Truck Cargo Spill Accidents
At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., our cargo spill truck accident lawyers in Alabama are committed to holding reckless and negligent truck drivers, trucking companies, and manufacturers accountable for the harm they cause. We understand how improperly loaded trucks can cause accidents that leave victims with serious financial, physical and emotional injuries. We want to help them obtain the compensation they need to rebuild their lives.
With the cargo they carry, large trucks play a valuable role in our economy. But cargo also makes tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, and other commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) dangerous. Cargo can add thousands of pounds to the truck’s weight. This makes the truck harder to stop or steer. If cargo shifts or spills, it can cause the truck to become unstable and wreck. A cargo spill itself can damage property and injure or kill others.
We can put our skills, experience, and resources to work for you. To learn more, call a truck injury lawyer today at 205-933-1500 or use our online form. We can provide a free consultation about your rights and options.
Federal Rules To Avoid Cargo Spill Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recognizes the potential hazards of a tractor-trailer cargo spill. In 2002, the FMCSA published new federal and state trucking regulations that impose load limits and standards for securing, blocking and bracing cargo.
In Part 392.9 of the FMCSA regulations, the agency states that “a driver may not operate a commercial motor vehicle and a motor carrier may not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle unless the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured.”
Every motor carrier, its officers, agents, representatives, and employees responsible for the management, maintenance, operation, or driving of commercial motor vehicles, or the hiring, supervising, training, assigning, or dispatching of drivers, must be instructed in and comply with the rules of Part 392, the FMCSA states.
Just a few of the items addressed by Part 392 concerning tractor-trailer cargo include:
- Performance requirements concerning actions by the truck, including braking, that cargo securement systems must withstand
- Cargo placement and restraint
- Requirements for securement devices
- Minimum number of tiedowns
- Proper use of tiedowns
- Unrated and unmarked anchor points.
FMCSA rules require truck drivers to frequently inspect and, if necessary, adjust their cargo. This includes:
- Inspecting the cargo and the devices used to secure the cargo within the first 50 miles after beginning a trip
- Reexamining the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo and its load securement devices during the course of transportation
- Reexamining the commercial motor vehicle’s cargo and making any necessary adjustments whenever the driver makes a change of his duty status or the CMV has been driven for 3 hours or 150 miles – whichever comes first.
Clearly, the FMCSA means for drivers and carriers to see to it that tractor-trailer cargo is secured to ensure against cargo accidents resulting from shifts or spills.
Still, accidents happen. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, “cargo shifted” serves as one of the leading “critical events.” When cargo shifts, a truck can abruptly swerve within a lane or go across lanes. It can also jackknife or rollover. Cargo that spills from improperly loaded trucks can cause other cars to crash, harm pedestrians or, in cases of hazardous material spills, cause property and/or environmental damage. When cargo spills occur because a driver failed to inspect, adjust and secure cargo as required, or a truck carrier did not properly supervise their employee, the driver and/or carrier can be held liable for the accidents that follow.
Our Cargo Spill Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help You
The cargo spill truck accident lawyers of the Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. believe that when someone is injured or killed in a tractor-trailer wreck caused by a cargo shift or spill, the accident must be investigated, and any responsible party or parties must be held accountable. The truck driver, the trucking company that employs the driver, equipment manufacturers or any other person or entity that contributed to the cargo accident may be liable for injuries resulting from an improperly loaded truck.
Once the Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C.’s truck injury lawyers take your cargo spill case, we will thoroughly research and review investigate a truck accident. Our team will work with experts in accident reconstruction, mechanical design and engineering to determine how the accident happened.
In addition to police reports, we will obtain and examine drivers’ cargo inspection records, the carrier’s bills of lading and other records to establish the loading, inspection, and adjusting of the truck’s cargo.
Tractor-trailer accidents are not the same as passenger car accidents. Commercial truck crashes, including cargo spills, are often complex. The FMCSA rules that govern truck drivers’ and trucking companies’ activities and obligations are complicated. Carriers, manufacturers and their insurance companies have teams of attorneys skilled at shifting blame to minimize payments injury victims deserve.
Our Birmingham cargo spill truck accident attorneys are aggressive advocates with extensive experience against trucking companies in Alabama and elsewhere in the Southeast. We are ready for tough negotiations with motor carriers’ insurers and will aggressively pursue your case in court, if necessary.
Keith T. Belt, Jr., the founder of the Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the American Trial Lawyers Association, and is an Alabama Super Lawyer. Combined, our lawyers have more than 65 years of experience at trial in state and federal courts.
We’ll work hard to make sure you recover the compensation you and your family deserve.
Contact Our Alabama Cargo Spill Truck Accident Lawyers
If you or a family member has suffered property loss, personal injury or death, or emotional suffering because of an accident involving a cargo spill from a commercial truck, contact the Alabama cargo spill truck accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. We have a strong record of obtaining maximum settlements and verdicts for truck accident victims.
Under Alabama law, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit usually must be filed within two years of the injury or death. A good commercial truck accident lawyer will work hard when investigating your case, but these cases also take the time to develop. So it’s important to take action immediately.
Call our cargo spill truck accident lawyers today at 205-933-1500. We can provide a free evaluation of your case and get you started on the path to legal relief. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our cargo spill truck accident attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case.