Tractor-Trailer Cargo Spills Can Lead To Liability
Accidents involving tractor-trailers can happen due to countless different factors. From driver error to poorly maintained roads, there are many negligent acts which can lead to liability for the person who committed them. One particular cause of tractor-trailer accidents which is less discussed than it perhaps should be is cargo spills – where some or all of a trailer’s cargo falls out of the back of the truck and winds up obstructing the highway.
Potential Evidence Of Negligence
In Florida and in many other states, the law requires that a general duty of reasonable care be exercised by every road user, toward every other road user. While the definition of ‘reasonable care’ can vary, the general rule is to expect drivers to operate their vehicles reasonably safely. A failure to exercise reasonable care can be the cornerstone of a negligence case – if an injured plaintiff can show there was a breach of that duty, and are also able to show that no other intervening cause played a role in their injuries, they stand a good chance to recover damages.
Falling cargo or spilled cargo has a very high chance to cause an accident, particularly if it is fast-moving or difficult to see, and a failure to properly secure cargo can absolutely be evidence of negligence. That said, while an injured plaintiff’s immediate impulse might be to blame the driver, it is also plausible that another actor might have played a role – for example, if a third party service overloaded the vehicle.
Not Much Criminal Punishment
Despite the potential severity of injuries sustained in an accident with falling cargo, Florida’s current statutes punish such negligence fairly lightly – drivers who wind up at fault for an accident only have to pay a $500 fine and perform community service if no injury or fatality occurs. If serious injury does happen, the driver may face a second-degree misdemeanor charge for a criminal traffic offense, which may feel minimal given the severity of a plaintiff’s injuries.
That said, even if Florida’s criminal code may not punish such behavior, a person can recover money damages at civil law if they can establish negligence. It can be difficult to prevail in a tractor-trailer accident case, simply because many trucking companies have deep pockets and will fight a lawsuit – but it is by no means impossible.
Call A Tampa Tractor-Trailer Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer on Florida roads, a Tampa tractor-trailer accident attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you get through the legal process and give you the best chance possible to recover. Call our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.