Cargo spills pose a serious threat to others on the road. Injuries caused by trucks are often severe, and victims who experience injuries due to cargo spills have the added risk of being exposed to harmful or hazardous materials.
Every year, there are thousands of wrecks caused by cargo spills, many of which involve hazardous materials. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) stated that around 151 Americans are killed each year because of cargo spills.
If you were injured in a cargo spill accident or if you lost a loved one, you need to hire expert lawyers who handle cargo spill cases. With legal support, you can hold the negligent parties responsible and recover compensation for vehicle damages, personal injuries, and wrongful death.
When looking for the right lawyer to represent you in your cargo spill case, you need to hire an experienced legal team who will fight tirelessly for your rights to compensation. Here at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we have many years of experience handling truck accidents and cargo spill accidents for Detroit and Michigan residents. We’ve helped numerous victims receive compensation for wrecks and cargo spills. We will represent you every step of the way so that you can maximize the amount of damages you’ll receive.
If you’re ready to recover the money you deserve, contact our cargo spill accident lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). We offer no-risk, free consultation to get you started with your legal options.
The Dangers of Cargo Trucks
Truck accidents are highly dangerous because trucks weigh significantly more than the average passenger vehicle. The additional weight increases the likelihood of serious or fatal injuries. Cargo trucks have the added risk of their load becoming unsecured and injuring others. This can be especially devastating if the cargo truck was transporting hazardous materials.
When a truck driver or loading company fails to properly secure a load, the truck’s risk of causing an accident increases significantly. When not properly secured, the weight of the load’s contents can push open the vehicle’s doors and cause injuries to others on the road.
With flatbed trucks, loose cargo can cause devastating accidents at high speeds. If cargo isn’t strapped down effectively, it can fall off of the truck or suddenly shoot off of the truck if it becomes unsecured while the truck is traveling at a high speed.
When cargo falls from a truck, it can hit other vehicles, causing serious injuries or deaths. Additionally, loose cargo may litter the road, which then forces drivers to swerve suddenly and cause deadly accidents. When drivers swerve, they can injure or kill other drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians.
Cargo spills can also result in vehicles wrecking while attempting to slow down. With the disruption of traffic caused by loose cargo, vehicles that are far from the original cargo spill can wreck into stopped vehicles if they’re not driving carefully or if the roads are slick.
In addition to standard loose cargo, there’s also the chance that trucks were transporting hazardous materials. These types of spills can result in explosions, fires, or exposure to radioactive or toxic material. These spills also often come with serious detrimental effects on the environment.
Injuries Resulting from Cargo Spill Accidents
Cargo spill accidents can lead to severe and fatal injuries. Some of these may include broken bones, neck and spinal injuries, and back injuries, all of which can result in permanent disabilities. Spilled hazardous loads can result in:
- Serious burns from chemicals or flammable materials
- Poisoning from toxins
- Respiratory issues
- Carcinogen exposure
- Impaired brain development
Even if you only experienced minor injuries, you still have every right to collect compensation for the wreck in Michigan. If your wreck resulted from a cargo spill, you shouldn’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for your medical treatments. Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm to learn more about the kind of damages you can recover for your injuries.
Laws For Transporting Hazardous Cargo
Because hazardous materials can result in serious or fatal injuries to others and have incredibly harmful effects on the environment, cargo trucks carrying hazardous materials have to follow strict state and federal laws.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has detailed instructions regarding the loading and transportation of hazardous materials. Additionally, drivers are required to have strict training for transporting these materials.
In addition to rules established by OSHA, the Department of Transportation (DOT) also has regulations regarding the transportation of hazardous materials. Failing to follow DOT rules can result in a $75,000 fine, and injuring or killing someone or causing property damage due to a breach in DOT rules can result in a $175,000 fine.
The Patriot Act established that all drivers who transport hazardous materials need to go through a background check and be fingerprinted. The Patriot Act was created in 2001 as a counter-terrorism measure.
State laws dictate the maximum amount a truck can weigh while transporting a load. The federal standard for maximum gross truck weight is 80,000 pounds, but in Michigan, trucks can weigh up to 164,000 pounds. Although this is far greater than federal standards, trucks are not allowed to carry more than 13,000 pounds of cargo on each axle, so 143,000 pounds of cargo would require 11 axles.
Liability in a Cargo Spill Accident
In addition to rules and regulations from OSHA, the Patriot Act, and the DOT, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) features critical rules for the transportation of both hazardous and non-hazardous loads. The FMCSA regulations state that truck drivers are required to secure their loads to prohibit the cargo from shifting within the truck or falling off of the vehicle.
In terms of liability for an unsecured load, FMCSA regulations state that it’s the “responsibility of the motor carrier and the driver to ensure that any cargo aboard a vehicle is properly loaded and secured.” This means that the trucking company, cargo handlers, and driver are responsible for loads, and they could be held accountable if a cargo spill causes damages, injuries, or deaths.
Cargo spills are typically caused by human error or negligence. The driver, truck company, or cargo loaders may have failed to properly follow safety regulations in the interest of time and convenience. Cargo spills may be caused exclusively by the driver if they failed to drive with reasonable care and operated their vehicle while impaired or distracted. They may have also failed to drive their vehicle safely and took sharp turns that resulted in the spilled cargo.
The cargo handlers or truck company may be found liable for damages and injuries if the cargo was improperly loaded. Additionally, they could be found liable if the devices used to secure the load don’t abide by government regulations or were defective.
Additionally, the truck company could be held liable for damages accumulated in a cargo spill accident if they forced a driver to transport the load while fatigued.
There are also accident cases in which the state or local government could also be held liable in a cargo spill accident. If a cargo spill directly results because a road wasn’t properly maintained, a municipality could be held liable.
What Should I Do After a Cargo Spill Accident?
If you experience a wreck caused by a cargo spill, you should receive medical attention immediately. After receiving any necessary treatment, you need to contact expert cargo spill accident attorneys.
When you experience vehicular damages or personal injuries because of a cargo spill, you’ll likely hear from the legal representation of the truck company. Trucking companies typically have significant liability insurance to cover potential damage done to other motor vehicles. They’ll usually attempt to offer a quick settlement to mitigate the amount of financial damage done to the trucking company. The amount they offer will usually sound impressive, but in reality, they’re offering the minimum amount possible to keep you from seeking further damages.
Never sign a settlement without discussing it with a lawyer. With seasoned legal support, you’ll earn the amount you deserve in compensation from the trucking company’s insurance. Here at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we’ll fight for you to ensure you receive the maximum amount possible.
What Compensation Can I Expect to Receive?
If you experienced a personal injury from a cargo spill, the exact amount you can expect will be based on your case’s circumstances. You can expect to receive compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If you lost a loved one in a cargo spill accident, you’ll also be able to file a wrongful death claim if the person was your family member. Additionally, estate representatives of the victim can also file a wrongful death suit. Damages you can receive in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of parent
- Loss of consortium
Contact Cargo Spill Accident Attorneys
In order to receive the most compensation possible for vehicle damages, personal injuries, or the loss of a loved one, you need to contact seasoned legal professionals who have experience handling cargo spill accidents.
For expert legal guidance you can trust, contact the truck accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm. We have many years of professional experience representing victims of truck accidents and cargo spill accidents. Our team of dedicated personal injury and car accident lawyers will assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve.
Call our Detroit and Michigan cargo spill accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or click here to receive a free case evaluations.