Truck crashes can cause serious, often permanent injuries for drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved. Many of these accidents happen when tractor-trailers are overloaded or have unsecured loads, causing debris to fall off. If you or a loved one has been hurt because of an overweight or overloaded truck, you should not hesitate to protect your rights. At the Wolfe Law Firm, Elkins truck accident lawyer Dorwin J. Wolfe understands the risks and challenges that arise in the aftermath of a West Virginia collision. Our team is dedicated to providing compassionate and diligent legal guidance to each of our clients.Weight Limit Rules for Trucks
Commercial truck drivers are held to strict standards when they are operating their vehicles. At the Wolfe Law Firm, we have represented clients in cases involving large trucks such as construction trucks, 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, garbage trucks, and tractor-trailers.
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a tractor-trailer on a West Virginia highway may not weigh more than 20,000 pounds if it has a single axle. The amount of weight doubles to 40,000 pounds if the truck has two axles. The weight limits increase incrementally from there depending on the size of the truck. The absolute maximum weight a truck can be is 80,000 pounds, which is when it has five or more axles. There are also stringent regulations regarding the length and width of trucks.Hold a Negligent Truck Driver Accountable for a Crash
If you have been injured due to an overweight or overloaded truck, you may have legal options. You may file a negligence lawsuit against the truck driver and the truck company responsible. To win on a negligence claim, a victim must demonstrate the following:
- The truck driver had a duty to maintain a proper load size and truck weight;
- The truck driver breached his duty by driving an overweight or overloaded truck;
- The truck driver’s breach in driving the overweight or overloaded truck caused or contributed to the accident; and
- The victim suffered injuries and damages as a result of the accident.
Like anyone else behind the wheel, commercial drivers must ensure they are not operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner that would pose a risk to other people on the road. In short, they have a duty to avoid causing foreseeable harm. If a truck driver overloads or improperly loads a truck, it is foreseeable that debris may fall from the truck bed, or the truck may not be able to turn or stop efficiently. In such a scenario, the truck driver’s actions likely would be deemed negligent if they led to an accident.
Depending on the nature of his or her injuries, a crash victim may be able to recover medical expenses, rehabilitation treatment costs, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and property damage, if applicable. The monetary compensation can either come through a settlement or a jury verdict.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a carelessly loaded truck, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Since wrongful death lawsuits are extremely complex, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney if you are thinking about pursuing such a claim.Discuss Your Case with an Elkins Lawyer Knowledgeable in Truck Crashes
At the Wolfe Law Firm, we understand the ways in which an overweight, overloaded, or improperly loaded tractor trailer can cause an accident. Even in ordinary circumstances, the sheer size and weight of a truck often results in a serious or even lethal collision. When a truck is overweight or overloaded, these risks grow greater. Experienced truck crash attorney Dorwin J. Wolfe will work closely with you to understand the facts of your case, come up with a legal plan for you, and vigorously advocate for your rights. We serve clients in Morgantown, Elkins, Buckhannon, and throughout West Virginia. Call us today at 877-637-5756 or contact us online for a free initial consultation with an Elkins attorney, even if you are not sure that you have a claim.