Cargo spill accident | Virginia Truck Accident LawyerHaving gas available at the pump and food on the grocery store shelves is entirely dependent on smoothly working truck routes. There’s no question that getting materials where they need to go is a vital service for all Virginians, but sometimes it's also extremely dangerous. Negligent behavior may create conditions where truck cargo spills onto a street or highway, causing collisions or serious burn injuries. 

Potential Hazards of Truck Cargo Spills

When dealing with tens of thousands of pounds traveling at high speeds, any slight shift in cargo can be disastrous. Other issues like uneven weight distribution or sloshing liquids can be just as dangerous on long hauls. When a vehicle moving at 70 miles per hour suddenly has its center of gravity shift, accidents are bound to happen. 

While victims could collide with cargo strewn on the road, it is also possible to suffer serious injuries without a collision if the truck was carrying hazardous materials. Drivers or passengers at the scene of the accident may breathe in fumes from solvents or other materials that could burn the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. Anyone near the site of a truck accident with spilled cargo can be subjected to hazards like:

  • Explosive materials striking the pavement
  • Gas released if the cargo container is penetrated during a collision
  • Liquid spills posing particularly serious dangers if it is corrosive, flammable, or radioactive
  • Solid objects like boxes coming loose and directly striking a vehicle 
  • Massive freight like logs, new vehicles, or building materials blocking the road

How Cargo Spills Happen in Virginia Truck Accidents

Truckers are required to perform safety checks before hitting the road. Unfortunately, these important steps are frequently glossed over or ignored entirely. Truck drivers are often paid by the mile rather than the hour, which means there is little incentive to complete these necessary inspections.

There are additionally times when cargo-hauling companies don’t correctly train drivers in inspection procedures. Problems can also occur at a different point in the process, like if a third-party loading crew doesn’t perform its duties properly. Truck spill accidents in Virginia are often caused by:

  • Cargo that isn’t balanced or secured properly
  • Defective parts or mechanical problems caused by a lack of maintenance
  • Leaking or improperly closed valves
  • Jackknifing or a rollover caused by driver error 
  • Other driver negligence such as distracted or tired driving, speeding, DUI, etc. 
  • Too much weight placed on the vehicle by overloading cargo

Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Cargo Spill Injury

Depending on the type of cargo any given truck is hauling, there is an extremely wide range of possible injuries in a collision. Skin burns, lung problems, vision issues, or even cancer can be caused by hazardous materials in addition to typical accident injuries like broken bones or traumatic brain injuries.  

Dealing with the physical repercussions of a truck crash is difficult enough, but many victims aren’t prepared for the financially devastating aftermath. Medical costs are often astronomical in these types of accidents, and many people injured by a truck crash can’t return to work after the collision. 

Suffering injuries in a cargo spill doesn’t have to ruin your financial future, however. You have a legal right to seek compensation for property damage to your vehicle, medical bills from hospital stays and physical therapy, wages lost during the recovery process, as well as non-economic damages like emotional suffering.  

Whether you end up getting a settlement from insurance or taking the negligent party to court, you’ll need an attorney to investigate the circumstances around the crash and determine who is specifically liable for your damages. The at-fault party could be:

  • The manufacturer of a defective part
  • Loading crews
  • Negligent mechanics
  • The driver
  • The trucking company that hired the driver 
  • Someone else on the road who caused the truck to crash

Kevin W. Mottley
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Richmond, VA trial lawyer dedicated to handling brain injuries, car accidents and other serious injury claims
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