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Are truckers liable for cargo spilling from their trucks?

You're on the road without a care, and then suddenly a tractor-trailer appears in front of you. Maybe it merged from another road. Maybe it made a sharp turn into your right of way. It may be annoying, but the real fear may be from loose cargo on the trailer now in front of you.

What does California law say about loose cargo on trucks?

The state's Vehicle Code includes laws that regulate cargo on commercial vehicles. The laws specifically restrict spillage onto public roads or other public property where it could either collide with a vehicle or leave a hazard for passersby.

What is spilled cargo according to the Vehicle Code?

Sections 23114 and 23115 of the California Vehicle Code make it illegal for a commercial vehicle to spill, drop, leak, blow or sift material on roads or other public property. This covers produce, construction materials, manufactured goods and all other possible types of cargo that may escape from an unsecured or uncovered trailer.

Who is responsible if a truck spills cargo onto the road?

A driver may be cited for spilled cargo, and an employer may be fined for any cleanup costs. If spilled cargo causes damage or injury, Section 2338 of the California Civil Code name employers as liable for the actions of employees while in the course of work. A lawsuit in civil court may name a driver and an employer as the defendants.

What do I do after cargo strikes my car?

Document the scene as much as possible and consider legal representation. An attorney can help judge if there is a case for financial damages after a truck accident involving a vehicle or cargo.

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