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The Hazards of Truck Cargo Spills

By Encino Personal Injury Attorney on October 15, 2018

With so much commercial traffic moving through LA on its way north and south, occasional accidents are just a fact of life.

But hazardous chemicals and dangerous cargo can make a minor semi-truck accident far more dangerous.

It is important to be cautious around any such spill, and take steps to make sure others are safe when possible. Cargo spills are often caused by avoidable errors, such as the shipping company overloading the cargo or driver fatigue. That means they may be the result of negligence. And where there’s negligence, there’s potential liability in a lawsuit.

What Kind of Cargo?

If non-dangerous cargo spills at an accident scene, cleanup is required, but can often be completed quickly. A shipment of Legos, while painful to anyone with bare feet, can be scooped up without any issues. Hazardous or toxic chemicals, however, present many safety issues – not only to people at the scene and those who live or work nearby, but also for cleanup crews. For example, 5-10 gallons of a type of benzyl chloride spilled by a big rig in Carson, forcing the evacuation of over 100 people. While no one was hurt, we’d like to point out that CBS2 News has a “chemical spill” section on its website. These incidents are not as rare as you’d think.

What Should You Do?

If you’re near a scene where dangerous cargo has spilled out from a truck, stop, such as by the side of the road, and contact emergency services immediately. Move if possible to a safe distance, and follow all instructions from emergency workers to reduce the risk of exposure.

However, do not leave the area if you have been involved in the collision – but stay far from the potential toxin. Help anyone you see who appears injured, and get them away from any fires or chemicals. Do not move someone who seems to have a neck or back injury unless they’re in immediate danger of death or serious further injury.

Why These Spills Occur

To be frank, truck cargo spills are often caused by some form of negligence. Overloading, for example, can make the cargo in a truck unsteady and throw off the weight and handling of the vehicle. On the road, driver fatigue can also be a major problem, which is why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lays down rules and regulations to control how many hours per week a commercial trucker is allowed to be behind the wheel.

When trucking or manufacturing companies ignore safety regulations, they can be considered liable for damages or injuries they cause. If you or a loved one has been harmed in a truck cargo spill, then call us at Novik & Stanley, A Professional Law Corporation, to discuss what happened. We know you’re in shock, but our LA truck accident attorneys are here to help. If you’re too hurt to come to us, we can come to you. Call (818) 305-6041 right now.

 

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