Truck crashes that involve hazardous materials can be devastating. Injuries caused by the accident can be made worse by the presence of chemicals. It is not just those at the scene who may be impacted. A dangerous spill can contaminate the environment or turn into a deadly plume of smoke, hurting people for miles around.
If you are the victim of a hazardous materials truck accident, call Cellino Law right away. Our team of Buffalo, NY, dangerous spills truck accident lawyers stands ready to help you. We have been handling these types of cases for over 60 years and have negotiated more than $2 billion in damages for our clients in that time.
Call Cellino Law today at (800) 555-5555 for a free case evaluation. There is no fee unless you win.
How Often Do Hazmat Loads Crash?
Trucks are an important part of our economy, carrying the goods we buy every day, including food and other essential items. They are also used to carry potentially dangerous cargo called hazmat shipments. The word “hazmat” is an abbreviation for hazardous materials.
You can easily spot hazmat trucks on the road, which will have sign placards that warn others about the contents inside the tanker or trailer.
According to the FMCSA, 64,795 large trucks were involved in accidents that resulted in both injuries and fatalities during 2018 alone. Only 5 percent of that total contained hazardous materials, and 16 percent of those hazmat crashes had contents that spilled out from the crash. 54 percent of the spilled contents were flammable liquids.
How Are Hazardous Materials Classified?
The US Department of Transportation ranks the various types of hazardous materials in categories. These categories must be clearly labeled on the truck that is carrying them, as follows.
Class 1: Explosives
Explosive materials can vary from blasting agents and substances that can create explosions. Some may involve materials that have a projection hazard.
Class 2: Gasses
Hazardous gasses may or may not be flammable and can be toxic to humans if inhaled.
Class 3: Flammable Liquids
Class 3 materials are among the most frequently transported of all hazmat loads. They include gasoline, kerosene, ethanol, and diesel fuel.
Class 4: Flammable Solids
Flammable solids are anything that can easily combust. Many of these types of solids are used in everyday household products, like sulfur for matches and activated charcoal.
Class 5: Organic Peroxides and Oxidizers
Some chemicals were created to boost their ability to combust. They are called oxidizers. Organic peroxides can be unstable and potentially explosive.
Class 6: Toxic Materials and Infectious Substances
This class of materials includes different types of poisons that are not in gas form, like rat poison. There are infectious biological materials involved as well, such as blood samples and viruses.
Class 7: Radioactive Materials
Yes, radioactive materials are also transported through our highways. This can include radioactive waste being taken to a disposal site. There are strict laws that must be followed to ensure safe transport.
Class 8: Corrosive Materials
This class includes acids and other corrosive materials that can cause severe burns if they are not transported safely.
Class 9: Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods
This class can be any other type of material or substance that does not exactly qualify as any other class. This can include dry ice or lithium batteries. They can be dangerous under the right circumstances.
Why Are Hazmat Loads More Dangerous to Transport?
There are several reasons why hazardous material loads are risky to humans. The obvious reason is that the contents inside can be released and make a bad situation worse. This is why hazmat loads should be transported with care. However, there are other circumstances that can make these types of truckloads more dangerous than the average cargo.
Most of the hazmat loads are liquids shipped in tankers. Pulling a normal dry van trailer is simpler since the driver can handle a stationary center of gravity. With a liquid tanker, the contents inside are constantly sloshing around. This movement changes the center of gravity repeatedly, making these loads more prone to rolling over or jackknifing.
What Causes Hazmat Truck Accidents?
Hazmat loads are especially dangerous and should be held to a higher standard when transporting. Should an accident happen, the results can be disastrous. That is why the government has strict regulations in place for the handling of hazardous material. However, that does not mean that accidents do not happen or that drivers do not become negligent in their actions.
Several of the common causes for hazmat truck accidents include:
- Incorrectly secured cargo
- Improper truck maintenance
- Reckless driving, including speeding, not giving enough space, or running red lights
- Tank valves being left open
- Driver fatigue
Common Injuries Caused by Dangerous Spills Truck Accidents
Truck accidents alone cause a tremendous amount of devastation upon colliding with smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. The larger truck will win most of the time. Add in hazardous materials and a devastating accident can quickly become catastrophic to a large number of people.
The medical conditions caused by a dangerous spills truck accident can include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spine damage
- Broken bones
- Respiratory issues
- Brain impairment
- Loss of limbs
- Cancer (caused by carcinogens)
Types of Compensation I Can Get After a Dangerous Spill Truck Accident
Though hazmat drivers are required to drive safely to keep everyone out of harm’s way, accidents still happen. Many times, these accidents are caused by negligence, which could be caused by the driver, the trucking company, a maintenance crew, or a shipper. It may have even been caused by another motorist who was involved.
If you have been injured in a hazmat truck accident, you may be facing a long road to recovery. If this is the case, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. That means calling your local Buffalo, NY, dangerous spills truck accident lawyer.
Your compensation could cover your:
- Lost wages
- Current and future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning potential
- Emotional distress and PTSD
- Temporary or lifelong disability
If you are a family member of someone who died in a dangerous spills truck accident, you can also hire a lawyer to file a wrongful death suit. The damages that could be covered include funeral and burial expenses, among other costs associated with your loved one’s death. Speak to an attorney to find out more.
Should I Hire a Lawyer to Receive Compensation?
New York has complex laws regarding how you can receive compensation for your injuries after an accident. In many cases, you will not be able to seek additional damages. That is because New York is a no-fault state. You would petition your insurance company to pay you the amount your vehicle insurance covers. The minimum coverage, known as PIP coverage, is $50,000.
The only way to sue for additional damages is if your injuries are severe. This would mean your recovery would require more money than your insurance could provide. You would also have to prove that the other party was negligent and caused your injuries. This is where having a personal injury attorney comes in handy.
Your lawyer will be able to investigate the crash, determine who should be held at fault, and calculate what your injuries are worth. Then he or she can negotiate with the other party and/or their insurance company to come to an agreement on the fair settlement you need. If the opposing party does not accept the settlement amount, then your lawyer will be ready to take the case to court on your behalf if necessary.
Call Cellino Law Today to Get Justice for the Dangerous Spill Accident
Cellino Law has been handling dangerous spills and trucking accidents for over 60 years. Our legal team understands what it takes to fight back against powerful trucking companies. To win your case, you need someone by your side who is even tougher, backed up by a proven track record of success.
We are available 24/7 at your convenience for a free consultation, which is available to everyone without any obligation. There is the statute of limitations to consider, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us as soon as possible, day or night.
Call Cellino Law today at (800) 555-5555. When you work with us, there’s no fee unless you win.