Thousands of big rigs roar along southwest Louisiana roadways every day. If they veer into your lane or take other action that causes a collision, you could sustain severe injuries that have life-altering consequences. We often represent clients injured in a crash with an 18-wheeler.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, Louisiana’s truck weight limits include specifications for single, tandem and tridem axle trucks as well as gross weight and axle tolerances. Many of the state provisions exceed federal limits, allowing more flexibility for trucking companies and drivers. However, when load weights exceed those permitted by the specifications, dangerous conditions exist.

Overloading a vehicle

An overloaded truck is one that exceeds one or more of the following factors: the gross vehicle weight rating, the gross combined weight rating and gross axle weight rating. The GAWR includes the cargo, trailer and truck weights combined. The weight limit depends on the weakest component in the axle system, including brakes, suspension and tires.

Consequences of an overloaded truck

When a truck has too much cargo, the stress on the mechanic components can make completing the haul dangerous.

  • Brakes may not be able to stop the truck and avoid a collision
  • Poorly distributed cargo can cause the truck to flip or jackknife if the vehicle swerves
  • Unsecured cargo can shift when going around corners, distracting the driver and affecting maneuverability

A fully loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds legally. An out of control truck that exceeds weight limits can become deadly when it collides with passenger vehicles. If you have catastrophic injuries due to driver or trucking company negligence, you may have grounds for a claim.