Under federal law, tractor-trailers can have gross vehicle weight ratings—in other words, total weight across the cab, trailer, and cargo combined—of up to 80,000 pounds when traveling over state borders on interstate highways. State law enforces similar restrictions, save for specially permitted trucks under certain circumstances. That might sound like plenty of room to carry anything that needs hauling, and it certainly is—but unfortunately, not every trucking company respects these rules to the extent they should.
There are far too many examples of long-haul truckers carrying illegally heavy loads and causing serious traffic collisions as a direct result. Many overloaded/overweight truck accidents in Orangeburg have life-altering consequences for the regular people involved. If you were recently injured by a trucker who you believe was carrying too much cargo, you may have grounds to take legal action with a skilled truck accident attorney’s help.
Who Is Liable for an Overloaded Truck?
Overweight truck wrecks in Orangeburg and around South Carolina sometimes stem from a third-party supplier who did not follow loading instructions correctly or did not properly secure cargo prior to transit. However, the vast majority of these wrecks are caused by intentional misconduct by trucking companies. These companies are well aware of what federal and state laws say about maximum truck weights, but knowingly disregard those laws to save time and money, putting everyone else on the road at risk.
Unfortunately, it can be challenging to build a strong claim against a trucking company for causing this sort of crash, as someone who has already broken the law often may not shy away from tampering with important evidence. Working closely with a seasoned accident attorney could be key to tracking down relevant information and determining whether evidence like cargo manifests and shipping logs have been doctored to say overweight trucks were supposedly within legal weight limits.
Getting Paid Fairly Within Filing Deadlines
After a crash in Orangeburg involving an overloaded commercial truck, it may be possible for injured survivors to recover for both past and future damages stemming from the accident. This could include compensation for losses like:
- Emergency medical expenses and expected costs of future rehabilitative and maintenance care
- Lost work income, benefits, and/or long-term earning ability
- Personal property damage, including car replacement/repair costs
- Physical discomfort and pain
- Psychological and emotional suffering
- Lost overall quality of life
Even if this sort of wreck results in injuries that will have lifelong repercussions, state law still puts strict time limits on how long injured parties have to file suit over their losses. Per South Carolina Code of Laws § 15-3-530, most prospective personal injury plaintiffs have a maximum of three years after initially getting hurt to begin the litigation process. This is a deceptively small window of time to build a strong case without guidance from capable legal counsel.
Contact an Orangeburg Attorney for Help with an Overloaded/Overweight Truck Accident Claim
Commercial trucks are only designed to carry so much weight, both in terms of the structural integrity of vehicle components and the ability of the driver to safely control their vehicle. Trucks that are loaded with too much cargo violate federal and/or state laws and pose a danger to everyone else on the road.
Assistance from a knowledgeable legal professional could make a world of difference in your ability to proactively pursue compensation for injuries caused by an overloaded/overweight truck accident in Orangeburg. Call today to schedule a legal consultation.