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Federal and state regulations set forth weight limits for commercial trucks in order to avoid the potential dangers posed by an overloaded vehicle. Despite these laws, collisions due to overweight or overloaded trucks continue to occur. Victims of such accidents are entitled to pursue a lawsuit for damages against all responsible parties, including the driver as well as the trucking company, under certain circumstances. At Gelb & Gelb, Washington, D.C. truck accident lawyer Roger Gelb is knowledgeable regarding federal and state trucking laws, and focuses his legal practice on recovering compensation for individuals injured by the negligent or reckless conduct of others, particularly those hurt in vehicle accidents. Attorney Gelb is recognized as a leading personal injury attorney throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and he takes pride in maintaining personal communication with his clients. Through diligent and efficient legal advocacy, Mr. Gelb and the team at Gelb & Gelb have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of individuals who have suffered harm in accidents caused by overloaded trucks, truck driver fatigue, and other issues that can lead to vehicle collisions.Seeking Damages After an Overweight or Overloaded Truck Accident
Following an accident caused by an overweight or overloaded truck, the victim may assert a legal claim for their damages. Negligence is a legal theory that may apply when the at-fault party failed to fulfill an applicable duty of care, leading to an accident and injuries. In the case of an overweight or overloaded truck, the driver and/or the trucking company may be responsible if their conduct failed to conform to the level of care required under the circumstances.
All drivers are required to act reasonably and to avoid causing foreseeable harm. Truck drivers are held to this standard, and they must also accept their responsibility to comply with federal, state, and local ordinances regarding the operation of their commercial vehicles. As commercial truck drivers, they are additionally required to follow the regulations set and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.Negligence Claims
To prove negligence following an accident caused by a truck driver, the victim must show that the driver owed them a duty of care that was breached, directly leading to harm. Violating a federal or state regulation, such as rules dictating cargo weight loads, may be deemed negligent by a judge or jury because these rules serve to ensure the safety of motorists sharing the road with commercial trucks. Cargo weight limits are set by the truck manufacturer because an overloaded truck affects the performance of the vehicle. Trucks are not to carry more weight than indicated by their Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), unless a special permit applies. Additionally, truck drivers must use weigh stations located along truck routes to ensure they do not exceed the truck’s GVWR.
A trucker that ignores or violates a regulation dictating their vehicle’s required weight limit may be found to have breached their duty of care. Because the driver owes a legal duty to avoid causing harm to others on the road, truck drivers who overload their vehicles are exhibiting potentially dangerous, and even reckless conduct. If their conduct directly causes a collision, they may be legally responsible for any resulting harm.
Damages that may be available to victims of a truck collision extend to all harm caused by the crash, including medical expenses, lost wages from work missed because of injuries, and property damage. Due to the size and impact caused by a collision involving a commercial truck, damages in these cases tend to be higher than in a passenger vehicle crash. Additionally, more than one party may be responsible for causing a collision. This is particularly true following an overweight or overloaded truck accident, as the truck driver as well as the trucking company may both be at-fault.Vicarious Liability
Respondeat superior or vicarious liability are legal terms that refer to the liability that extends to an employer for the actions or omissions of their employee. A truck company may be legally at fault when their driver has caused a collision while acting in the course and scope of employment. For a victim to successfully assert liability against the truck company through this legal theory, at the time of the collision the truck driver must be an employee of the company, not an independent contractor.Washington, D.C. Lawyer for Truck Accident Claims
Attorney Roger Gelb works hard to provide clear and efficient legal representation to vehicle accident victims throughout Washington, D.C., VA, and MD. At Gelb & Gelb, our multi-million dollar recoveries for vehicle collision accidents provide our clients a way to meet their financial obligations so that they can focus on their physical and emotional recovery. If you or someone close to you is in need of a skilled truck collision lawyer, contact our office to learn more about your rights. Attorney Gelb provides direct client contact, and can be reached by phone at (202) 331-7227 or online.