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Liability for Cargo Spills

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The commercial trucking industry provides a critical link in the process of transporting cargo across the nation. Unfortunately, because the trucks that make this possible are so much larger than passenger cars and are also responsible for carrying potentially hazardous cargo, they also pose a serious risk to other drivers on the road. Collisions involving spilled cargo have proven to be particularly dangerous, as exposure to some of the dangerous substances transported by commercial vehicles can cause serious injury or even death.

Although it is possible to hold a trucking company, other drivers, or even a municipality or state agency responsible for their negligence in causing these types of crashes, doing so can be difficult, as these claims often involve the liability of multiple parties, so if you were recently injured in a collision with a commercial vehicle that also involved spilled cargo, it is critical to retain an experienced New Hampshire truck accident lawyer who can walk you through the process of filing a claim.

The Importance of Properly Securing Cargo

In recognition of the threat posed by commercial vehicles that transport dangerous substances to others on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a series of strict safety regulations regarding loading, securing, and unloading cargo with which trucking companies and their drivers must comply. All cargo being transported by commercial vehicle, for instance, must be immobilized with straps, tarps, ropes, tie-downs, or shoring bars prior to driving. In fact, the exact number of restraints that must be used for products of a certain size or type is even dictated by federal law. Drivers are also often required to utilize edge protection to keep straps from weakening, fraying, or tearing, or to use wedges, chocks, or cradles to keep cargo from shifting or rolling during transit.

Dangerous Cargo

Unfortunately, even when cargo has been loaded carefully, it can still come loose during collisions, especially in crashes that involve rollovers. For this reason, the FMCSA also requires drivers to take extra precautions when loading cargo that is deemed dangerous, including:

  • Boulders and logs;
  • Building materials like lumber;
  • Concrete pipes and metal coils;
  • Freight containers;
  • Equipment and machinery weighing more than 10,000 pounds; and
  • Vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds individually.

Drivers who transport these types of materials are restricted from utilizing certain roads due to the high risk that they pose to others in the event of a collision. They must also comply with specific loading procedures, such as making regular stops to check on the cargo.

Because trucking companies are required by federal law to abide by these regulations, those that fail to do so can be held liable for resulting accidents and required to compensate injured parties for related losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering and even wrongful death.

Contact Our Manchester Office Today

If you were involved in a collision with a commercial truck, you could be entitled to damages. Please contact the dedicated Manchester truck accident lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman today to learn more about how we can help. A member of our team can be reached at 603-624-7200 or via online message.

Resource:

fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/cargo-securement/cargo-securement-rules

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