver can be held accountable if the weight is not correctly installed, evenly distributed or overloaded. However, other liable parties are often responsible for an overloaded truck accident, either directly or indirectly, and can be held legally accountable in a court of law. These responsible parties could include:
- Trucking company
- Other truck drivers
- Truck loading company
- Government entity including officials at the weigh station that allowed an overloaded truck or semi tractor-trailer to continue traveling
- Shipping companies that may own the trailers
Important Overloaded Truck Facts for Chicago Drivers
- Overloaded trucks and big rig contribute to approximately 5,000 deaths yearly.
- Overloaded trucks injure over 100,000 people annually.
- Overloaded truck accidents cause millions of dollars of damage each time.
- Nearly one in three trucks are riding overweight according to federal standards.
- Overweight large trucks can weight as much as 80,000 pounds.
Legal Remedies Available to Those Injured by an Overloaded Truck in Chicago
Overloaded or overweight truck accidents are almost always fatal because many overweight trucks on the road can weigh over 80 tons, compared to an average midsize automobile weighing two tons or less. The immense weight and size of commercial trucks can instantly crushed victims or cause catastrophic injuries including quadriplegia, spinal injuries, brain trauma, lost limbs and other devastating conditions.