Overloaded trucks

Pittsburgh Overloaded Truck Lawyers

Strong advocacy for injury victims when truck cargo shifts or spills


Trucks are the lifeblood of our economy. They deliver goods made in Pittsburgh throughout the state and the world. Trucks also bring to Pittsburgh vehicles, equipment, machines, food, and all the consumer goods Western Pennsylvanians use every day. There are regulations and industry standards that govern how the cargo should be loaded and packed. These standards help ensure that the cargo doesn’t shift or move while the truck is in motion which can cause the driver to lose control of the truck. The standards also help ensure that the cargo doesn’t spill onto the highways.

At Carmody and Ging, Injury & Accident Lawyers, our overloaded truck attorneys understand the safety protocols that the people and companies that load and operate trucks are required to follow. We’re skilled at showing what safety measures trucking companies and drivers should take to prevent a Pittsburgh truck accident from happening due to overloaded trucks and trailers. We demand full compensation for all your financial and personal damages, including your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage.

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Why is truck overloading and improper loading dangerous?

Trucks that travel on Pittsburgh’s roads transport liquids, solids, and even gases. They transport machinery, equipment, lumber, agricultural products, consumer goods, and every other type of product that people use. The dangers usually stem from shifting cargo and improper loading.

Shifting cargo

If a tractor-trailer or any other type of truck isn’t fully loaded, the cargo can move around the truck while the driver is traveling in Pittsburgh. If the truck isn’t fully loaded, the cargo should be properly stored so it doesn’t shift while the truck is in operation. There are rules and industry standards for properly securing and tying down cargo. These rules are different depending on the type of cargo. For example, securing liquids is different than securing solids.

Improper loads

If the inventory is improperly loaded, the cargo can spill onto the interstates, highways, and other roads of Pittsburgh. Just one bump or one pothole can cause the driver to lose control of the truck causing the cargo to spill. Improperly loaded cargo can spill if the driver takes a turn too quickly.

Just one flying piece of lumber can cause an accident by striking the windshield of a nearby car. The more cargo that spills, the more likely many cars near the spill will veer into other cars or off the road to avoid the spill, or the more cars will run over the cargo which can cause rollovers and other types of accidents.

How does an overload affect the truck’s performance?

Overloads can affect a truck’s performance because they can:

  • Change the truck’s center of gravity increasing the risk of a rollover
  • Cause the truck to move faster when going downhill
  • Make it harder for the truck to stop
  • Increase the possibility that cargo will spill
  • Make it harder for the truck driver to safely operate the vehicle
  • Increase the possibility of a tire blowout

What regulations and industry standards govern loading trucks?

Trucks are considered overloaded if they violate federal and state regulations as to how much weight the truck can carry. The permissible weight is based on the Gross Combination Weight Rating, the number of axles, and other factors. Generally, single-axle trucks cannot weigh more than 20,000 pounds while the most that any truck with any number of axles should weigh is 80,000 pounds. The maximum gross weight on trucks with tandem axles is 34,000 pounds.

The weight limit is just one factor. Even trucks that are below the weight limit may substantially increase the risk of an accident depending on the material and items in the truck, whether the items move while the truck is in operation, and other factors.

Personal Injury

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has specific regulations that govern how truck cargo should be loaded and unloaded. For example, there are specific rules for which devices can be used to secure different types of materials.

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also has its own set of loading requirements.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also has specific load and wide-load requirements including hauling permit regulations. For example, trucks should be no wider than 8.5 feet, 13.5 feet high, and 75 feet long. “The maximum weight per inch of width of tire is 800 pounds on any one wheel.”

When are weigh stations used in Pittsburgh?

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and local police stations generally are responsible for weighing trucks. More and more, trucks are being weighed by electronic weigh station bypass systems (software) instead of physically placing the truck on a platform and weighing the truck.

Who is liable for an overloaded truck accident in Pittsburgh?

At Carmody and Ging, our Pittsburgh overloaded truck lawyers file personal injury, product liability, and wrongful death claims against every person and company responsible for your injuries or the death of a loved one.

The defendants in a truck accident caused by overloading may include:

  • The truck driver. Truck drivers need to know the weight of the trucks they’re driving. They need to stop and get help if the cargo shifts too much or any items fly off the truck. Truck drivers in Pittsburgh must use extra caution when driving heavy loads.
  • The employer of the truck driver. Generally, employers are liable for any negligence of their employees.
  • The trucking company that loads the truck. Usually, the truck driver doesn’t load the truck. The company that is shipping the goods or an independent company loads the truck. These companies need to comply with federal laws, Pennsylvania laws, and industry standards to ensure the cargo isn’t overloaded, doesn’t shift, and doesn’t spill.

Other defendants may also be liable.

How can you show that a truck was improperly loaded?

At Carmody and Ging, our Pittsburgh overloaded truck lawyers have the experience and resources to show that a truck was overloaded, and that the overload caused the accident that harmed you or took the life of a loved one. Some of the methods we use are:

  • Reviewing the safety protocols that were used at every stage of the shipment
  • Reviewing any weigh station records, citations, or complaints about the load
  • Working with investigators and any government officials, including the police, after a Pittsburgh truck accident happens
  • Examining any physical evidence including skid marks, electronic logging devices, and black devices – which can help tell the speed of the truck, the truck route, the tire pressure, whether the brakes were applied, the steering wheel position, and other criteria
  • Conducting extensive discovery (questions and answers) of everyone who has knowledge about the shipment and the accident

We move quickly because black box data can be overwritten, memories can fade, and repairs can be made before the damage is assessed.

Do you have an overloaded truck lawyer near me?

Our Pittsburgh overloaded truck lawyers meet clients at our office located at 801 Vinial Street in Pittsburgh, on the 3rd floor of the Deutschtown Center building. Our office is right across the street from Penn Brewery, and parking outside is available. You can also reach Carmody and Ging by taking the bus to the Troy Hill Road bus stop. Our personal injury lawyers also meet clients at healthcare facilities, homes, and through video conferences if the client is too ill to come to our office.

We’ll answer all your questions and fight to hold everyone responsible for your accident accountable.

Talk with our skilled Pittsburgh truck overload lawyers


Truck overload accidents are extremely dangerous. The truck driver is likely to be severely injured or killed. Drivers, passengers, and any pedestrians or bicycle riders near the truck or a truck spill are likely to have permanent injuries. Many truck overload accidents are deadly. At Carmody and Ging, we’ve been fighting for personal injury victims for 30 years. Our Pittsburgh truck overload accident lawyers have an impressive record of insurance settlements and jury verdicts.

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Pittsburgh truck accident attorney, please call us or complete our contact form. Our roots are in Pittsburgh. We’re dedicated to fighting for truck accident victims throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Carmody and Ging - Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers