Even without any cargo on board, commercial tractor-trailers are typically the largest and heaviest vehicles on any road they travel down, and especially compared to the average commuter car, truck, or SUV. There are strict legal and physical limitations on how much of a load a single truck can carry without the vehicle as a whole becoming unsafe—and unfortunately, it is far from uncommon for trucking companies to ignore those limitations in the interest of saving money and time in transit.

A truck carrying too much cargo is not only harder for its operator to control but can also cause much greater harm to anyone involved in a collision with that truck stemming from its excessive weight. Because of this, it can be especially important to have help from a seasoned truck accident attorney from Whetstone Perkins & Fulda in pursuing comprehensive civil compensation after an overloaded/overweight truck accident in Walterboro.

What Does It Mean for a Truck to Be “Overweight”?

Under federal law, the maximum “gross vehicle weight rating”—in other words, the maximum weight across the cab, trailer, and cargo combined—for a commercial tractor-trailer traveling on interstate highways or across state lines is 80,000 pounds. Additionally, with the underlying assumption being that the truck’s total weight is distributed equally across all its axle groups, no truck can travel on the interstate or across state lines with more than 20,000 pounds of weight on a single axle or more than 34,000 pounds on one tandem axle group.

South Carolina state law also enforces these same restrictions and weight limits on trucks traveling in-state or on state highways and local roads. However, trucking companies may apply for special short-term permits to carry more than 80,000 pounds of weight on pre-determined routes within state borders, provided the vehicles used meet a few additional structural requirements as well. When a truck driver causes an accident in Walterboro due to being overloaded or overweight, our team could review the details of the event to determine who may be held liable for the breach in duty.

Assigning Civil Liability for Overloading a Truck

Both individual truck drivers and companies that own and operate commercial vehicles have “duties of care” requiring them to act responsibly and lawfully in the interest of protecting other people on public roads from avoidable harm. If a truck driver or trucking company puts a vehicle on the road that is heavier than it is legally allowed to be, they have “breached” this duty by virtue of violating state or federal trucking laws, and if that “breach of duty” directly leads to an otherwise preventable wreck, they will have met all the criteria to be held liable for ensuing damages under the legal theory of “negligence.”

In most situations, the party most directly to blame for an overloaded or overweight truck getting into an accident around Walterboro is the trucking company involved, whether they inadvertently allowed an unsafe truck to go out on a route or knowingly and deliberately violated the law. That said, there are sometimes other parties who hold some liability for this sort of incident as well—for example, a third-party supplier who did not make sure they loaded the right cargo or did not properly secure cargo before transit.

Let Our Walterboro Attorneys Help With an Overloaded/Overweight Truck Accident Claim

Overweight trucks are harder to stop, more difficult to steer safely around turns, and can generate a deadly amount of force if they collide with another car. Put simply, state and federal laws governing commercial truck weights exist for very good reasons, and anyone who breaks those laws through accident or intent should be held legally liable for any harm they cause other people through their misconduct.

Building a strong civil claim around an overloaded/overweight truck accident in Walterboro is almost always easier with assistance from an experienced truck accident lawyer. Call Whetstone Perkins & Fulda today to schedule an initial meeting.

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