Toxic Truck Turmoil: The Dangers of HAZMAT Truck Accidents
The danger of semi-truck accidents can be significantly increased depending on the contents of the trailer. Heavy cargo can increase the potential for jackknifes and rollovers. Loose cargo can upset the balance of the trailer, increasing the potential for swaying. However, one of the primary cargo risks that can expand the stakes of a truck accident is when the trailer is carrying hazardous materials (HAZMAT).
Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!
The term HAZMAT, much like “toxic,” is enough to instill fear into anyone who hears it. That being said, trucks that carry dangerous or hazardous material pose great dangers to drivers for multiple reasons. Despite the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s best efforts to keep the public safe from hazardous materials, when an accident occurs, even the most compliant truck can cause harm to several people.
A crash involving a truck carrying hazardous materials has the potential to:
- Contaminate. Tanker trucks are known for being more likely to roll in an accident than other vehicles. Unfortunately, these types of trucks are often carrying hazardous materials. Damage resulting from a rollover or other impact can cause these materials to spill over the roadway. This spill can then cause injuries to those not only in the immediate area but in a wide zone if the material creates toxic fumes, releases biohazard materials, or exposes radioactive compounds.
- Burn. Hazardous materials, such as oil or gas, may catch fire, trapping those involved in a more serious or even fatal situation.
- Corrode. If containers for caustic materials are breached by an accident, the destructive substance could destroy property, injure bystanders, ruin roads (increasing the risk for further accidents), or even cause chemical and toxic reactions.
HAZMAT Collision Liability
A truck accident involving hazardous materials can be incredibly complex—far more so than a conventional truck accident case. Each truck has several key players behind the scenes that could be responsible for the accident, and when hazardous materials are involved, the potential web of liability spreads much wider.
Given the added dangers that 18-wheelers carrying hazardous materials pose, those operating and driving these large vehicles have an added responsibility for safety. Simply stated, the more damage to be caused, the higher the duty of care to ensure it does not—especially since the full extent of the injuries to those involved may be immediately unknown.
However, even though HAZMAT truck drivers have an increased responsibility to be cautious, this doesn’t mean that other drivers are never liable. Whether the material inside a truck is corrosive, flammable, explosive, or a biohazard, when you recognize the posted sign on the truck, you should, quite literally, steer clear and take added precautions to avoid a collision.
Clearing the Air of Collision Consequences
Accidents between cars and HAZMAT trucks can be very dangerous and often tragic. If you have been burnt, injured, disfigured, or even lost a loved one as a result of a hazmat truck accident, you’re probably unsure of how to proceed with a claim. However, if you arrange to have a tough, experienced attorney on your side, you can ensure that you get the compensation that you need to move forward with your recovery. Your lawyer can answer the questions you have and help you make the best decisions going forward.
To contact an experienced, local attorney in your area, call Steve Lee today at 800-232-3711 or click the link on our contact page. You can schedule your own free consultation with a lawyer with 38 years of experience helping Houstonians recover from their collisions’ consequences.
Don’t allow a chance accident to affect your entire future. Contact us today before any more time passes—you won’t regret it.