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Cargo Spill Truck Accident Lawyers

Imagine driving down the highway behind a tractor-trailer when, suddenly, the truck swerves and cargo spills from the trailer. You attempt to avoid the sudden obstacles in your path, drive your vehicle into the ditch, and suffer serious car accident injuries.

Unfortunately, many cargo spill truck accidents seriously injure and even kill other motorists every year. These accidents may happen because of driver fatigue, speeding, improper securement, reckless driving, and other reasons.

If you have been injured in a cargo spill truck accident, you shouldn’t face the truck company’s insurance providers alone; they could try to lowball you or even deny your claim outright. At Nix Patterson, we are dedicated to the legal rights of injured clients, and our cargo spill truck accident attorneys will hold the at-fault parties financially responsible for their negligent actions.

Types of Accidents Caused by Cargo Spills

Tractor trailers transport all kinds of materials and goods throughout the country. Some of the most types of accidents caused by truck cargo spills include:

Heavy Equipment

You have probably seen a commercial truck on the interstate hauling an oversized piece of heavy equipment, and it is easy to imagine what might happen if the load shifts and the straps and harnesses fail. Inadequate or improper strap and safety measures can cause heavy cargo to spill onto the road, potentially seriously injuring others.

Hazardous Chemicals

A spilled cargo truck accident can worsen exponentially when the cargo is a hazardous chemical. A HAZMAT spill can be dangerous not just because of the wreck but also can expose motorists and others to deadly chemicals, gasses, and corrosives. Some hazardous chemicals can cause severe personal injury to the eyes, skin, and lungs.

Unfortunately, truck wrecks involving hazardous chemicals are becoming more frequent in the U.S. Today, commercial trucks carry about double the amount of dangerous materials as trains. So chemical spills in truck accidents are more common, even though train derailments and spills usually receive more media attention.

Material Spills

Any cargo spilling from a commercial truck can be hazardous, even if the cargo itself isn’t toxic. For instance, a spilled trailer full of tires or TV sets can turn into a deadly accident for those in passenger cars or on motorcycles.

Types of Trucks Involved in Spilled Cargo Accidents

A spilled cargo truck accident can involve many types of commercial vehicles. If you have been injured by one of these vehicles in spilled cargo accident, talk to one of our truck crash attorneys immediately:

  • Single, double, or triple-trailer commercial trucks
  • Straight trucks
  • Box trucks
  • Dump trucks
  • Tanker trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Garbage trucks
  • Rental trucks
  • Local LTL trucks

Even a tractor without a trailer (sometimes called a bobtail rig) can cause a cargo-spilling truck accident if the trucker has a lot of gear and supplies in the cab. Some modern tractors are decked out with showers, lounging areas, and extensive seating. The cab’s weight could be too much and affect its handling in an emergency.

Federal Regulations for Cargo Loads

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published new cargo securement rules in September 2002. All motor carriers working in interstate commerce have been required to follow the new requirements since Jan. 1, 2004. Key provisions include:

General Rule

All commercial truck cargo must be firmly secured or immobilized on or within the trailer by structures with sufficient strength, dunnage, dunnage bags, tie-downs, shoring bars, or a combination of these items.

Cargo Placement and Restraint

Cargo that is likely to roll when transported must be held in place by wedges, chocks, a cradle, or similar means. The way that rolling is prevented cannot become unfastened or loose when the truck is moving. Cargo that is put next to each other and tied with transverse tie downs has to be put in direct contact with one another and cannot shift towards one another when the rig is moving.

Minimum Quantity of Tie-downs

The truck’s cargo securement method used to retrain cargo must meet minimal requirements for the number of tie-downs. If a piece of freight is not positioned or blocked to avoid movement going forward, the quantity of tie-downs depends on the weight and length of the cargo.

Our Nix Patterson truck crash attorneys know all FMCSA requirements for transporting cargo safely and will review the accident to determine if the trucking company violated any rules.

Liability for Accidents Caused by Unsecured Cargo Loads

If cargo shifts or spills from a commercial vehicle because of an unsafe or unsecured load, it is critical to establish liability. In this type of accident, more than one party could be at-fault for the accident and resulting injuries. Anyone who interacted with the vehicle load could be responsible for your injuries and damages, whether it was the truck driver, loader, or trucking company.

Determining liability is complicated in many spilled cargo truck accidents and requires extensive investigation. For example, suppose a trucking company is hurrying to hire a truck driver and skips training on tying down cargo properly.

Or, the company that loaded the trailer is separate from the company operating the truck. The truck driver also could be partially at fault for reckless driving or not checking the cargo sufficiently to ensure it’s secured.

Another common scenario: A passenger vehicle cuts off a tractor-trailer, causing it to swerve, overturn, and spill its cargo. Some of the shipment hits another vehicle and injures its driver. The truck driver and carrier may have fully complied with FMCSA rules on cargo securement and were not negligent. So, the driver who cut off the truck could be at fault.

Nix Patterson attorneys are adept at sorting out liability issues in complex cargo spill truck accidents. You can rely on our experienced attorneys to determine the responsible party or parties and demand fair compensation for your injuries and other damages.

Damages That Can Be Recovered in a Cargo Spill Accident

Most people realize that the injuries in a tractor-trailer crash can be severe, and spilled cargo accidents are no exception. A spilled cargo accident can result in a devastating wreck that seriously injures or kills many people, sending multiple cars and trucks careening into each other or off the road. If you are injured in one of these truck accidents, your attorney may help you obtain some or all of these damages:

  • Past and future medical costs
  • Lost current and future income and benefits
  • Loss of ability to earn a living
  • Funeral costs
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain
  • Physical impairment
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish

If the cargo truck accident leads to wrongful death, the surviving family may be entitled to loss of companionship, society, and other recoverable damages.

Contact an Experienced Cargo Spill Truck Accident Lawyer

You may be overwhelmed with stress and uncertainty if you or a loved one suffered severe injuries in a cargo spill truck accident. But Nix Patterson may be able to help. If the truck driver, cargo loader, or trucking company were negligent in the cargo spill accident, you may be eligible for compensation in a truck accident lawsuit.

Our truck accident injury team is ready to review your case at no charge, so please contact us today. Remember that the initial consultation is complimentary, and our attorneys are compensated on a contingency basis. That means we only are paid if we obtain a settlement or favorable verdict in your case.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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