Overweight and Overloaded Trucks
Tractor trailers can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The extreme weight of these and other commercial vehicles can make them dangerous even when they comply with legal weight limits. If a trucking company overloads its trucks, making them difficult to control or stop, innocent people may suffer. The Atlanta truck accident lawyers of The Angell Law Firm have the experience to fight negligent trucking companies to get help for Georgians injured in truck accidents.Overloaded and Overweight Trucks Are More Dangerous
A truck that is overloaded with cargo is more difficult to maneuver, control, and stop. These characteristics make accidents with overloaded trucks more likely and more dangerous. According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in 2012, 153 people died in Georgia in accidents that involved at least one large truck. Fortunately, a person injured or the family of someone who died in a truck accident may be able to recover compensation for her injuries.Negligent Trucking Companies May be Held Accountable
A person injured in an accident with an overweight tractor trailer may file a negligence lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the accident. To prevail in such a lawsuit, Georgia law requires plaintiffs to prove three elements:
- The trucking company or other defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff;
- The defendant breached that duty; and
- The defendant’s actions — the breach — proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
All trucking companies have a duty to behave reasonably, which necessarily involves complying with all state and federal laws and knowing the weight limits applicable to its trucks. A trucking company that overloads its trucks, even unintentionally, has breached this duty. If the overloaded cargo contributes to the cause of an accident that injures other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians, the trucking company can be held liable for damages.
It is extremely important for a person injured in a truck accident to contact an attorney as soon as practicable after the accident. It is unlikely that the injured person will know that the cause of the accident was attributable to the truck’s weight. An experienced truck accident attorney will conduct a thorough investigation by examining cargo records, driver logs, and other evidence to pinpoint the cause. The sooner your lawyer can request those records, the better the chances that they will not be lost, deleted, or destroyed.Successful Plaintiffs May be Entitled to Damages
If a plaintiff can prove by a preponderance of the evidence the elements of a negligence claim, the jury may award damages. Some damages are meant to make the plaintiff whole in terms of the direct financial costs of the accident. Medical bills, lost wages, and property damage are some things that fall into this category. Other types of damages compensate the plaintiff for her pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In some cases plaintiffs may be allowed to collect punitive damages to punish defendants who acted with a conscious disregard for the consequences of their behavior. Ask a knowledgeable lawyer about the damages to which you may be entitled.Seek the Compensation You Deserve
If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor trailer you have rights under Georgia law. An experienced attorney can help you decide whether filing a lawsuit or pursuing some other type of compensation is best for you. The Atlanta truck accident attorneys of The Angell Law Firm have litigated truck accident cases for countless Georgians. Call (678) 648-7765 or visit our contact page to schedule a free case evaluation.