Omaha Truck Cargo Spill Lawyers
Trucking companies from across the country pass through Nebraska and transport a wide variety of products, ranging from furniture to vehicles to toxic chemicals. A single spill can turn a peaceful highway into a deathtrap, and even cause negative impacts for the local environment and farmers. In some cases, accidents victims are left with lifelong disabilities; in others, they are killed. The worst part is, cargo spills are completely preventable, so long as the people in charge perform their jobs properly.
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As experienced truck accident attorneys in Omaha, we at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. understand just how dangerous these types of accidents are. We are dedicated to getting accident victims the compensation they need to heal and move past these tragic events – even if it means going head-to-head with major insurance companies. If you want a top-notch Omaha truck accident attorney in your corner, call us at (402) 505-8234 today.
A cargo spill is a fairly unique kind of trucking accident. When a truck is driven responsibly, the cargo is secured, and the trailer is balanced properly, there is practically no chance for a cargo spill to occur. However, if a driver loses control of the vehicle and crashes, there is always a possibility that cargo will spill out onto the road. These accidents become more common when the cargo is improperly stored in the trailer. For example, if a biofuel company uses an old and poorly maintained tanker truck to transport biodiesel, then it could leak onto the highway.
The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has strict laws for transporting cargo. All trucking companies must adhere to strict weight requirements to avoid overloading a vehicle and must follow specific loading procedures to ensure cargo is secure within a trailer or tanker. In addition, any driver transporting hazardous materials must also receive a certification from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to ensure they are complying with state and federal law. Even the Nebraska Department of Transportation has its own rules for transporting cargo within the state that trucking companies must abide by. Failure to do so, either due to carelessness or greed, can make a company liable if a spill occurs.
These accidents are almost always the direct result of negligence. In a perfect world, where everyone does their job, cargo spills would never happen. Sadly, thousands of cargo spills occur every year across the United States. In fact, more than 150,000 cargo spills involving hazardous materials occurred on United States highways over a 10-year period, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The kinds of negligence that can cause a cargo spill include:
- Taking turns too sharply
- Driving while inebriated
- Diving while distracted
- Fatigued driving
- Overloading the trailer
- Not balancing or securing the cargo properly
- Mechanical failures
Loading crews, drivers, and trucking companies should be doing everything in their power to make sure their trucks live up to their purpose. However, corners are often cut in the name of profits, and devastating accidents occur. But the driver and the trucking company don’t have to deal with the worst of the consequences – the victims do.
A cargo spill may not seem as immediately dangerous as an underride or jackknife accident. After all, if a few cartons of milk spill out onto the road, what’s the big deal? Well, the truth is that trucks often carry heavy and dangerous cargo that could cause serious injuries if it spilled onto a busy Nebraska highway.
For example, a tanker truck may be carrying gasoline or biofuel. If that were to spill out on a hot summer day, the gasoline could ignite, causing a massive fire. Or, if a logging truck tips over during a rollover, the logs could roll free and crush nearby cars. The truth is that these spills are anything but harmless, and often result in catastrophic injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and severe scarring
- Chemical and thermal burns
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage and paralysis
- Organ damage and chemical exposure
- Brain damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic amputation
This is not an exhaustive list. In fact, there are some injuries you may not even notice until sometime after the accident. For example, some tankers carry carcinogenic chemicals. If the tanker spilled or leaked, and you breathed the chemicals in or got them on your skin, there is a chance you could develop cancer later in your life as a direct result. It goes without saying that cancer, as well as all the other injuries that we have listed, costs a great deal to treat. But you should not be the only one who has to pay for that treatment.
When it comes to cargo spills, the at-fault party could be:
The driver: Even if cargo is fully secure within a trailer, a reckless trucker can cause cargo to break loose during a collision. At the end of the day, truckers have the responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, but if a truck driver acts negligently, then they can be liable for a cargo spill.
The loading crew: The loading crew of a trucking company has a big responsibility. While loading cargo into a truck may seem like an easy task, it requires a fair bit of careful work. The trailer must be balanced properly, and the cargo must be secured. Otherwise the weight could shift, and the truck could roll over as a result. If the loading crew does not do its job properly, or tries to overload the trailer, then they could be responsible for any resulting cargo spills.
The mechanic: Mechanics play an important role within a trucking company. Trucks experience a lot of wear and tear, meaning they often need to be inspected and fixed. If the mechanic missed a clear issue, such as a worn-down brake, and neglected to fix it, then they might be liable for the resulting accident.
The company: No matter if the driver, the mechanic, or the loading crew is to blame, chances are strong that the trucking company itself was also involved in the negligence. These companies care about profits above anything else, so they will often cut corners and rush to save themselves a little bit of money. If you were severely injured in a cargo spill, it is very likely that the owner of the truck or goods was at least partially to blame.
Cargo spills are particularly chaotic accidents. When cargo comes flying at you, you think only of survival. That chaos means it can be difficult to determine just who is liable for your accident. But without knowing who’s at fault, you can’t file a claim. You shouldn’t give up, however. A skilled attorney can give you the resources you need, such as speaking to witnesses, finding security footage, and working with an accident reconstructionist, to determine just who is responsible for your injuries.
Not only that, but you are legally justified to demand damages from those responsible for your injuries. That process cannot begin, however, until you enlist the help of an excellent Omaha cargo spill accident attorney.
If you or someone you love was injured in a cargo spill accident, reach out to the team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. We can thoroughly investigate your accident to determine who caused your injuries and how you can receive compensation for your trauma. We understand you are going through a difficult time in your life and can provide the legal representation you need after a truck accident. To set up your free consultation, call our firm at (402) 505-8234 today.
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