An overloaded or overweight truck can quickly lead to a truck accident. Not only is overloading a tractor trailer against state and federal laws, it makes it much more difficult for the driver to control the vehicle. Overweight trucks are more difficult to steer, and may not stop as quickly as they should in an emergency. They are especially prone to rollover and jackknife truck accidents.
Overloading a truck—and driving that truck on the road—could constitute negligence. If this situation leads to a crash between a commercial tractor trailer and a passenger car, the victims in the smaller vehicle often suffer devastating, catastrophic injuries.
If you have outstanding expenses and losses related to this type of crash, an overloaded or overweight truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh, PA, can help you pursue compensation. At Berger and Green, we will help you file a claim against the trucking company and determine if you are eligible for pain and suffering damages. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a complimentary consultation and case review.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover After a Pittsburgh Overloaded Truck Accident?
In Pennsylvania, the state’s choice no-fault auto insurance system determines how you recover compensation after a crash with an overloaded truck. The first type of damages you can recover come from your no-fault insurance. This pays out to cover your medical care, up to the limits of the policy. If you suffered severe injuries, however, you may have health care bills above and beyond this limit.
If so, we can file a third-party liability auto insurance claim to collect damages from the trucking company or another liable party. This is true no matter if you have full tort or limited tort auto insurance. These damages may include:
- Any remaining medical bills;
- Lost wages from time away from work;
- Property damage, such as damage to your car; and
- Out-of-pocket costs related to the accident.
Some people can also request non-economic damages from the at-fault party. This is possible if you have full tort insurance or you meet an exception in the state’s auto insurance laws. Pain and suffering is the most common non-economic damage. You may be eligible for this compensation if:
- The truck was registered in another state;
- You suffered injuries that meet the serious injury threshold, such as a permanent impairment or disfigurement; or
- You meet another of the state’s limited tort exceptions.
Who Is Liable for an Overloaded or Overweight Truck Accident?
Not only is overloading a truck or operating an overweight truck a violation of state and federal safety regulations, it is negligence. The trucker has a responsibility to check the cargo to ensure it is properly loaded. The people who load the truck also share this responsibility.
When a truck is overloaded or overweight, both of these parties could be at fault. Because of the legal concept of respondeat superior—also called vicarious liability—it is their employers who serve as the primary liable parties. Respondeat superior allows us to hold employers liable for the careless, reckless, and negligent acts employees commit on the job. This means we file our claims based on a company’s liability insurance.
Often, both the trucking company and the shipping company are at fault for an overloaded truck, although this is not always the case. For example, if a trucker picks up a load with clear instructions not to open it, the trucking company may not be responsible. Alternatively, if the employees of the shipping company did not participate in loading or securing the truck, they may not be responsible.
We will help you identify any and all liable parties in your case and investigate the circumstances to determine how they share the responsibility. Cases where multiple corporations share accountability can be complex, but we know how to navigate them.
How Can an Attorney Help With My Claim?
Before we file your claim, we will fully investigate the circumstances of your accident to ensure we know exactly what happened, why, and how. This investigation includes:
- Identifying, collecting, and analyzing evidence;
- Interviewing witnesses and experts;
- Enlisting the help of a survey team and accident reconstruction specialists;
- Talking to medical experts about your injuries;
- Working with industry experts to better understand the accident; and
- Collecting medical bills, receipts, and other documentation of your damages.
We will also reach out to the potential defendants in the case—the trucking and shipping companies—with a spoliation letter. This letter demands they refrain from misplacing, destroying, or altering any of the evidence in their possession. The data from the truck’s onboard computer, logs about their pickup and the load, and information about the truck’s weight may play an especially important role in these cases. We also ask them to preserve the truck and trailer in their present condition following the crash.
Once we have a solid understanding of what caused the crash, we will pursue compensation. These cases may require us to file a number of insurance claims, including:
- Your Medical Benefits claim based on your no-fault insurance, if you have not done so already;
- A claim against the trucking company for its portion of your economic losses;
- A claim against the shipping company for the rest of your economic expenses; and
- Claims related to your non-economic damages, if you carry full tort auto insurance or meet a limited tort exception.
In most instances, the insurance companies involved are willing to negotiate a fair settlement with us at this point. We only occasionally need to file a personal injury lawsuit to settle. However, if they refuse to negotiate or offer a fair settlement for your losses, we will file suit to try to recover the compensation you deserve.
Talk to an Overloaded or Overweight Truck Accident Lawyer in Pittsburgh Today.
If an overloaded or overweight truck led to your crash and your injuries, contact Berger and Green today. Our truck accident team will review your case for free, and offer advice on how you may be able to recover compensation. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a complimentary legal evaluation.