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An overloaded big rig, a crash and vicarious liability

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2020 | Vehicle Accidents

Overloaded cargo can cause a devastating truck-car crash with serious injuries for the occupants of the smaller vehicle. 

Responsibility for the crash and resulting injuries may involve multiple parties through vicarious liability. 

Shifting cargo 

Overloaded cargo can shift easily and is a leading cause of truck-car collisions. The driver may not account for the extra time it takes to brake to a stop or the problems shifting cargo causes in controlling a big rig that weighs many tons. Inexperienced drivers are especially at risk for the inability to handle performance issues. Overloading also causes increased wear and tear on tires, brakes, axles and other components. 

More than safety concerns

An overloaded truck is expensive to operate and maintain. To avoid issues with cargo and weight distribution, trucking companies must invest time and money to train personnel in appropriate loading techniques. Equipment failure can lead to personal injuries, which can lead to legal liability. 

About vicarious liability

Vicarious liability means that a company can be held liable for damage its employees cause as long as the employees are acting within the scope of their duties. For example, if shifting cargo causes a big rig to roll over onto an SUV, the company that owns the truck could bear responsibility for any injuries the occupants of the smaller vehicle suffer. 

Negligence and compensation

Truck-car accident cases are complex because multiple parties could share liability for a crash: the trucking company, the driver of the truck, the company that maintains the truck and even the individual or company that loaded the vehicle. Injured victims have the right to pursue compensation from all negligent parties to cover their current and future medical expenses, lost income and more.