Accidents Caused by Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials
Tractor trailer truck accidents can surprise many with the variety of ways in which they can inflict injury and cause destruction. The large vehicles have a penchant for accidents that injure people for life or otherwise kill them in the event that something goes wrong on the road. These massive machines are responsible for transporting millions upon millions of goods and materials across the country. It is no surprise that among these goods and materials are some things that are particularly more dangerous than others. The trucks tasked with ferrying the more dangerous materials and chemicals are commonly referred to as hazmat trucks.
These vehicles are no exception when it comes to semi-trucks becoming involved in accidents. There are some key differences between these hazmat truck accidents and regular tractor-trailer accidents. These discrepancies between these kinds of semi-truck accidents can affect how someone goes forward with a tractor-trailer claim.
Hazmat Semi-Truck Accident Claims
Those that have been involved in accidents with semi-trucks hauling hazardous materials and chemicals often suffer especially severe damages as a result. Medical expenses, loss of wages, loss of earning ability as a result of disabling injury, as well as general pain and suffering damages can be extensive after such an accident and can have a crippling effect on someone’s finances. With a hazmat truck accident claim, a plaintiff can seek compensation for the damages they sustained by proving the negligence of a liable party such as a trucking company.
Those looking to pursue a truck accident claim stand a much greater chance of success when they enlist the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney. Specifically, a truck accident attorney that has handled cases involving trucks transporting hazardous materials. They can assist you in investigating, gathering evidence, and navigating the nuances of the legal process that your claim stands the best possible chance of success.
What is a Hazardous Material (Hazmat) Semi-Truck?
A semi-truck or tractor-trailer as they are also called, that hauls hazardous materials is often nicknamed a hazmat truck. These vehicles are charged with carrying potentially dangerous material across vast distances. These trucks can either be regular semi-trucks or tankers hauling liquid hazardous materials.
To haul these hazardous materials, truck drivers are required to have what is called a hazardous material endorsement which is basically a supplementary certification on their trucking license that shows they have been trained in the proper procedure of transporting dangerous materials. In addition to this, truck drivers hauling hazardous materials will often have security checks ran on them to ensure they will not be a risk factor.
Hazardous material hauling semi-trucks have many restrictions placed on them in an effort to minimize the possible chance of a serious accident occurring. Hazardous material trucks are only allowed to travel at certain times of the day and are restricted from using certain roads to avoid congested driving conditions and proximity to population centers as much as possible.
What Hazardous Materials Can Hazmat Semi-Trucks Carry?
The different chemicals and materials that a semi-truck certified for transport of hazardous materials can carry fall into one of the following nine hazardous material classifications:
Class 1 – Explosives: Materials with the potential to create an explosion, explosives with a projection hazard, blasting agents, and detonating devices.
Class 2 – Gases: Hazardous gases may be flammable, non-flammable compressed gas, and gases that are toxic to people when exposed.
Class 3 – Flammable Liquids: The most common of transported hazardous materials, flammable liquids include gasoline, diesel fuel, motor oil, kerosene, ethanol, and many others.
Class 4 – Flammable Solids and Spontaneously Combustible Materials: This category includes household items such as matches and sulfur, as well as activated charcoal, aluminum powder, and magnesium.
Class 5 – Oxidizers and Organic Peroxides: Chemical compounds that cause or enhance the combustion of other materials are known as oxidizers. Certain organic peroxides can also be explosive.
Class 6 – Toxic Materials and Infectious Substances: This category includes poisons that aren’t gases and infectious biological materials.
Class 7 – Radioactive Materials: Any material considered to be radioactive requires special handling and management as required by federal law.
Class 8 – Corrosive Materials: Acids and bases that burn or corrode must be transported with care.
Class 9 – Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods: Dangerous substances that don’t meet the specific criteria of one of the other classes may be designated as Class 9 hazards. For example, lithium batteries and dry ice fall into this category.
Dangers of Hazardous Material Carrying Semi-Trucks
The hazardous materials that are carried by certain semi-trucks have the capacity to cause all kinds of injuries that go far beyond the usual injuries one would expect from a truck accident. Many of the hazardous chemicals that are transported via hazmat truck spread very quickly and can greatly increase the scope of harm that a truck accident may normally have by spilling or releasing somehow. One of the most common hazardous materials involved in hazmat truck accidents is flammable liquids like oil and gas. These can easily leak and spill from a tanker for many reasons. Once they spill they can spread to other vehicles and ignite them into flames or light surrounding property on fire that endangers others not initially involved in the accident with fire and smoke that dangerously obscures a roadway.
Contact an Experienced Florida Truck Accident Attorney
With a skilled attorney at your side, you have a significantly higher chance at success when pursuing an accident claim. Not only will your claim more likely to be successful but a lawyer can help negotiate a much better settlement than you ever could on your own. Even with a lawyer’s fee taken into account, settlements obtained in claims that utilize a lawyer consistently remain larger than those obtained when someone goes at a claim on their own. There is no substitute for expert knowledge when it comes to seeking compensation for damages like lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one suffered from personal injuries as the result of a truck accident, you are entitled to compensation for your suffering. Take advantage for your no-risk, free consultation with the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, your premier personal injury and truck accident lawyers in the greater Tampa Bay area. Our lawyers are happy to speak with you about your accident and what legal options are available to you They are here to fight for your right to operate your vehicle in safety, and they can advise you as to whether you have a claim for personal injuries under Florida law.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765