Question: My teenage son was hit (broadsided) by an overloaded gravel truck. The accident report states that the truck’s gravel load exceeded maximum weight limits and that the truck driver was at fault for the accident. My son’s vehicle was crushed on the passenger side and then it rolled down a ditch. My son was badly injured. He has severe traumatic brain injury. He is not able to work or to even communicate very well. He also has seizures. Can the gravel company be sued if we can find evidence that the company knew that the truck driver regularly overloaded his truck with gravel?
Answer by Attorney Eric Hageman: Yes, the gravel company can be sued if there is sufficient evidence that the company knew that the truck driver regularly overloaded hauls. It is against the law to drive commercial trucks to exceed maximum weight limits. In fact, the gravel company can probably be sued without this evidence. You can contact me about these kinds of lawsuits and what evidence is needed to seek compensation from a gravel company for accident injuries.
In addition, I can help you find out if there is evidence for a punitive damages claim. These claims are made when there is gross negligence and they seek sufficient amounts of money to punish the wrongdoer. This can involve digging through reams of corporate documents and interrogating company witnesses. We also look at reports from prior accidents, weigh station results and other evidence.
If evidence is found that this gravel truck driver regularly overloaded his truck, your son will most likely have a punitive damages claim against the truck driver, owner of the truck and gravel company.
Attorney Eric Hageman has had several top settlements and verdicts for accident victims and their families. You can contact him for a free consultation here.
You may also be interested in reading a recent article entitled, “An investigation of the risk factors causing severe injuries in crashes involving gravel trucks”.
The article suggested the following to prevent serious injuries caused by gravel truck crashes:
- mandate gravel truck operators and companies to strictly enforce the maximum legal driving hours;
- improve the wage system of a low pay base and high-bonus by runs; and
- mandate gravel truck drivers to attend a traffic safety program for the education and awareness of risky driving behaviors–for example, overloading, speeding, and prolonged driving–before obtaining a professional driver’s license.