Cargo Spills in Truck Crashes

Friday, October 14, 2022

Cargo Spills in Truck Crashes

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

The trucking industry is a critical pillar of the economy that most people take for granted. Truckers are responsible for moving 70% of all freight in the United States, and most U.S. communities depend on trucks for the delivery of everyday goods such as food, medicine, fuel, and much more. Trucks are everywhere, which means so are truck accidents.

Many truck accidents happen when drivers operate their vehicles carelessly and negligently under the circumstances. For instance, a driver might violate a traffic law, drive distracted, fail to watch the road, or operate their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. At other times, trucking companies may fail to hire and retain capable drivers to operate their vehicles.

Besides the potentially deadly nature of some of these accidents, there is also the possible spilling of the truck’s cargo that could, at times, involve hazardous chemicals and other dangerous cargo, which can turn even a minor accident into a more serious one, if not a disaster altogether.

If you suffered injuries in a cargo spill incident – or any other type of tractor-trailer crash – please let our Chicago truck accident lawyers evaluate your rights. Our legal team can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and determine how it occurred – and who likely caused it. We may then be able to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your behalf and pursue the monetary damages you deserve for your injuries.

Types of Cargo Spills During Truck Accident

When a truck crashes, a trailer door opens, or cargo securement otherwise comes loose, items can fall across the highway. Some drivers might not be able to stop in time, causing chain-reaction crashes in many situations.

However, if hazardous or toxic chemicals spill, it presents many additional safety issues – not only to people at the scene and those who live or work nearby but also for cleanup crews. There might be continued exposure of those around to these hazardous chemicals or other dangerous cargo spilled on the road, which can cause additional injuries from toxic chemical exposure.

In some cases, a truck carrying flammable cargo might crash, potentially leading to an explosion or fire that causes many additional and widespread injuries and damage.

What Should You Do?

If you are involved in a truck accident in which there is truck spilling of any kind, take precautions to protect yourself from getting contaminated. Call 911 right away if you can. If you are driving near a scene where dangerous cargo has spilled out from a truck, stop where it is safe to do so and contact emergency services immediately.

Always follow instructions from the emergency personnel, especially if your vehicle is involved in the accident. Stay at a safe distance, and police officers should come to victims and witnesses under such circumstances.

Truck accidents that involve chemical spills may also cause serious injuries, including burn injuries, soft tissue contusions, and broken bones. If you need immediate medical attention, heed the advice of EMTs and take an ambulance ride or head straight to the ER.

At the hospital emergency room or urgent care center, the responding healthcare provider can thoroughly examine and diagnose you – and provide the necessary medical treatment. The provider can also make recommendations for future care if your symptoms become worse.

Seeking initial medical treatment is especially important because it helps to ensure that your injuries do not become worse with time. Many injuries are asymptomatic until several days or weeks after the accident. Moreover, seeking early medical treatment shows the insurance company that your injuries are serious if you later file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for damages.

Our legal team can begin investigating the circumstances of your accident and gathering the necessary documents – all while you focus on making a full recovery.

Causes of Cargo Spills

Cargo spills from accidents are often caused by avoidable or preventable errors, such as the shipping company overloading the cargo or driver fatigue. This often means the accident happens because of negligence, which, in turn, means the driver and his or her employer could be held liable for the damages that a victim of the accident suffers.

A truck driver, trucking company, shipper, or other individual/entity is negligent when they fail to act “reasonably” under the circumstances. For an action or inaction to be deemed “negligent,” the accident victim must prove all of the following legal elements:

  • That the at-fault party violated the prevailing standard of care
  • That this violation caused the chemical spill or truck accident
  • That the accident victim suffered one or more physical injuries
  • That these injuries directly resulted from the subject truck accident or cargo spill

Recoverable Damages in Truck Cargo Spill Cases

Victims of truck accidents and truck cargo spills have the sole legal burden of proof in their personal injury claims. If they are able to prove each legal element, they may be eligible to recover various damages.

The damages that victims recover vary from case to case, depending upon certain factors. Those factors include how the accident occurred, the extent of the accident victim’s injuries, and the cost of their medical treatment. Some accident victims suffer permanent injuries that cause them lifelong pain, suffering, and inconvenience.

First, truck accident victims can pursue compensation for their out-of-pocket expenses, including the cost of all related medical treatment. If they had to miss time from work due to their injuries, they could bring a claim for lost wages.

In addition to economic damages, truck accident victims could pursue compensation for their pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental distress, permanent disfigurement, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of the ability to use a body part. Our experienced truck accident attorneys can evaluate your claim and help you maximize the monetary damages your recover in your case.

Speak with a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Today

When trucking companies ignore safety regulations, and accidents occur as a result, they should face liability for the injuries and losses they cause. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck cargo spill in the Chicago area, contact Malman Law today for a free consultation.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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