Denver Improper Cargo Weight Distribution Attorneys
Thousands of cargo trucks travel the highways of this country every day, each loaded full of food, building materials, or other cargo. A commercial tractor-trailer carries a load of up to 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons. If the weight is not properly distributed within the trailer, the vehicle could become unbalanced and cause a devastating accident. Because these trucks are so much more massive than passenger cars, injuries from accidents with heavy commercial vehicles can be lifelong or deadly.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a big rig or another commercial vehicle, contact the cargo truck accident lawyers at The Bourassa Law Group right away. We are passionate about protecting the rights of those who have been wronged, and we have the extensive experience needed to navigate complex truck accident cases, which often involve multiple responsible parties.
We work hard to stand out from the pack, and our Denver truck accident attorneys fight skillfully for the full compensation you need to cover your losses. Call our attorneys at (800)870-8910 to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re ready to review your case and answer all your questions.
Why You Need A Lawyer
An insurance claim for a large vehicle crash requires a skilled accident litigator. State and federal commercial vehicle laws can be very complex, and there are many moving pieces involved in a case, including investigations and expert witnesses. Additionally, accidents involving such massive vehicles mean damages can reach into the millions of dollars. Insurance companies are very reluctant to pay these large amounts, and will make every possible attempt to avoid accepting responsibility.
To protect your claim, never try to speak to an insurance company representative on your own without first consulting a lawyer. Insurance representatives know exactly what to get you to say so that they can avoid financial responsibility. A good personal injury attorney will know how to talk to the insurance company and will do so on your behalf, so you don’t have to worry about making a statement that would jeopardize your claim.
Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash, as well as the driver of the other vehicle and the trucking company to determine what caused the crash and other parties’ level of negligence. They can organize medical records, witness statements, and expert testimony to present a solid case for your compensation to the court. A good lawyer will support you throughout the entire process and will be able to answer all your questions about your legal rights and your claim.
Why Hire Us?
The Bourassa Law Group has helped clients in Denver and throughout the Southwest recover millions of dollars in accident claims for their injuries. Providing individualized attention and top-quality legal representation to each person who comes to us for help is something we take great pride in. When you hire our firm, you bring in a team of advocates who will fight relentlessly to protect your rights to compensation.
We are knowledgeable about federal and state commercial vehicle laws, and we can hold the negligent parties responsible for the damage they’ve caused. This is a difficult time for you and your family, but you can be assured that the skilled accident attorneys at The Bourassa Law Group will bring your case to the best possible resolution so that you can move forward with your life.
Proper Cargo Weight Distribution
The distribution of the load on a tractor-trailer can have a major effect on the ability of a driver to control the vehicle. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes a handbook full of guidelines on proper cargo distribution. Federal law dictates the amount of weight allowed on a given axle: 20,000 pounds on a single axle and 34,000 pounds on tandem axles.
If there are more restrictive limits on an axle’s weight limit, the more restrictive limit should be followed. For instance, if a steer axle is allowed to carry only 12,000 pounds, no further weight should be placed on that axle. The tires and the suspension system also have load limits that must be observed.
Top-heavy items need to be loaded first and tied down from multiple angles to keep them secure. Heavier cargo should be placed in the front of the trailer, and the weight should be distributed evenly from left to right. Horizontally, the center of gravity should be as close to the centerline as possible between the front and rear axles, and vertically it should be as low as possible. The axles on some trucks can be moved to better distribute the load on each axle.
Weight Distribution Accidents
Improper load distribution on a cargo truck can cause a number of major problems that could lead to an accident. An axle or tire that bears too heavy a load can eventually wear out and fail, causing the truck to swerve or even roll over. An overloaded truck can contribute to the failure of a bridge or overpass.
Even if the poorly distributed weight doesn’t cause equipment failure, however, the imbalance can reduce the ability of the driver to control the vehicle, making an accident more likely. A front-heavy load may cause the vehicle to travel faster than expected down a hill or incline. If the cargo isn’t properly secured, the weight could shift during a turn, putting an extra load on one side of the vehicle, and the driver would be unable to keep the truck from moving into another lane or possibly even from tipping. All of these problems could multiply the risk if the truck is already suffering from poor maintenance or if the driver is not paying proper attention.
Injuries in Large Vehicle Accidents
Any combination of injuries is possible in a crash with a big rig, but there is a higher likelihood of more catastrophic injuries in these types of accidents because there is such a huge weight difference between a passenger vehicle and a fully loaded cargo truck. Some of the injuries we see include:
- Bruises and minor cuts and scrapes
- Bone fractures and breaks
- Muscle sprains and strains
- Whiplash and neck strain
- Lacerations from glass and metal parts in the car or truck
- Spinal damage, sometimes leading to partial or full paralysis
- Head and brain trauma
- Internal damage to organs
It is incredibly important to get checked out by a doctor, even if your injuries seem minor. Right after an accident, your adrenaline may mask internal wounds, and you may have head or neck trauma. If not treated, these injuries could become much more serious or even deadly. Additionally, medical documentation of all your injuries will be crucial to a compensation claim.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’ve been in an accident with an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle, you should speak with one of our attorneys immediately. Here are some answers to questions you may have about your case:
Who can be held liable for an accident caused by improper weight distribution?
In an accident with a large commercial vehicle, liability could rest with a number of different people or organizations. The driver could be held liable for not properly rebalancing the load as the amount of cargo on the truck changes throughout a delivery run. The trucking company may hold liability for not adequately training its drivers, or for not properly loading the cargo in the first place. Third-party companies may have failed to provide proper inspections or maintenance of load-bearing equipment like axles and tires.
How might comparative negligence affect my compensation?
Different states handle negligence differently. Many states use a legal standard known as comparative negligence, in which a court assigns a level of responsibility for an accident to a party, expressed as a percentage, in order to award damages. If Party A is found to be 70 percent at fault for a crash and Party B is 30 percent at fault, and the damages are set at $100,000, Party B would only be able to recover $70,000, to make up for their own contributory negligence. Colorado follows a 50 percent bar rule, which means that you can only recover damages if your level of negligence is lower than 50 percent.
What can I be compensated for?
Each accident is different, and the compensation you may receive for your injuries will depend heavily on your own medical situation and the level of the at-fault party’s negligence. There are a few typical forms compensation may take, however, including:
- Property damage compensation
- Payment of medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Costs of long-term care for chronic or lifelong injuries
- Wages lost due to time spent in recovery
- Loss of household income
- Compensation for loss of consortium
- Payment of funeral or burial costs
Your own case is unique, so you should discuss what kinds of compensation may be available with your attorney.
Speak With A Cargo Load Accident Lawyer Today
If you have just been in an accident with a big rig or other large commercial truck, you need to remain focused on what’s important right now: recovering from your injuries. The truck accident lawyers at The Bourassa Law Group will determine whether the crash was caused by driver or trucking company negligence, poor weight distribution, or other factors, and will hold the responsible parties accountable for your injuries.
Recovery from an ordeal like this can be expensive and stressful, but you don’t have to go through it alone. The Bourassa Law Group is here to help. Call us at [phone number] or fill out our contact form today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.