Federal and state laws strictly limit the weight of tractor trailers and other commercial vehicles. Trucking companies that violate these rules may be held liable if their negligence causes injuries to others. The truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig can help people in the Columbia area who have been hurt by the carelessness of a trucking company. We have the trial experience and knowledge necessary to fight commercial drivers, their employers, their insurance companies, and their lawyers.Holding a Negligent Trucking Company Liable for Damages
Generally, Missouri law limits the weight of commercial vehicles on interstate highways to 80,000 pounds. Barring individual exceptions, these regulations are strictly enforced.
A person injured in an accident involving an overloaded truck can file a negligence case against any person or entity responsible for the cargo’s loading. In many cases, this will be the trucking company that owns the vehicle. Even if an individual employee was responsible for overloading the truck, Missouri law holds employers responsible for their employee’s negligent actions if these occur in the normal course of their job duties. If a third party was responsible for loading cargo and approving the truck for the road, that company may also be named as a defendant.
To prove the case, the accident victim must establish several elements. The first is that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. In most truck crash cases, the defendant is expected to meet a standard of reasonable care, which requires avoiding needlessly hazardous behavior that might foreseeably harm others.
The next step to take is showing a breach of that duty. This is where proof of the truck’s weight can be crucial. A company responsible for a vehicle that is overloaded — either beyond regulatory limits or just to a point that is unsafe for conditions — has likely breached its duty of reasonable care. This may be true even if the truck was overloaded unintentionally.
Another key element is causation, which consists of a factual component and a legal component. A company responsible for overloading a truck involved in an accident would likely satisfy this element if the overloading itself was responsible for causing the crash. Injuries sustained in a car accident also are a foreseeable consequence of overloading a commercial vehicle. If the collision would have happened even if the vehicle had been properly loaded, by contrast, it would be harder to show causation unless the company had acted carelessly in a different way.
By proving all of these elements and identifying damages that were incurred because of the accident, an injured person can assert the right to compensation. This may extend to reimbursement for medical expenses and lost wages as well as non-economic forms of harm, like pain and suffering or emotional distress.Discuss Your Truck Accident Case with a Jefferson City Lawyer
If you were hurt in an accident involving an overweight truck, it is important that you speak to an attorney as soon as you can. Even if you are not sure what caused the crash, an experienced lawyer can work to gather the evidence that can prove your case before it is lost or destroyed. At the Law Office of Matt Uhrig, we guide residents of Missouri communities such as Jefferson City through truck and car accident claims. Our attorneys also represent injured individuals from Ashland, Columbia, and other locations throughout the state. To schedule a free case evaluation, call (573) 657-2050 or visit our contact page.