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 trucks cargo. Florida driver restrictions for trucks carrying property cargo are limited to maximum hours driven; minimum hours off duty; and required rest breaks. 49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed. If you have been in an accident with a tractor trailer caused by cargo overload contact a professional truck accident attorney to help.
Distinct hazards related to large trucks and overloaded, or poorly secured cargo.
Overloading cargo is when a truck is carrying more than the specific maximum weight designed for the truck. A trucking company may do this to avoid making more than one trip that would cost more road time and fuel.
An overloaded truck can cause an accident because:
- the added weight requires longer stopping distances and if an emergent stopping situation arises, rear-end collisions may result;
- tires may not be able to support the extra weight and cause blowout situations making a driving situation hazardous as a driver tries to control the truck;
- mechanical components may not be able to bear the weight increasing downhill speeds of 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.
Cargo is an important safety consideration for trucking companies, and is often dependent solely on the people who load and/or drive these large trucks that already have limited maneuverability in certain traffic patterns. If an accident is caused by poorly or overloaded cargo, other parties besides the driver may be held responsible and that may impact the way damages are assessed from an accident.
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” meaning that if you were responsible for any part of the activities that led to your injury, the compensation you will receive will be adjusted in accordance with the percentage of fault assigned to you. Florida has a two (2) year statute of limitations for property damage, personal injury and wrongful death claims.
If all of the elements of negligence are present, including an owed duty of care; a breach in the duty of care; and causation due to the breach resulting in injuries or loss then an attorney can begin legal action. Wrongful death claims are based on the ability to prove negligence.
Compensation for damages.
Compensation is based on the severity of injuries, damages 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.
Legal counsel may prove helpful.
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 most strongly support a negligence claim. Contact an experienced lawyer if you have been in an accident in Sarasota Florida.