Oftentimes when people get into an accident with commercial trucks, the conversation revolves around the driver's liability and whether the company he or she works for can also be held responsible. In some cases, though, the individual or company who's shipping the materials contained on the vehicle can also be successfully sued for injuries caused in a trucking accident. Here's more information about two times when you may have a case against this party for damages.
There Was a Failure to Warn
One way a shipper can be held responsible for injuries caused by the truck's cargo is if the shipper failed to notify the transport company the material was hazardous to human health. People who ship hazmat goods are required to tell the transport company about the harmful nature of the item(s) so the company can take appropriate measures to contain the materials and post warnings on the truck letting other people on the roadway know it is carrying hazmat items. If the shipper doesn't fulfill this requirement, they can be put on the hook for compensating anyone who suffered injuries from being in contact with the hazardous materials.
For instance, a shipper doesn't tell the shipping company there is hazardous liquid in the containers they want sent to a storage facility; thus, the transport company doesn't put the appropriate label on the trucks. If someone get into an accident with the truck and develops a lung disease after coming into contact with the hazardous material, the victim can sue for related medical bills and other damages or losses that result.
Improper Cargo Loading and Securing
Another way a shipper can be held liable for truck accidents is if the company loads the cargo in an unsafe way or doesn't properly secure it inside the container. For instance, if the shipper puts more items in a trailer than should be in the space and that excess weight contributes to braking failure, then the shipper would be responsible for compensating any victims harmed in the subsequent accident. Likewise, if the items weren't secured properly in the trailer and they fell out or make the truck difficult to control on the road, the shipper could also be held liable.
Proving a shipper's actions contributed to an accident will typically require obtaining copies of any and all available records, such as contracts and cargo inventories, and may even require the assistance of an accident reconstruction professional. It's best to connect with a truck accident attorney, like http://www.medilaw.com/, who can help you secure the evidence you need to win your case. For more information about this particular issue or assistance with your lawsuit, contact a lawyer.