Although some truck accidents are caused by problems with cargo (such as unbalanced, unsecured or shifting loads), most of the time it is caused by driver error. Whether fault is with the truck driver or another motorist, there are still some dangers that could be present with the cargo being transported that may make an accident worse.
In some cases, a Clarksburg, WV truck accident attorney may hold whoever was responsible for the loading of cargo on the truck as holding liability if it was done improperly and caused or contributed to an accident and resultant injuries.
Dangers of Hazardous & Non-hazardous Material in a Truck Accident
One of the dangers is when a truck is carrying hazardous material. If it spills, as a result of a rollover or a collision, there could be bigger problems than the crash itself. This is especially true when big rigs are transporting materials such as gasoline, flammable liquids or chemicals that are explosive.
If there is a spillage, it could cause a fire. Those involved in the crash are at a high risk of inhaling toxic fumes or suffering burns. If not fatal, the injuries could lead to long-term care in a hospital or burn unit. There may even be extensive scarring and disfigurement.
Even non-hazardous material being transported could be dangerous in a truck accident. Semis that are carrying construction materials, vehicles or other types of heavy, larger items could cause injuries to drivers in Clarksburg, WV.
A truck accident attorney will examine the details of the accident involving a truck to establish liability for driver error that causes the accident, and perhaps even with other parties responsible for loading the truck if it was not done correctly.
FMCSA Cargo Regulations
Spills of hazardous or nonhazardous material is not the only danger when it comes to cargo in a truck accident. When a load shifts or becomes loose, this can cause a driver to lose control or may cause the truck to tip over.
The trucking industry, which is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), must follow the “North American Cargo Securement Standard.” This provides specific guidelines for trucking companies and truckers, and a Clarksburg, WV truck accident attorney will investigate to determine if any regulation were violated.
Some of the regulations stipulate that the cargo must be:
- adequately secured;
- properly distributed;
- not obstruct the driver’s sight on the front or on the sides; and
- not interfere with the driver’s ability to move his or her arms and legs.
This is based on a cargo securement system that is able to withstand a minimum amount of forward, rearward, sideways and upward force.
Truck Liability for Cargo Spills and Other Dangers
It is possible for more than one party to hold truck liability in a cargo spill or when a load has shifted or otherwise contributes to an accident. The motor carrier might be responsible, as they oversee the truck driver and the semi-truck.
If the truck driver had a duty to inspect the truck before getting behind the wheel, a failure to recognize and/or correct a problem with the cargo could make him or her liable. Or if the driver’s reckless driving was the cause of a load shifting, this could make him or her responsible.
Sometimes outside companies can also be liable. Examples include loaders who did not properly load the cargo, and as a result it created an unbalanced or unsecured load that led to the accident.
In some cases, the trailer carrying the load or the equipment used to secure a load may be defective. In this case a manufacturer might be responsible. When there are multiple factors that play into an accident, it is possible that a Clarksburg, WV truck accident attorney may file a lawsuit in which multiple parties may hold truck liability.
Talking to a Clarksburg, WV Truck Accident Attorney about Truck Liability
Truck accident claims can be very complex, not only in the way of obtaining evidence but also in establishing fault for the accident. Victims of accidents involving large trucks in Clarksburg, WV can consult a truck accident attorney for help pursuing a claim for damages.