Overloaded Truck Accident Attorneys
Overloaded trucks have put West Virginia roads at a breaking point. They have also put many other drivers at risk. Accidents involving coal, log, and gas drilling trucks continue to rise in our state, causing numerous deaths and serious injuries. When another vehicle collides with a large commercial truck that is overloaded, it is a mismatch that usually does not end well for occupants of the other vehicle. Accidents like these can result in serious and catastrophic injuries, and when they happen, victims deserve to be fully compensated.
With offices in Charleston, Logan and Summersville, the lawyers of Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., represent people throughout West Virginia who have been injured in truck accidents. We also represent families who have lost loved ones in fatal truck accidents. Our lawyers have several decades of experience successfully representing injury victims in West Virginia, and we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and commitment to help ensure that our clients recover the full and fair compensation they deserve. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Accidents Caused by Falling Debris and Overloaded Trucks
State and federal traffic safety laws provide regulations not only for weight limits on trucks, but also for how cargo is distributed and secured. Drivers are required to inspect their cargo and make any needed adjustments within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip.
Unfortunately, some trucking companies look the other way when drivers ignore the law to make better time. By paying their drivers by the load, many trucking companies encourage their employees to overload their vehicles. When businesses increase their profits by putting overloaded trucks on the road, it is other drivers who pay the price.
An overloaded truck takes longer to stop and is harder to maneuver than one that is properly loaded. Unsecured items can become dangerous missiles, breaking car windshields and causing deaths and serious injuries.
Overloaded trucks can cause accidents for many of the following reasons:
- Brakes get worn because of the heavy weight and friction that results from overloading;
- Roads get damaged and even collapse because of the excessive weight of the truck;
- The excessive weight in the truck accelerates momentum when the truck is going downhill, and slows it down to a crawl when going uphill;
- Unevenly loaded trucks can shift the weight in the vehicle to the front or rear, throwing off the truck’s natural center of gravity;
- Overloaded or unevenly loaded trucks are more prone to jackknifing or rolling over due to sudden motions;
- Tires on the truck can blow out because of the excessive weight.
Some of the most common injuries that happen because of overloaded trucks include:
- Cuts, bruises, and lacerations;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Head and brain injuries;
- Severe burn injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Internal injuries.
Damages Recoverable from Overloaded Truck Accident Cases
When someone suffers a serious injury that is caused by an overloaded truck, they have the right to recover damages for their losses. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic Damages: These are direct monetary losses that the victim incurs. Economic damages may include hospital and emergency room bills, costs for surgeries and other medical procedures, rehabilitation expenses, the cost of ongoing medical care (in the case of a long-term debilitating injury), lost wages, loss of earning capacity, property damage, and funeral and burial expenses (in the case of a wrongful death).
- Noneconomic Damages: These are losses that are real but more intangible and difficult to quantify. Examples of non-economic losses include the pain and suffering the victim has to endure, the anxiety, sleepless nights, and other types of emotional distress victims go through not knowing how long the pain will last and when their life will return to normal, loss of the ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed, disfigurement, and permanent injury.
In some more limited cases in which the actions of the party responsible for the overloaded truck accident were especially egregious, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim, but rather to punish the wrongdoer and help discourage similar behavior in the future.
Pursuing an Overloaded Truck Accident Claim in West Virginia
Accident cases involving large commercial trucks are rarely simple and straightforward. Most of them have multiple contributing factors. For example, an overloaded truck may have contributed to a tire blowout, but it may also be discovered that there was a problem with the tire itself – maybe some kind of defect that the manufacturer is responsible for.
The driver may also have been driving the vehicle too fast (given the excessive weight of the vehicle) to slow down or stop to avoid a hazardous condition that arises. At the end of the day, it may turn out that there are several different parties that share responsibility for the accident.
With overloaded truck accident cases, it is very important to work with attorneys who not only have personal injury experience, but who also have in-depth experience successfully handling cases involving big rig trucks. A seasoned truck accident attorney will thoroughly understand the complexities of these types of cases, the numerous government regulations that are applicable to them, and how to conduct an investigation that is designed to uncover all contributing factors. This puts you in the best possible position to recover maximum compensation.
One final note about West Virginia truck accident cases. Injury victims in the state usually only have two years from the date of the accident in which to file a claim. If you try to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the case will most likely be thrown out of court. Critical evidence also has a tendency to disappear as time goes on, and it can become increasingly difficult to track down witnesses and gather other essential information. For this reason, it is very important to get an attorney involved in your case as early as possible after the accident.
Free Initial Consultation with Our Truck Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured or a loved one killed in an accident involving an overloaded truck, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the trucking company or its driver failed to follow weight and loading rules, or if the cargo/shipping company that loaded the truck was at fault. We will also examine any other factors that might have contributed to the accident. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with our overloaded truck accident lawyers in Charleston, Logan or Summersville.
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.