Automobile accidents involving cargo spills occur when a truck releases cargo, liquids or goods onto the roadway. These spills can have devastating consequences to other motorists on the road and can cause serious personal injury and damage to other vehicles and the environment. These types of incidents are some of the most complicated trucking accidents because multiple parties could be at fault and sometimes the spills involve the release or discharge of hazardous materials. Cargo spills have a variety of causes, including the following:
- Someone overloaded the truck with cargo or some kind of product;
- The driver lost control of the truck due to speeding, turning too quickly, or falling asleep;
- Someone loaded the truck improperly or failed to secure the cargo, which leads to “cargo shifting” during transit;
- Someone failed to provide “dunnage,” or a proper amount of material or inflatable bags to fill empty space and provide for cargo support; or
- Someone used the incorrect size truck or the wrong kind of truck for the particular type of cargo being transported.
Trucking accidents involving cargo spills may lead to various disasters, depending on what type of material was spilled (regular goods, heavy steel, or hazardous chemicals, etc.), and how many drivers are behind the truck at the time of the spill. Sometimes, even if the drivers of vehicles behind the truck have time to avoid the cargo, they may not be able to avoid other vehicles and a collision may occur.
Drivers of surrounding vehicles are not the only parties who can be harmed by a cargo spill. Depending on what type of cargo is spilled, these incidents can cause property damage or environmental harm. Consider, for example, a situation where a trucking accident causes hazardous waste to be spilled into a body of water near the site of the accident, or alternatively, a situation where poisonous chemicals come into contact with crops. Even if affected parties suffer no bodily harm, they may be able to recover economic or other damages due to the spill event.
It is important to consult with an experienced Birmingham cargo spill attorney at Hollis Wright Law Firm. Our attorneys understand the various industry standards that apply to commercial truck drivers that are in the business of transporting cargo. For example, truck drivers must be properly trained and must abide by not only the speed limit, but also by regulations mandating that the driver take breaks between trips. Moreover, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), along with other government agencies, has passed several regulations pertaining to cargo transportation. These include:
- Performance tests for the cargo securement;
- Standards for the vehicle performing the transportation of cargo to ensure that it is suitable for the job;
- Guidelines regarding the placement of restraints on cargo;
- The proper use of tie-down materials;
- Regulations on unrated and unmarked anchor points;
- The requirement that drivers take breaks to periodically inspect the cargo throughout each trip to ensure that it is secure and stable.
Our legal team at Hollis Wright is highly experienced in the science of accident investigation and reconstruction as well as determining the responsible parties. We have been involved in many cases that require significant and detailed forensic analysis. Oftentimes, it is necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to examine the vehicles and trucks involved in a motor vehicle accident to determine who is liable. We have access to some of the best experts in the country who can conduct a full scale investigation and reconstruction of these types of accidents.
If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a cargo spill accident, or if your property was damaged by the spilling of cargo, don’t wait, contact an experienced attorney at Hollis Wright today for a free consultation. If you retain an attorney at our firm, your case will be handled on a contingency fee basis which means you don’t pay a fee unless we obtain a monetary award or settlement on your behalf.