Cities across Ohio, including Columbus, are transport hubs for various resources used around the United States. Therefore, it is common to see freight trucks driving and delivering precious items throughout the state. However, when any type of cargo or HAZMAT is spilled, it can cause a very dangerous situation for the truck drivers as well as automobile drivers and pedestrians passing by.
How do cargo spills happen?
When a product is shipped from a business or warehouse, it is usually the responsibility of semi-truck drivers and their employers to ensure that the products make it to their destinations in a safe and timely manner. However, when a company or trucker is in a rush, negligence may occur. This can result in a cargo spill very quickly. Here are a few common scenarios in which truck accidents and cargo spills happen:
- The truck load is too heavy or imbalanced, which can lead to the truck becoming difficult to maneuver.
- The truck has a tire blowout, defective part, or engine failure, causing the trucker to lose control of the vehicle.
- Other automobile drivers drift into the trucker’s lane, which may lead to the truck driver immediately needing to stop or slow down.
- The roads are improperly or poorly maintained, leading to a crash.
- Inclement weather is present, which may cause the trucker to slide and collide with another vehicle or object.
- The truck driver or other automobile drivers are speeding. When speeding occurs, drivers are unable to stop or slow down in time, which can cause an unnecessary collision or accident.
- The load isn’t correctly secured. When this happens, the trucker may lose their load entirely, causing it to strike other vehicles or objects.
- The trucker turned too quickly. This can lead to a truck rollover accident.
- Objects are left on the road. When objects are left on the road, truck drivers must swerve around them, which may cause them to lose control of their vehicle.
- The truck driver is tired and fatigued, causing them to fall asleep or make errors when driving.
HAZMAT spills pose additional risks for everyone
According to the U.S. General Services Administration, HAZMAT is an abbreviation for hazardous materials. Therefore, when a truck is transporting HAZMAT, they are carrying dangerous goods that could cause great danger if they are spilled out onto the roads. Examples of HAZMAT include:
- Toxic chemicals such as carcinogens, reproductive toxins, neurotoxins, nephrotoxins, corrosives, irritants, and other chemicals that can damage the skin, lungs, and eyes
- Chemicals that produce gasses, smoke, dusts, mists, vapors, or fumes
- Combustible liquids, explosives, flammable products, compressed gasses, peroxides, pyrophorics, and oxidizers
You should be very careful around HAZMAT spills because these materials and chemicals pose a serious risk to truck drivers as well as individuals nearby. Therefore, if you are around HAZMAT spills, you may become poisoned, suffer severe illnesses, experience burns, or even die. In addition, HAZMAT spills can cause long-term complications for many years to come, such as different types of cancer diagnoses due to inhalation and exposure to toxic chemicals.
What federal regulations have been put in place to reduce cargo spills?
The federal government has taken necessary precautions to reduce the risks associated with truck drivers carrying dangerous cargo. One of the main steps that the government has taken is requiring truckers and their companies to follow specific loading procedures. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has provided clear rules and regulations for proper cargo security, such as requiring drivers to use ropes, straps, or tarps. The Administration also goes over using wedges and chocks if cargo is expected to move or roll when being transported. That said, it is the responsibility of the truck driver and their company to ensure that their pipes, lumber, machinery, lumber, and other items are secure at all times.
Determining liability in a truck accident involving a cargo spill
When truck drivers and truck companies fail to follow federal rules and guidelines, they may be held liable for cargo spills that occur. As a matter of fact, the trucker’s employer may share some responsibility in the accident if the following are found:
- The truck company failed to properly train truckers or loaders on specific loading procedures.
- The truck company failed to provide the truck drivers with the essentials needed to safely carry cargo from one place to another.
- The truck company did not require its truck drivers to inspect and ensure that their loads were secure and safe during transport.
- The truck company did not properly maintain trucks or equipment.
- The truck company did not ensure that their prospective employees were trained or experienced in transporting cargo or HAZMAT during the hiring process.
The types of damages you may recover in a truck cargo spill case
Individuals who have been harmed in truck accidents and truck cargo spills may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their injuries and losses. However, determining the types of damages that you may recover can be a tricky process. The Columbus truck accident lawyers from Soroka & Associates encourage you to schedule a free case evaluation today to begin going over the types of damages you are owed. We will determine how your accident occurred, the extent of your injuries or illnesses from the accident, and the costs of your medical treatments. This may include permanent injuries and illnesses that are expected to cause long-term pain and suffering.
You are not only entitled to pursue damages for your financial losses, but you can also seek compensation for your mental trauma, permanent disfigurement or scarring, disability, loss of quality of life, and more. Our experienced and skilled truck accident attorneys will guide you through the process, ensure that you understand every single detail, and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
At Soroka & Associates, we prioritize our clients’ recovery and healing. Therefore, our truck accident attorneys will focus on completing all necessary paperwork, meeting deadlines, gathering evidence, and building a strong case against the defendant, while you spend your time resting and recuperating. To begin speaking with our team, please call our office or submit our contact form. They can answer any of your questions or concerns, transfer you to a lawyer, and schedule your free consultation today.