Spilled Cargo Truck Accident Lawyers
Spilled Cargo Truck Accident Lawyers

Spilled Cargo Truck Accident Lawyers

Spilled cargo truck accidents are serious situations that can be quite dangerous. Many cargo spill accidents involve material goods or liquids that are loaded incorrectly, throwing off how the truck handles. If the truck driver turns sharply or abruptly, the weight of the cargo can suddenly shift, causing the truck to jackknife or flip over and spill its cargo. Bad road or weather conditions can make handling an overloaded truck even more difficult.

Why Cargo Spills Are So Dangerous

Regardless of why they happen, cargo spills can have disastrous implications for other drivers on the road. These accidents can cause severe injuries and damage to people and property. Cargo spill accidents can be complex because several parties could be accountable. Sometimes, these spills involve tanker trucks, which have unique designs and handling abilities, making them challenging to drive.

Cargo spill accidents can result in a range of problems, usually based on the materials or substances that were spilled and how many drivers were near the truck when the spill happened. Even if drivers near the truck were able to steer clear of the spilled cargo, they may run into other vehicles and cause a multi-vehicle accident.

If a tanker truck is hauling combustible or explosive materials, it can be extremely dangerous if it gets involved in an accident. A massive tanker truck explosion will cause significant damage to surrounding property and severe burns to victims. Because flammable liquid spillage can catch fire rapidly and explode, it is critical to address the situation quickly, and any delay in response can be deadly.

People in other vehicles may not be the only parties who can be hurt by a cargo spill accident. These incidents can also lead to property or environmental damage. For instance, an accident might cause toxic waste to be spilled into a river or a field full of crops. Even if impacted parties don’t experience bodily harm, they might be able to receive compensation due to the cargo spill.

Cargo spill truck accident lawyers are valuable resources in the aftermath of these events. They know the different regulations and standards that pertain to transporting cargo with large semi-trucks. For instance, they know the certifications and best practices for hauling certain types of hazardous cargo. They also understand the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations related to cargo transportation, such as those for:

  • Vehicle standards for the transportation of certain types of cargo
  • The placement of cargo restraints
  • Unrated and unmarked anchor points
  • Conducting performance tests to ensure cargo is secure
  • Taking regular breaks to inspect the cargo during a trip

In addition to following regulations related to cargo, there are industry regulations regarding mandatory breaks and hours of service. Naturally, truck drivers must also follow the speed limit and other laws that apply to all drivers.

Types of Accidents Caused by Cargo Spills

In addition to being dangerous on their own, cargo spills can also cause secondary accidents. Any kind of cargo spill accident can result in rear-end collisions when drivers slam on their brakes. This can lead to multi-car pile ups and injuries for all of the drivers involved.

It’s also possible for a cargo spill to trigger other kinds of dangerous accident situations, even for people who weren’t in a crash. For example, people at the scene of a cargo spill might inhale toxic fumes that burn their eyes, lungs, and skin. Other kinds of accidents caused by a cargo spill can include:

  • An explosion of volatile cargo material
  • A corrosive or flammable liquids release
  • A radioactive material spill
  • Airborne projectiles
  • Large freight like logs or building materials rolling into the paths of oncoming cars

Common Injuries from Cargo Spills

The types of injuries caused by a cargo spill will be directly related to the type of cargo. For example, toxic material spills can cause burns, vision issues, or cancer, while large materials flying out of the back of a truck can cause head trauma and broken bones.

In addition to the direct physical injuries caused by a cargo spill, victims also have to deal with the financial costs of being injured. Medical bills are typically astronomical, and they only increase if the accident causes long-lasting injuries. Additionally, injuries suffered in a cargo spill accident might prevent someone from going back to work doing their job as well as they were able to before the accident.

Federal Regulations for Cargo Loads

Because improperly loaded cargo can be such a hazard, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enacted a series of regulations for the loading and shipping of cargo. These regulations are fairly extensive, and an official handbook put out by the federal agency spans more than 100 pages.

Some of the more essential regulations relate to mandatory tie-downs and securement measures that commercial trucks must use for carrying cargo. When large objects are being transported, each object must be secured so that they do not collide with one another during transport. When cargo isn’t properly secured, it can shift, and individual items can collide with each other, possibly leading to an accident.

The only exception to tie-down regulations is for bulk cargo commodities that don’t have a defined structure, such as liquids, gasses, sand, and grains. These bulk materials must be carried in a tank, box, or other container. There are also large sections of requirements related to transporting specific hazardous materials, such as flammable and radioactive materials.

Regardless of the type of cargo, the FMCSA does not consider cargo secured if it leaks, spills, falls from the vehicle, ejects from the vehicle due to wind, or shifts enough to change how the truck handles on the road.

Liability for Accidents Caused by Unsecured Cargo Loads

The person responsible for securing cargo and the trucking company can be held liable if poorly secured cargo dislodges or spills and causes an accident that leads to injuries or damages. If a third party was responsible for securing the cargo, that party could be held liable after a spilled cargo truck accident.

In addition to potentially being responsible for securing the cargo, truck drivers are also required by law to perform cargo checks prior to hitting the road. Unfortunately, some drivers skip these mandatory checks or don’t do them correctly. Because truck drivers are often paid by the mile, not for their time, there isn’t much incentive for them to perform thorough inspections. Trucking companies also have a duty to properly train their drivers on these inspections, and companies that do not provide proper training could be found liable in the event of an accident.

It is important to note that determining liability isn’t always a straightforward exercise. If there was a spilled cargo truck accident that occurred through no fault of the driver or trucking company, then those parties are not liable. For example, if a poorly maintained road causes a truck to flip over and spill its cargo, the driver is not liable if they were fully compliant with all cargo regulations and rules of the road.

In this situation, the state or municipality responsible for maintaining the road where the accident happened could potentially be held liable. If it was determined that the driver was speeding at the time, then the driver and the municipality could also be held liable.

People who were injured or who suffered losses may want to get a settlement or take another party to court. When a large truck is involved in a cargo spill accident, the legal situation can become quite complex. Our lawyers have experience in sorting out the various issues of liability in spilled cargo truck accidents. They understand how to investigate various parties, including vehicle manufacturers, parts manufacturers, shipping departments, truck drivers, trucking companies, municipalities, and drivers of passenger vehicles that may have caused the cargo spill accident.

Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Cargo Spill Accident

Accident victims have a legal right to seek compensation for the injuries they suffered and any damage to their property caused by a cargo spill. Financial compensation can be recovered for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Vehicle damage
  • Property damage
  • Mental or emotional trauma
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Loss of earning potential
  • Loss of companionship
  • Funeral costs

If you or a family member has been involved in a spilled cargo truck accident, you should know that the accident doesn’t have to define your life or ruin your future.

Let Our Spilled Cargo Truck Accident Lawyers Fight for Your Case

At Bretz Injury Law, our legal experts have extensive experience when it comes to all different types of truck accidents. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of semi-trucks, cargo regulations, and the trucking industry’s best practices.

We have many years of experience dealing with cargo spills and truck accidents. We also aren’t afraid to take your case to court. In fact, many other firms rush to get a settlement for their clients, and when they cannot, they turn to us to take a case to court.

When it comes to investigating truck companies and battling insurance companies for our clients, our reputation precedes us, and we are well-known in the Kansas legal community. If you are looking for a law firm that’s willing to go the extra mile on your case, contact us online or call 620-RESULTS today.


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