Overloaded Truck Accident Attorney in Rhode Island

loaded timber truckState and federal regulations limit the weight of commercial trucks to ensure that they can be safely operated on public roads. However, sometimes trucks are loaded past these legal limits or the truck’s hauling capacity, either inadvertently or in an attempt to boost profits. Regardless of the reason, overloading a truck makes an accident more likely, and potentially more devastating as well.

You could be owed compensation if you’ve been injured in an overloaded truck accident in Rhode Island. The truck accident lawyers at Bottaro Law can help you demand it. Our personal injury firm is ready to advocate on your behalf to seek the money you need to treat the injuries and pay for the losses you’ve suffered because of the accident.

Contact us today to speak with a Rhode Island truck accident lawyer during a free consultation.

What Makes an Overloaded Truck Dangerous?

When a truck is loaded with more cargo than it is designed to haul or when the cargo puts the truck’s gross weight above the legally allowed limits, everyone on the road is at risk.

An overloaded truck experiences more and faster wear and tear on its parts, increasing the likelihood of a mechanical failure while in transit.

Its driver will also have a harder time safely controlling the vehicle. Its shifted center of gravity can make it more prone to jackknife or overturn – especially if the driver is unaware that the truck or trailer has been overloaded.

An unsafe load also affects a truck’s ability to get uphill or decelerate when coming downhill and increases its stopping distance.

Types of Crashes Due to Overloaded Trucks in Rhode Island

Overloading a truck can increase wear on its components, decrease its handling ability, and make it unsafe in other ways. These issues can, in turn, lead to:

  • Brake failure accidents
  • Runaway truck accidents
  • Tire blowout and tread separation accidents
  • Shifting cargo accidents
  • Spilled cargo accidents
  • Rear-end accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Jackknife accidents
  • Sideswipe collisions
  • Head-on collisions

Common Injuries Caused by an Overloaded Truck

Because of their size and weight, commercial trucks already put others at significant risk of serious injury in the event of an accident. An overloaded truck crash has an even greater chance of causing life-altering injuries. These may include:

  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Amputation
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Crush injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Burns
  • Lacerations, abrasions, and scarring
  • Ligament sprains and tears
  • Muscle and tendon strains and tears
  • Herniated discs
  • Whiplash injury
  • Nerve damage

Who Can Be Held Responsible for an Overloaded Truck Accident in Rhode Island?

Depending on the circumstances, many different parties could potentially bear responsibility for an overloaded truck accident in Rhode Island. Examples include:

  • The truck driver, who is responsible for checking the truck’s cargo and ensuring the truck can be safely operated
  • The trucking company
  • The cargo company responsible for loading the truck or trailer
  • The owner of the cargo that is loaded onto the truck

Rhode Island Laws on Commercial Vehicle Weight Limits

Rhode Island state law places limits on commercial truck weights. These laws are intended to prevent the kinds of mechanical failures that can lead to a truck accident. State rules for commercial vehicle weight limits include:

  • §31-25-13: No single axle can carry a gross weight of more than 22,400 pounds.
  • §31-25-14: The maximum weight that may be carried by tandem axles with a spacing of not more than eight feet cannot exceed 36,000 pounds. The overall gross weight on a group of two or more consecutive axles is subject to the bridge gross weight vehicle. However, a vehicle or combination of vehicles may not exceed a weight of 80,000 pounds.
  • §31-25-18: Law enforcement or regulatory officers with reason to believe that a truck is carrying an unlawful load weight may require the driver to stop and submit the vehicle for weighing.
  • §31-25-19: The driver of a truck determined to have been overloaded must take the vehicle out of service until a portion of the load is removed to reduce the truck’s weight to the limits allowed by law.
  • §31-25-22: Truck operators may apply for an excess load permit to operate a truck that exceeds the statutory weight limits.

Overloaded Truck Accident FAQs

Can an overloaded truck cause a transmission to fail?

A truck that has been loaded with more cargo than the powertrain is rated to haul could suffer a transmission failure. The risk of transmission failure is increased when the truck is traveling uphill or slowing down since the transmission must work harder than it was designed to. The results of a sudden transmission failure can be particularly dangerous when the truck is traveling uphill because it will start to travel backward once gravity overwhelms its forward momentum.

Are overweight tractor-trailers more prone to tire blowouts?

Overloaded tractor-trailers are also at greater risk of tire blowouts. When too much cargo is loaded onto a truck or a trailer, the pressure of that weight ultimately rests on the tires. That can cause accelerated wear and tear and weakening of the tire structure, leading to tire failure. That can come in the form of an explosive blowout, in which the air pressure in the tire causes the tire to pop, or a tread separation, where the tread belt detaches from the underlying tire structure.