You should always be extra cautious and a little nervous when sharing the road with commercial trucks. They're much heavier and harder to control than the car or SUV you're driving, and, when they crash, they are far more likely to cause devastating injuries and even death.
But, it's not just the trucks themselves that pose significant risks to everyone on the road - when big rigs spill their cargo, drivers who are nowhere near the truck can find themselves seriously injured, or worse.
Last month, a commercial truck jackknifed on a California interstate and spilled its load of steel pipes, which caused a passenger bus to flip and slide down an embankment. Four people on the bus died. Four other vehicles crashed after they struck the pipes or swerved to avoid them, and several people were transported to hospitals.
Trucks Don't Have to Crash to Spill Their Cargo
When a big rig crashes, its cargo can spill even if it was loaded properly.
But, sometimes commercial trucks lose their cargo even when there is no crash, and that often means someone failed to load it properly or there was an equipment failure. In other words, someone was negligent and can be held liable for injuries that result from the cargo spill.
For example, an Oregon truck driver spent 18 months in prison and faced a wrongful death lawsuit after several half-ton hay bales fell off his rig and struck another commercial truck, killing the driver.
And it's not just obviously dangerous cargo like steel pipes and 1,000-pound hay bales that can hurt and kill other drivers - a Pennsylvania man was killed in April after watermelons fell off a big rig and struck his vehicle.
Truckers and Cargo Loaders Have A Duty of Care to Keep Other Drivers Safe
These examples highlight the fact that commercial trucks carry all kinds of cargo - and that even the most innocuous-seeming goods such as produce can cause great harm if not properly loaded and secured.
Whether they are carrying furniture, food, or appliances in a tractor trailer, cars or livestock in a customized trailer, or heavy machinery or modular homes on flatbed trucks, drivers and trucking companies have a duty to make sure their cargo is properly secured and doesn't pose a threat to other drivers.
Because there are so many different types of cargo and the stakes are so high, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates how commercial trucks are to be loaded and their cargoes secured - a violation of these rules may be evidence of negligence on the part of the truck driver or company.
How Can A Cargo Spill Attorney Help?
Your trucking accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach will help you to determine who is responsible for the crash or the cargo spill - it could be the driver, the trucking company, another company or individual, or all of the above.
We will recruit accident reconstructionists and other experts when appropriate to help establish that the negligence of the driver, the trucking company, the workers who loaded the cargo, or other drivers were responsible for the accident.
Your personal injury attorney at Axelrod and Associates will help you to hold them accountable and recover damages to cover the costs of medical care, pain and suffering, property loss, missed earnings, psychological trauma, and sometimes punitive damages.
If you have been injured or your loved one has been killed in an accident caused by a cargo spill, call your SC cargo spill attorney at Axelrod immediately so that we can begin our investigation and gather the evidence that you will need to prove liability and damages in your case.