Earlier this month all lanes of Interstate 195 north in Richmond were closed after a tractor trailer overturned. The crash occurred when the tractor trailer entered a curve, shifting the weight of the trailer and causing it to overturn, according to the Virginia State Police. The driver received minor injuries, and was ticketed for an equipment violation for balled tires. Damage to the tractor trailer caused a small fuel spill. In many transport cases, the load may shift during the course of travel causing a truck to jackknife, rollover or become difficult to steer, which may have been the case in Richmond. Contact an attorney for counsel on the best course of action.

Cargo problems can negatively impact traffic.

Cargo-related issues cause many of the truck accidents referenced by the United States Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Administration in the over 500,000 estimated each year.  Cargo is an important safety consideration for trucking companies, because it is often dependent solely on the people who load and/or drive these large trucks that already have limited maneuverability in certain traffic patterns.  When an accident is caused by poorly or overloaded cargo, or because of poor tire conditions supporting the weight of the cargo, other parties besides the driver may be held responsible for damages from an accident.

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: 1) the added weight requires longer stopping distances; 2) tires may not be able to support the extra weight and cause blowout situations; 3) mechanical components may not be able to bear the weight increasing downhill speeds and decreasing uphill speed of a truck, and most importantly 4) a shift in cargo weight could cause an overturn or jackknife situation.

Responsible party to accident.

Responsibility for accidents where only the rig itself was involved and its driver injured will fall back to the insurance of the driver and/or trucking company and is dependent on truck ownership, and if the driver was an employee of a trucking company or an independent contractor.  Virginia vehicle insurance law and personal injury litigation could be initiated if there was a  case for legal action to recover damages to the truck,  injuries to its driver, or lost cargo expenses above the insurance amounts.

Evidence matters.

Evidence that may help to support a claim for damages and negligence includes:

  1. Testimony of witnesses and injured party;
  2. Trucking company or driver’s admissions of fault directly after the accident or sometime later (person loading the truck);
  3. Crash scene photographs;
  4. Safety reports on vehicles involved in the accident completed before and after the accident (the wear on the tires should have been noticed).
  5. Blood alcohol tests of other drivers, or hospital blood tests that reveal intoxication of some sort related to drugs or alcohol.
  6. Cell phone records to make sure drivers were not texting or making calls at the time of the accident causing a distracted driver situation.

Contact a lawyer.

An experienced attorney at Burnett & Williams can make sure that accident victims seek the necessary insurance amounts to cover all  losses resulting from a truck accident. Civil action may be initiated to seek damages for present and future loss of income, related medical bills, damages to the vehicle, psychological harm, and bodily injury, as well as pain and suffering in some instances.

Burnett & Williams, Personal Injury Attorneys

6 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: (804) 415-4531