Whether you’re on the highway or the local streets to the grocery store, we all encounter large vehicles on the roads. Private and commercial vehicles carrying oversized loads are the largest vehicles encountered on the roads and can cause greater damage than most vehicles. Even a slight movement on the part of a big truck with an oversize load can endanger any vehicle and the surrounding area. Despite having accompanying pilot vehicles both in front of and behind an oversize load, accidents continue to occur.
Knowing more about oversized loads can help you find help after an accident. If you’ve been involved in a crash with injuries, contact our truck accident attorneys for injuries caused by oversized loads. We’ve recovered over $1 billion for injured clients.
We’re available 24/7. Call us today at (800) 501-3011 to get started on a free, confidential evaluation of your very important case.
Table of Contents
- How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
- Oversized Loads and Trucks
- Oversize Load Regulations by State: California & Nevada
- Federal Oversize Load Truck Restrictions
- The Dangers of Oversize Load Trucks
- Statute of Limitations – The Deadline to File Your Lawsuit
- Start a Free, Confidential Case Evaluation
- Contingency Fees for Truck Cases
- More Helpful Resources
How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help Crash Victims and Families in Oversize Load Injury Cases
Oversized load accidents may include a number of potentially responsible parties, such as:
- the truck driver
- the truck driver’s employer
- the owner of the truck
- the person or entity responsible for maintaining the truck
- pilot car drivers and their employers
- the manufacturer and shipper of the oversized item
- the government or private entities responsible for maintaining and designing the roadway where the incident occurred
And due to the large impact of oversized load accidents, there may be more than one injured party, meaning there could be many possible plaintiffs attempting to collect from the responsible parties. The complexity of a personal injury case to recover for damages from an oversized load accident can increase quickly.
When injured in a truck accident, it is important to have a semi-truck accident lawyer on your side. The truck accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm can provide invaluable guidance and help you understand the rights and responsibilities that come with being involved in an accident. We will work diligently to ensure you receive fair compensation for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other damages related to the accident. In some cases, you may even be entitled to punitive damages. Our attorneys will make sure that your case is heard and ensure that justice is served.
Oversize Loads and Trucks
In the United States all vehicles are regulated when traveling within a state by State laws, and when traveling across any and all state borders, by Federal laws. (Crossing International borders will also involve International laws).
In California and Nevada, oversized loads are any vehicles or items being transported on a roadway (the load) that are larger than the following dimensions:
- 14 feet high,
- 8 feet 6 inches wide,
- 40 feet long (single-axle vehicles),
- 65 feet long (trucks and single trailers),
- 70-75 feet long (certain multi-trailers), or
- 20,000 pounds per axle or 80,000 pounds gross weight.
If a vehicle or its load exceeds any of the above limits, it must follow the oversize load regulations in California and/or Nevada.
If the vehicle or load crosses over any state borders, the maximum height drops down to 13 feet 6 inches and the maximum weight is 80,000 pounds overall, instead of California’s per axle measurement.
Oversize Load Regulations by State: California & Nevada
Federal and State regulations provide general duties on the part of both truck drivers and motor carriers to ensure that the load is properly secured and adequately and safely loaded.
California Oversize Load Restrictions
In California, an oversize load permit is required for any item that cannot be made any smaller. Oversize loads are prohibited from travel at night and on weekends, as well as the major holidays of:
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving weekend
There are some special conditions where clearance can be obtained for nighttime or weekend travel. Many of the large cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, have special regulations that restrict oversize loads from traveling during rush hours in the morning and evening.
Oversize load restrictions are also restricted from traveling during inclement weather when visibility is less than 1,000 or where ice or snow creates hazardous conditions. If the load hangs over the front or back by 25-30 feet or is wider than a normal lane of travel, a pilot car or two may also be required.
Nevada Oversize Load Restrictions
In Nevada, an oversize load permit is also required for any items that cannot be made smaller for travel. Just as in California, oversize loads are restricted from travel at night, on weeks, on holidays, and during hazardous weather conditions. (Special conditions exist to grant some weekend/night travel permits). In Nevada, oversize loads must always have their headlights on whenever the vehicle is in operation.
Each state also has very specific signage requirements, which vary depending on the size of the load.
Oversize load restrictions by state vary, and each permit must be acquired before travel. Usually, the route that the big truck will take has been analyzed to balance the delivery of the load with the potential for negatively impacting local traffic, as required by most states’ permit processes. These regulations help make the road a safer place for all vehicles.
Oversized Load Truck Regulations at the Federal Level
Federal Regulations for oversize loads are as follows:
- Trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds are considered oversized. (20,000 pounds on a
- single axle, 34,000 pounds on a set of tandem axles)
- Trucks cannot be taller than 13 feet and 6 inches.
- Trucks cannot be wider than 8 feet and 6 inches.
- Drivers must get a permit to drive an oversized truck.
- The earliest oversized trucks can drive on the road is 30 minutes before sunrise.
- The latest oversized trucks can drive on the road is 30 minutes before sunset.
- Some oversized loads are not allowed on the road during weekends.
- Trucks that are over 12 feet wide must have one pilot car.
- Trucks that are over 14 feet wide must have two pilot cars.
The Dangers of Oversize Loads
While road safety standards have improved over the years, large truck accidents still occur in robust numbers across the country. According to the recent NHTSA Traffic Safety Report, large truck accidents continue to range in the hundreds of thousands each year as far back as 1975. In 2020, trucks greater than 10,000 pounds were involved in more accidents than those under 10,000 pounds in the large trucks category. California follows the same trend, seeing hundreds of fatalities involving large trucks each year.
Some of the biggest reasons that we continue to see oversize load truck accidents is due to their very large blind spots, the especially slow and long braking requirements, and their unusually large turning radius. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles suggests this easy way to determine if you are in a truck’s blind spot – If you can’t see the driver in their mirrors, they most likely cannot see you.
State and federal regulations that provide standards to avoid negligence on the roadway with unusually large loads. However, there are many other types of accidents, each of which might suggest negligence on the part of the driver and/or the company he or she works for at the time of the incident.
Common types of big rig and commercial truck accidents include:
- Rollovers: A rollover is when a truck has fallen over as a result of negligent driving. They can be devastating as once the rollover begins, the truck is out of the driver’s control. These crashes often occur in places where a truck is forced to make a sharp turn, like on/off ramps, bridges, and intersections. Oversize loads can cause rollovers if the workers who secure the load disregard weight restrictions or fail to distribute the weight evenly. Negligent driver behaviors like speeding can also contribute to a rollover wreck.
- Blown tires: If oversize loads are not secured or loaded correctly, they can cause uneven pressure of miles of travel, which creates a risk for a tire to pop or explode. Tire blowouts are extremely dangerous because they can lead to complete loss of control over a vehicle.
- Jackknife crashes: A jackknife crash is when a truck comes to a sudden stop, and the trailer continues moving forward. This creates a dangerous situation where the truck’s cab and trailer fold together at a sharp angle. This type of incident usually results in a complete loss of control over the truck. Driver distraction and fatigue can play a role in jackknife crashes by creating situations where the driver has to slam on the brakes suddenly. Ice and inclement weather can also create a risk of jackknife accidents.
- Extended stopping distances: The heavier or larger a load becomes, the longer the vehicle carrying it needs to stop. It could take an oversize load vehicle more than 1,000 feet to stop when traveling at 50-55mph. Driver fatigue, distractions, and blindspots can all cause these kinds of destructive accidents.
- Improper loading or Overloading: Not only can improper loading cause undue stresses on the vehicle carrying it, but it can also create a danger to the item itself. The risk of an item coming loose, breaking, or even hitting a stationary object all increase when the load is not properly and safely loaded.
Statute of Limitations for Oversize Truck Accidents with Injuries
In both California and Nevada, the statute of limitations – the time you have to file suit for injuries in an oversize load truck accident – can vary depending on the specific circumstances. Generally, it is a two-year period from the date of the incident in which a plaintiff must file a claim against the responsible party. This time can go quickly when recovering from the injuries that usually come with oversize load accidents.
In some cases, such as when a governmental entity is involved, this period may be shortened to six months or one year. It is important to be aware of the applicable time frames and make sure a claim is filed in a timely manner, as failure to do so can mean losing the right to pursue legal action.
Additionally, special circumstances might extend the statute of limitations for truck accident cases in California, such as when a defendant tries to hide or conceal his or her involvement in the incident. In such instances, a plaintiff may be able to pursue legal action beyond the standard two-year period. It is important for anyone considering filing a truck accident claim to consult an experienced California attorney who can ensure compliance with all applicable time frames and statutes of limitations.
Frequently Asked Questions about Oversized Load Truck Accidents
Can you pass an oversize load on the highway?
The most common type of truck accident is a wide-turn accident. This is closely followed by a rollover and a jackknife crash.
How do I file a lawsuit after a truck accident involving an oversize load?
If you are injured in a truck accident involving an oversize load, you may be able to file a lawsuit. In order to file a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the driver was negligent and caused your injuries. You may also be able to file a claim against the company that owns the truck or the company that loaded the cargo. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you determine whether you have a case and guide you through the process.
Start a Free Case Review for Your Oversized Load Truck Accident
If you have been injured in a trucking accident, the best thing you can do for yourself and your case is to get a free case evaluation from an experienced truck accident attorney. A free case review will help you understand your rights, learn more about the legal process, and find out how much compensation you may be entitled to receive. The attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm have a deep understanding of trucking laws and regulations, so they can help you build the strongest possible case to get the justice and financial compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait any longer – contact us today for a free case evaluation. We are here to ensure your rights are protected and that justice is served.
We Work Using Contingency Fees
Do not worry about upfront costs. Wilshire Law Firm operates on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay NO FEES unless you win your case. In the event that we win your case, a percentage of the amount collected in the lawsuit becomes the fee. It’s a great incentive and makes for a strong partnership between you the client and our semi-truck crash injury law firm.