An 18-wheeler is a massive vehicle both in terms of size and weight. Overloaded cargo can easily cause a semi to be off balance and a danger to other motorists.
Overloading, in fact, is a major cause of truck-related crashes. The resulting lawsuits are often complex, involving multiple negligent parties.
Why overloading occurs
Although overloading is a violation of both state and federal laws, the practice continues simply because more cargo means more profits. However, overloading presents several problems. First, the truck is more difficult to control. Second, overloading causes accelerated wear and tear on the vehicle, and third, overloading opens the trucker and trucking company to liability due to safety concerns.
What could happen
Overloaded cargo can shift. If this happens as the truck goes into a sharp turn or changes lanes quickly, there is a risk of rollover, which puts other vehicles in the vicinity in danger of collision. The other immediate concern is braking. Because the truck is so heavy, the driver must exert more force to the braking effort and may not realize how much longer it will take to stop the vehicle. This could be a major problem when traveling down an incline toward a line of cars stopped at a traffic light.
The importance of training
Trucking companies have a responsibility to provide new drivers with the appropriate training. This includes teaching them how to load a truck properly. Any unnecessary items should not remian in the cargo space, leaving more room for items that will turn a profit without the need for overloading.
In a crash that involves two cars, determining fault is an easy matter. When a big rig collides with a passenger car or pickup truck, an investigation will ensue to determine the cause and how the crash happened. The truck driver may be at fault, but there may be third-party claims, too, because fault could spread to the company that owns the truck and even to the person who trained the novice driver in loading practices. In an accident that could cause severe injuries, the victim is entitled to compensation from all negligent parties.