Spillage of Contents by Big Trucks: Danger and Liability

Home » Spillage of Contents by Big Trucks: Danger and Liability
November 18, 2019
Edward Smith

Spillage of Contents by Big Trucks: Danger and Liability 

Due to the number of trucks on the road hauling 71 percent of all freight in the United States and around Roseville, spillage of contents becomes a problem affecting our safety. Truck drivers and shippers are required to make sure that their cargo is securely loaded and distributed properly. If this does not happen, the load can shift during transport, causing a catastrophic accident. In addition, some of the cargo is hazardous, adding to the problem. The number of cargo spills has grown tremendously since 2001, increasing by 40 percent, according to the American Automobile Association. Let’s take a look at spillage of contents, who is liable if an accident occurs and how an attorney can help.

Reasons Cargo Spillage Happens

There are various reasons cargo spillage occurs. Let’s review some of them:

  • Not loading cargo properly: According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, it is up to the trucker or loading facility to inspect the cargo to make sure it is loaded properly. This includes checking the weight, securement, and the way the cargo is distributed. If this is not done, it increases the risk that there will be a spillage of contents onto the road.
  • Cargo checks along the way are not done: Truck drivers are required to inspect their cargo when it is loaded and before the trip begins. However, it does not end there. After the pre-trip inspection, they are obligated to recheck it after traveling 50 miles. Subsequent checks are required at every 150 miles of transport and during a rest break.
  • Unbalanced cargo: When cargo is not distributed properly, an accident is waiting to happen. Flying cargo can cause serious injuries and, on occasion, fatalities. The heaviest cargo should be placed in the center with lighter weight items along the sides of the truck. 
  • Not maintaining a truck: Imagine a heavily loaded truck hauling logs or heavy equipment down the highway having a tire blowout. When this happens, it is likely the trucker will lose control of his or her vehicle, causing restraints to snap and allowing cargo to fall to the road. This can endanger others sharing the road. The lack of maintenance can also involve the brakes as well as the tires, leading to the same end result.
  • Roadway issues cause problems too: All too often, roads are not maintained as they should be. This covers potholes, fallen tree limbs, and the presence of sharp curves without warning signs. All of these conditions can cause a truck accident, resulting in spillage of contents. When this happens, the government agency in charge of maintenance can be the subject of a lawsuit.
  • Hazardous spillage of contents: Tanker trucks can carry hazardous and flammable liquids such as gasoline. When the truck is not filled to capacity, the liquids can slosh around and cause the truck to become unbalanced, resulting in an accident. Not only are the materials dangerous on the road by making it slippery, but they can also combust, explode, cause chemical burns and endanger nearby homes, the environment, and animals. It is necessary to involve hazmat crews and government agencies in the cleanup. Some of the other materials include:
    • Radioactive materials 
    • Chemicals 
    • Corrosives
    • Oxidizers

Who Is Liable?

The truckers, shippers, and trucking companies are all liable. The trucker is obligated to load the truck in a manner that complies with regulations. The trucking company must train and vet their drivers in such a way as to ensure that they are doing this important task correctly. If a third party is hired to load the truck, as often happens, the trucking company and the shipper are required to make sure that their reputation is flawless. In each of these scenarios, the shipper must be sure to use a trucking company that will safely transport their goods from one area to another without resulting in an accident. The end result is that when spillage of contents does occur, an injured party can file a lawsuit against everyone down the line in terms of liability.

How an Attorney Can Help

In cases where content spillage results in an accident, our firm sends experienced investigators to the site where they search for evidence of fault. This means inspecting the way the cargo was secured, looking for failure to distribute it properly, and checking the trucker’s log to see that the cargo was inspected at required intervals. We also speak to witnesses, review police reports for accuracy, and obtain video footage of the accident from traffic surveillance cameras. Our investigators also check on truck maintenance, whether truck part defects were involved and if the trucker or company had previous issues with cargo spillage. Once all this data is accumulated, our investigators release the information to our lawyers to build a strong case against the defendants.

Roseville Truck Accident Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville truck accident attorney. Truck accidents often result in catastrophic injuries. It is important to have an experienced lawyer at your side. Call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. I can also be reached online.

I’ve helped many Roseville clients obtain the compensation they or their families deserve in wrongful death lawsuits, car accidents, and other traumatic injuries

I belong to the following organizations, among others:

To learn about my practice, please go to the following pages:

Photo Distribution: https://pixabay.com/photos/loading-cargo-container-truck-646934/

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