There can be times when a truck gets overloaded in Charleston, SC due to the negligence of a trucker or their employer. At these times, the driver is increasingly susceptible to tip- and roll-over accidents that put motorists and pedestrians in danger. If you get hurt in a crash involving an overloaded vehicle, reach out to a Charleston truck accident lawyer to discuss your legal options.
At the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, we help motor vehicle collision victims get compensation from any at-fault parties. Our personal injury lawyer in Charleston is available to examine your case. Contact us today.
Weight Restrictions for Trucks in Charleston
Per South Carolina Code §56-5-4140, a single-unit vehicle with five or more axles can have a maximum gross weight of 65,000 lbs. This applies to such vehicles except those on the interstate. These vehicles must meet various axle-spacing requirements as well.
For a combination of vehicles with three axles, the maximum weight capacity is 50,000 lbs. This figure increases to 65,000 lbs. for a combination with four axles. It rises to 73,280 lbs. with a combination of five or more axles.
It is both a truck driver’s and their employer’s responsibility to comply with federal and state vehicle weight restrictions. If a truck is overloaded, the vehicle may flip or roll if a driver is turning too quickly. In this scenario, the trucker can cause an accident that injures or kills other motorists or pedestrians.
Improper Loading of a Truck
An individual must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they can legally operate a large truck in South Carolina. They must understand how to safely drive a large vehicle, regardless of whether or not they are carrying cargo in it. If a trucker lacks sufficient training, they may overload their vehicle without even realizing it.
When a truck is loaded in a way that too much weight is on one side, the vehicle is prone to tipping. If a trucker is traveling on wet roads or drives too fast, the vehicle’s load may shift during transit. This may lead to a tip- or roll-over accident.
If you are involved in a trucking crash, notify the police. When you do, police officers will come to the scene, get information from you and anyone else involved, and prepare a report. They may include information that indicates a truck was overloaded or not loaded correctly, and you can use this as evidence to support your request for damages.
Who Is Liable in an Overloaded Truck Crash
Following an accident involving an overloaded truck, do not accept any responsibility for it. File a claim with your insurance company. This will prompt your insurer to contact the at-fault trucker’s insurance provider.
The truck driver involved in your crash and their employer may be at fault for your collision. For instance, if the trucker was speeding while they were working for a business, both parties may be accountable. Other parties that may be liable include truck parts and equipment manufacturers.
There are instances where a trucking driver is solely responsible. For example, an Amazon Flex driver may work as an independent contractor, and this individual may cause a crash while they are working. In this example, you may be eligible to file a claim through Amazon’s insurance coverage or may need to request additional compensation via a personal injury lawsuit.
When to File an Overloaded Trucking Accident Lawsuit
You have three years from the date of your trucking accident to file a claim. The window for submitting a trucking crash lawsuit cannot be extended. If you do not request compensation within this period, you are solely responsible for any collision-related losses.
A Charleston overloaded truck accident attorney can take a look at your case just days after your collision. They can help you calculate your damages and determine if it is in your best interests to submit a claim. If so, they can handle the claims process on your behalf.
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm has helped many clients get great case results. Our overloaded truck accident in Charleston can help you pursue damages from any at-fault parties. For more information, get in touch with us.
Types of Damages You Can Request in an Overloaded Trucking Crash Claim
You can ask for economic and non-economic compensation. Economic damages are awarded for quantifiable losses, and non-economic compensation is provided for subjective harm. Examples of damages you can receive in an overloaded trucking crash case include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Damage to your car
- Suffering and pain
An overloaded truck accident lawyer in Charleston reviews your losses carefully. They can help you prepare an argument that shows a judge or jury why you deserve this amount. Your attorney can also account for South Carolina’s comparative negligence statute.
How Comparative Negligence Applies to an Overloaded Trucking Accident Case
According to the South Carolina Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, you may be held partially responsible for your personal injury. In the worst-case scenario, a judge or jury may find you are primarily responsible for an accident with an overloaded truck. If this happens, you will not receive any compensation.
Comparative negligence affects how much compensation you receive based on your percentage of fault. If you are determined to be more than 50% responsible, you are ineligible for damages. In addition, if you are found to be 1-50% at fault, the damages you get are reduced.
As an example, a judge or jury finds you are 20% at fault in a trucking collision. The court will award you 80% of the damages you originally requested. Ultimately, having an experienced attorney to argue your case is key since this lawyer will do what is necessary to show the defendant is 100% responsible for your collision.
Partner with a Charleston Trucking Accident Lawyer
Do not leave your Charleston trucking accident claim to chance. Hire a truck collision lawyer from the Shelly Leeke Law Firm, and we will protect your legal rights throughout your litigation. To schedule a free case consultation, contact us today.