Truck Classifications and GVWRs
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) refers to the weight restriction that a manufacturer has applied to a vehicle. The GVWR is used to classify commercial motor vehicles operating on U.S. highways. There are eight truck classifications, although generally people refer to trucks as light duty, medium duty, or heavy duty. Trucks must never exceed the GVWR assigned by their manufacturers, and for big rig trucks that weigh over 26,000 pounds, a Commercial Driving License must be held by the driver. At Nagle & Associates, we help people who have been hurt in truck collisions, including those injured by vehicles that have exceeded the recommended GVWR. When a truck is carrying a load above its GVWR, brakes may not function, tires may blow out, and drivers may lose control of their vehicle. Raleigh truck accident attorney Carl Nagle’s skilled litigation techniques have successfully recovered compensation for victims throughout North Carolina, including people in Raleigh, Asheville, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.
Mr. Nagle’s former experience as an insurance claims adjuster and an insurance defense attorney strengthens his ability to anticipate and overcome potential insurance defense tactics. Since Nagle & Associates only represents motor vehicle collision victims, we understand the emotional impact and devastation that accompany these accidents. We are prepared to aggressively advocate on behalf of people harmed by the negligence of others.
Truck Classifications and GVWRs May Affect Compensation for Truck Accident Victims
The relationship between classification and rating is that truck classification is determined by the gross vehicle weight rating. The rating then determines the specific laws that must be followed by the truck company and its drivers. For personal injury lawsuits, the significance of the GVWR is that a trucking company that has placed too heavy a load on its vehicle may be legally responsible for the resulting harm. Not only do vehicles list the maximum GVWR that they may carry, but also the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains laws that relate to the GVWR of trucks and legal axle weights. Essentially, the GVWR ensures that trucks are not overloaded.
In terms of classification, the GVWR ranks trucks from 1 to 8 (smallest to largest). When a GVWR is assigned, this is the maximum weight that a truck should carry while driving, which includes the truck weighed with fuel, passengers, and cargo. The purpose of the classifications is to help with safety regulations and commercial designations.
Truck companies or drivers who overload their trucks may be held responsible for any resulting harm caused in an accident. Overloaded trucks are dangerous because they result in shifting weight, which in turn makes the vehicle difficult to control. Vehicles carrying more weight than has been assigned in their GVWR may also suffer decreased brake function and tire damage, which may render the vehicle challenging to steer.
Evidence that a trucker or their employer carelessly or intentionally overloaded their truck supports a legal claim of negligence, particularly if this conduct led to a collision and resulting harm. Negligence is a failure to act with reasonable care, and a successful negligence claim entitles accident victims to recover damages. Weigh stations along the side of highways exist to ensure that truck drivers do not exceed their GVWR. Drivers are expected to abide by regulations that require them to account for changes in cargo and ensure that they are in accordance with the designated weight limit.
Highlighting errors committed by the company or truck driver may entitle accident victims to punitive damages, which are intended to punish a defendant in a lawsuit for intentional acts or gross negligence. In situations in which the trucking company or the owner knowingly overloaded a truck, despite knowledge of the GVWR, victims may be entitled to additional damages. These damages would be in addition to damages that may be recovered for medical costs, lost wages from work, and emotional harm.
Contact a Skilled Truck Accident Lawyer in the Raleigh Region
At Nagle & Associates, our trial practice represents victims of large trucking accidents as they enforce their legal right to recovery. Raleigh lawyer Carl Nagle and our team of truck collision experts provide compassionate, personalized attention and make it a priority to leave clients financially stable. As a reflection of our commitment to this goal, we charge lower legal fees than other personal injury firms, at one-quarter of the total award obtained through a settlement, as opposed to the one-third demanded by other firms. We are proud to help clients pursue damages for their emotional suffering, lost wages from work, and hospital bills, as well as other forms of compensation. To schedule a free consultation with a skilled tractor-trailer crash lawyer, call (800) 411-1583 or use our contact form on this website. Our office helps victims and families in Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, Hickory, Greensboro, and other areas of Forsyth, Mecklenburg, Wake, Brunswick, Guilford, Durham, Cumberland, New Hanover, and Catawba Counties.