• January 11, 2019

Driver Injured in Waste Truck Spill on Interstate 75 in Erie Township, MI

Erie Township, MI -- On January 10, 2019, a dump truck lost its trailer-load of human waste onto the roadway of Interstate 75, causing serious injuries to the driver of a vehicle that spun out in the sludge.

Authorities say the crash happened around 9:40 a.m. After the dump truck's load of waste spilled onto the interstate, a pickup truck pulling a 22-foot camper trailer lost control on the resultant slick surface and collided with a garbage truck. The camper trailer overturned and blocked the roadway.

The pickup truck's driver was transported to Toledo Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No other injuries related to the crash were reported.

No further information is available at this time.

Map of the Area

Commentary

Some people may think a truck driver's sole serious responsibility is getting his cargo from point A to point B. Others may be tempted to add that he needs to do so in a timely fashion.

Both of those ideas neglect to mention that the driver has to transport the cargo safely. If that seems like a given, think about how many commercial accidents there are on the road every single day, all over the U.S., and consider whether all those truck drivers were observing their duty to protect the safety of other people on the road.

When I say "safety," I also don't just mean while the truck is in motion. Until the cargo is safely unloaded at its destination, truck drivers are also responsible for keeping it securely in or on their trailers. While the material being transported in this case was in no danger of being stolen, it clearly still had a chance to escape its confines and cause smelly havoc on the interstate, and the person responsible for that most likely will be the driver.

It's unlikely that the trucker or his employer are willing to admit that liability, however, since doing so could hurt the firm's reputation and therefore its solvency. I've worked hundreds of truck accident cases and in almost all of them, trucking firms on the hot seat come up with excuses and different parties to blame. The trucking firm may only have transported the waste tanker but not filled it or secured it, at which point they'd likely attempt to blame the removal firm that handled those tasks. Failing that, they might blame weather or road conditions, and in some extreme cases they've been known to blame the injured victims themselves--whatever it takes to get the focus, and therefore the responsibility, away from them.

Even if it seems obvious who should be blamed for a crash, it's still the victim's responsibility to prove that the fault lies with the truck driver. It can never be taken as a given, because that driver and his employer are entitled to the presumption of innocence that is the backbone of the U.S. justice system. That coupled with their predictable strategy of passing the buck means that victims will need to gather as much evidence as possible to make sure their allegations stick.

--Grossman Law Offices

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