Denver Truck Cargo Spill Accident Attorneys
There is no auto accident as devastating as a truck accident. These vehicles can weigh between 80,000 and 100,000 pounds, meaning an accident can easily lead to surrounding cars being completely crushed. A cargo spill could make things even worse, as the cargo could be dangerous, toxic, or heavy. If a driver or loader failed to properly secure cargo in a truck’s trailer, then they would be liable to any injuries sustained in a spill.
The team at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. has witnessed the damage and devastation that these kinds of accidents can cause. Very few accident victims walk away from a cargo spill without a traumatic injury, and these injuries can require months to years of medical intervention. If you have found yourself injured by a cargo spill accident, we can use all of our legal experience and knowledge to advocate for the compensation you need to recover. Call our firm at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free at (877) 433-3906 to receive top-notch legal aid.
The responsibility for securing cargo can come down to the truck’s driver, a loading team, a delivery company, or the trucking company responsible for the vehicle. If any one of these groups acts negligently and cargo is not properly secured, their carelessness can cause a devastating spill. Sadly, profits and speed often get put above safety, and drivers may act recklessly to complete a load on time or loading crews may be encouraged to pack as much cargo into the truck as possible. But there is no excuse for cargo spills, and victims should be properly compensated when trucking companies allow negligence to occur.
Some common ways that cargo spills happen are:
- The trailer was overloaded
- The cargo was not properly secured
- The cargo was not properly loaded
- The driver lost control of the truck due to being distracted, fatigued, or speeding
- There was a mechanical failure
What ever the cause may be, if negligence was involved, then someone should be held accountable. These careless actions often lead to totaled or crushed cars and catastrophically wounded victims.
While all truck accidents are deadly given the size and weight of the average 18-wheeler, cargo spills are particularly hazardous. First, cargo spills often occur as a result of an accident like a rollover, jackknifing, or trailer hitch failure. This means that the devastation caused by these already traumatic accidents can be doubled when the cargo suddenly spills out. On top of the damage caused by the trailer itself, surrounding vehicles and pedestrians could be hit by the cargo, creating a second wave of destruction.
Second, the cargo itself may be dangerous. While a truck full of groceries, such as fruit or milk or bread, is unlikely to cause too much damage, many vehicles in Colorado transport dangerous materials. Logging trucks, for example, routinely travel with massive logs, each weighing hundreds of pounds. If the restraints on these logs snap, then they could roll off the truck and crush nearby cars.
Most frightening of all, however, are the trucks that carry chemicals. These chemicals, ranging from gasoline to crude oil to corrosive acids, are commonly transported by tanker trucks. However, if a tank leaked or cracked open during an accident, these hazardous materials can cause serious injuries. Some chemicals even cause fatal illnesses if breathed in. Others can be explosive or cause fires. Not only will these chemicals endanger drivers and pedestrians, but spills can also into a water supply or nearby residential homes, severely impacting the health of entire communities.
Given the devastation caused by cargo spills, you must be asking, who can be held responsible? Such accidents cannot be allowed to stand with no repercussions, especially if multiple parties have been hurt or made ill. In our experience at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., the liable parties in cargo spills are often:
The truck driver: As the driver is the one in control of the truck, they are often at least partially to blame for an accident. Truck drivers must always be focused on the road ahead of them in order to prevent accidents from happening. Taking a turn too quickly, not hitting the brakes soon enough, or allowing their truck to be improperly loaded can all contribute to a cargo spill.
The trucking company: Many trucking companies will put their own profits over the safety of the people sharing the road with their truck. Companies may use faulty equipment to avoid buying replacements, overload the truck, or push drivers to skip rest periods. When these actions lead to a cargo spill, the trucking company must be held accountable.
The loading crew: Loading crews are responsible for organizing cargo in a truck’s trailer, safely filling a tanker, and securing all restraints and seals. These crews must properly load the truck, making sure that all the weight is evenly distributed and there are no large gaps between pieces of cargo. If they load the truck incorrectly, it can easily cause a cargo spill.
The mechanic/manufacturer: Mechanical failures, such as popped tires, broken restraints, and faulty brakes, can all contribute to a spill. If the company who made the parts or the mechanic responsible for the upkeep of the parts was neglectful, then they may actually be the ones liable for your accident.
There is no doubt that cargo spills are among the deadliest truck accidents that someone can experience, especially if it involved hazardous material. No one deserves to suffer due to an accident that wasn’t even their fault. If you have been injured in a cargo spill accident, contact Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. With over 40 years of experience, our Denver truck accident attorneys know how to thoroughly investigate an accident and vigorously advocate for our client’s interests. To get the expert legal advice you need to recover compensation, call our firm today at (303) 759-9945 or toll-free at (877) 433-3906.
- How to Comply with Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations - FMCSA
- Driver's Handbook on Cargo Securement - FMCSA