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Who is liable in a trucking accident?

A crash yesterday in nearby Johnston County, North Carolina, raises an important point about extra precautions that trucking and cargo companies must take with hazardous materials and who is liable when a crash occurs.

The crash on Interstate 95 occurred when an RV apparently rear-ended a tractor-trailer. The truck then burst into flames, prompting a shut-down of the road. Because the truck was hauling hazardous chemicals, law enforcement evacuated several nearby businesses, schools and homes until it could be determined what the chemicals were. 

Who can be held accountable?

While it appears that this accident may not have been the fault of the truck driver, determining liability in trucking accidents is often much more complicated than typical car-on-car accidents. That is because there are so many more parties involved than just the truck driver.

An investigation could reveal whether the cargo was properly stored and if a chemical fire could have been avoided. Burning chemicals don't just pose a hazard to people involved in the accident. Nearby drivers, homeowners and anyone in the vicinity could be at risk. If the fire causes any injuries or illnesses in the nearby vicinity, the trucking company, or the driver who caused the accident, could be held liable.

Additionally, if you think you breathed in any dangerous materials, it would be wise to seek immediate medical attention.

The importance of having an attorney in a truck accident case

If you or a loved one is ever seriously hurt in a trucking accident, you will likely not just be dealing with the driver, but the trucking company and its insurance provider.

Working with an attorney with experience in trucking accident cases will be essential. Your attorney will be able to conduct a thorough investigation to better determine where fault lies and determine how best to proceed.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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