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Spilled Cargo Truck Accidents

The trucking industry is essential to the U.S. economy, with about 70% of cargo moved by tractor-trailers. Unfortunately, sometimes fully loaded commercial trucks crash, causing a spilled cargo truck accident that can seriously injure others.

Spilled cargo accidents happen for many reasons, such as improperly loaded goods, speeding, distracted driving, driver fatigue, and more. No matter the cause, if a spilled truck cargo accident causes injuries, you could be entitled to compensation in a claim or lawsuit. For more information, speak to the truck accident attorneys at Nix Patterson for a complimentary consultation today.

What Is a Spilled Cargo Truck Accident?

A spilled cargo truck accident happens when a commercial truck or tanker releases cargo, liquids, or products onto the highway. These cargo spills can have devastating consequences for other motorists, possibly leading to serious personal injury and property damage.

Spill accidents are among the most complex on the road because many parties could be at fault. Also, some of these incidents release hazardous chemicals, which can negatively affect people, wildlife, and the environment.

Causes of Cargo-Related Truck Accidents

Cargo spills from truck accidents are frequently due to driver or company error. Some of the most common causes of these crashes are:

  • The driver lost control of the vehicle because of speeding, reckless driving, or fatigue.
  • The cargo loading company overloaded or misloaded the trailer, leading to shifting cargo or the trailer being out of balance. The shipment also may not have been secured correctly.
  • A worker needed to provide more dunnage, or the right amount of material, or inflatable bags to fill voids in the trailer to avoid cargo shifting.
  • An incorrectly sized truck or the wrong kind of truck was used for the cargo.

Types of Cargo Spills During Truck Accidents

Cargo spill truck accidents can cause various auto accidents and environmental damage, depending on the type and nature of the cargo. Some common types of spilled cargo include consumer products, food, electronics, steel, other metals, livestock, and hazardous chemicals.

Drivers of vehicles in the vicinity may not be the only ones who the cargo spill can hurt. Depending on the cargo type, these truck accidents can cause severe property and environmental damage. For instance, if a truck carrying fuel oil overturns and spills fuel onto the road, it could seep into the ground or a nearby body of water. Also, the poisonous liquid could contact crops, trees, waterways, and more. Even if the affected party did not suffer physical harm, they still might recover compensation from the cargo or hazardous chemical spill accident.

Who Might Be Liable for Damages After a Cargo-Related Truck Accident?

In many cargo spill truck accidents, negligence is usually involved. If so, our Nix Patterson truck crash attorneys would work to hold the responsible party accountable.

Under the negligence legal theory, the at-fault party could be liable for damages if they failed to act in a reasonably appropriate manner. For the action or inaction that caused the cargo spill accident to be negligent, you must prove the following elements:

  • The at-fault party violated the standard of care. For example, in a cargo accident, the truck driver may have been speeding on a curve in the highway.
  • The violation — speeding, in this case — caused the cargo spill truck accident.
  • The accident victim suffered physical injuries.
  • The injuries were a direct result of the cargo spill accident.

Some of the parties who could be liable in a cargo truck accident include:

  • The truck driver
  • The truck driver’s employer
  • A third-party company that loaded the cargo
  • A vehicle or parts manufacturer, if a vehicle or part flaw contributed to the accident
  • Vehicle maintenance company or person, if the accident was due to deficient or inadequate maintenance

What Kinds of Damages Can I Pursue by Filing a Truck Accident Claim?

Spilled cargo truck accident victims have the burden of proof in the claim or lawsuit. They may be eligible to receive damages if they can prove the legal elements mentioned earlier. The damages available depend on the case and the injuries sustained. Some truck crash victims suffer lifelong disability and pain; others may recover after a few weeks or months.

First, most truck accident victims may obtain compensation for their out-of-pocket costs, which include everything related to their medical treatment. The at-fault party should cover your out-of-pocket medical expenses, from ER costs to doctor’s visits, surgeries, and rehabilitation. You also should receive compensation for your future medical expenses; your truck accident attorney will consult with your medical providers to determine the cost and duration of your future care.

Second, you may be eligible for compensation for your lost work time. As you recover from your cargo truck accident, you could easily miss weeks or months of work. You should receive money for those lost earnings, plus future lost earnings, until you reach maximum medical improvement.

Third, you could receive compensation for pain and suffering, depending on the nature of your injuries. Many truck accident injuries are severe and may require months, even years, of recovery. Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company to determine a fair figure for your pain and suffering.

How a Spilled Cargo Truck Accident Attorney Can Help

If you are in a spilled cargo truck accident, it is critical to promptly retain an experienced truck accident attorney. Nix Patterson attorneys understand the many trucking industry standards for commercial truck drivers.

For instance, people with a commercial driver’s license must have proper training and abide by traffic laws. They also must obey Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules mandating that the truck driver take breaks after a certain number of driving hours. There are other regulations that truckers and their employers must obey:

  • Cargo securement performance tests
  • Vehicle standards for cargo transportation, ensuring the vehicle is fit for the job
  • Guidelines for restraining and placing cargo
  • How to use tie-down materials correctly
  • Regulations on unmarked and marked anchor points
  • Requirements for drivers to take breaks and inspect the cargo

Our attorneys will investigate whether the trucker, employer, and other parties adhered to these trucking and cargo rules. The attorney will determine who is liable and negotiate with the insurance company. Your truck accident attorney will take the company to court if a settlement isn’t feasible.

Contact an Experienced Spilled Cargo Truck Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one recently suffered severe injuries in a spilled truck cargo accident, you may be eligible for compensation in a lawsuit. A truck accident attorney with experience in truck cargo spills and related accidents can hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.

The spilled truck cargo accident attorneys at Nix Patterson may help you obtain compensation for your losses, so please contact us today. And remember, your initial accident case consultation is free — we are only paid if we win.


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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