Both state and federal regulations govern the amount of weight that commercial trucks can legally carry. However, because of cost and time pressures, trucks often operate overloaded. Since overweight trucks have reduced stability and emergency handling capability, this poses a serious safety risk to other motorists.
If you are involved in Camden County overloaded truck accidents, the resulting injuries and property damage can be significant. A qualified truck accident attorney could help advocate for you and work to position your claim so that you could recover full damages for your losses.
Overloaded Truck Safety Risks
While many factors can contribute to a truck accident, including road conditions, driver experience, and truck design, one of the most common causes of crashes is overloading. Overweight trucks create a number of safety hazards for their drivers, including:
- Loss of control during lane shifts
- Greater braking distances or inability to stop
- Increased tire failure rate
- Instability because of unbalanced loads that can result in their truck tipping over
New techniques are continually being developed to improve the stability and control of trucks and help prevent Camden County overloaded truck accidents. However, in the event anyone suffers injury from an overloaded truck in the meantime, a Camden County truck accident attorney could help establish fault in order to pursue a claim for damages.
Establishing a Cause of Action
Truck drivers and the companies they work for are responsible for ensuring they and their trucks operate in a safe manner to avoid accidents and prevent injuries. When their behavior is unreasonable, anyone injured as a result have a cause of action for negligence.
To establish negligence on the part of a truck driver or company, a local plaintiff has the burden of establishing the following four elements:
- The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to conform to a particular standard of conduct
- The defendant breached that duty
- The defendant’s breach was an actual and proximate cause of incident
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a direct result of that incident
Under New Jersey’s comparative negligence statute, a plaintiff whose own negligence contributes to the damages incurred in some way may still recover as long as they are not more than 50 percent at fault. However, the amount of damages the plaintiff can recover will be diminished by the percentage of negligence attributable to them.
Damages Available to Truck Accident Victims
A plaintiff in a Camden County truck accident case may seek compensatory damages for losses suffered directly due to their injuries. These losses can include medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity in the event of a debilitating injury, as well as more intangible losses such as pain and suffering.
In addition, plaintiffs may have a claim of punitive damages under New Jersey’s Punitive Damages Act. Punitive damages may be awarded to punish a defendant if they are found to have behaved with wanton and willful disregard for the safety of others. New Jersey limits punitive damages to five times the amount of compensatory damages awarded or $350,000, whichever is greater.
Consulting a Camden County Truck Accident Attorney
Because of their size and weight, an overloaded truck can cause severe injuries to other motorists involved in a crash. An experienced lawyer could help you establish a claim against the party or parties at fault for Camden County overloaded truck accidents, so you could recover much-needed damages to put you on the road to recovery. Call today to get started on your case.