The Dangers of Cargo Spills

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The Dangers of Cargo Spills

January 09, 2018
By jhartle@lgslaw.net

Late last month, part of Interstate 77 was closed for eight hours after a collision caused by a wrong way driver caused a nearby fuel truck to swerve off of the road where it crashed. The truck’s tank ruptured, spilling around 500 gallons of fuel onto the freeway. The Cleveland Fire Department and HAZMAT teams, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were dispatched to the scene where they applied a specially designed foam to the spill, which acted as a vapor barrier and kept the fuel from igniting. Tragically, one person lost their life in the collision.

These types of dangerous cargo spills occur at an alarming rate across the country and pose an especially high risk to other drivers and those who live nearby. In this case, emergency crews were able to clean up the spill in time to prevent further damage or injuries, but this type of concerted cleanup effort is not always immediately possible, especially when crashes occur in rural areas. Cargo spills can have deadly consequences and those responsible for them can and should be held accountable for their actions in court, so if you or a loved one were injured in an accident where a commercial vehicle spilled its cargo, you should consider consulting with an experienced truck accident lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your medical bills and other losses.

Federal Law

Commercial trucks are used to transport everything from livestock and produce to gasoline and hazardous gases. While most of us are so used to seeing them on the road that we don’t even give them a second thought, the reality is that these vehicles pose a very real threat to other drivers. This is especially true for trucks that carry dangerous cargo, such as hazardous chemicals, lumber, building materials, and heavy construction equipment. For this reason, federal law specifically requires trucking companies to comply with strict guidelines when loading or unloading cargo. Among the requirements is a mandate to immobilize cargo with tie-downs, ropes, and straps, the number of which depends on the length and weight of the cargo itself. Lumber and other cargo that is prone to rolling must be held in place using special wedges and cradles. Those driving trucks carrying certain hazardous chemicals are also restricted from driving and parking on certain roads and are required to place signs on the exterior of the truck to warn other drivers and monitor the materials according to a specific schedule.


A trucking company’s failure to make sure that drivers and other employees comply with these rules can have devastating consequences, as cargo spills often go hand in hand with multi-car pile-ups. These entities can be held liable for damages resulting from their lack of care, which includes compensating the victim for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Other drivers who initiate a crash can also be required to pay for their own part in causing the accident.

Call Today to Discuss Your Case with a Dedicated Truck Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a truck accident, please call 419-241-5500 to schedule a free consultation with a member of the legal team of Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC.











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