Fatal Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials: Legal Challenges and Special Considerations

Serious and fatal truck accidents are a daily occurrence on America’s roadways. A commercial vehicle crash is likely to lead to catastrophic consequences. In 2021, more than 150,000 people were hurt and nearly 6,000 were killed due to commercial truck accidents on our country’s roadways. Statistics also tell us that the most likely victims are those in other vehicles. When a truck crash involves a smaller car such as a passenger vehicle, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are at great risk of suffering injuries. When they are fully loaded, a commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. For comparison, the average passenger vehicle weighs between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds.

In addition to regular cargo, some commercial trucks carry hazardous materials, including gases and other flammable liquids, toxic and radioactive materials, corrosive materials, and explosives. This type of hazardous cargo carries special risks to the truck driver and other motorists on the roadway. When a crash involving hazardous materials takes place, it can quickly become devastating. If these materials explode, a seemingly innocuous accident can turn deadly in a matter of seconds.

Fatal truck accidents involving explosives must be carefully investigated. These accidents have special legal considerations. Having a skilled national truck accident attorney is necessary in order to ensure that your legal rights are protected.

At Burg Simpson, our team is standing by to help following a serious or fatal truck crash. If you or a loved one have been affected by a deadly truck accident, please contact us to see how we can be of assistance.

Hazardous Materials Accidents  Fatal Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials: Legal Challenges and Special Considerations

A hazardous materials truck accident normally occurs like any other type of crash. In many instances, the accident occurs because of some type of negligence. This includes speeding, reckless driving, distraction, drowsiness, and impairment. When these factors are at play, the risk of a catastrophic accident is increased.

When hazardous materials are involved in a truck accident, there are two potential risks. The first risk is that some hazardous materials are flammable and combustible. When a truck accident involving hazardous materials takes place, these flammable and combustible substances may be exposed to pressure or they may come into contact with other substances as they escape. This increases the odds of an explosion occurring. An explosion can turn a seemingly innocent crash into a fatal accident at a moment’s notice.

The next potential hazard from a hazardous materials truck crash are leaks and contamination. When hazardous materials escape, they may leak onto the roadway and into nearby soil. This can lead to a great deal of environmental harm and a large cleanup effort.

Laws Governing Hazardous Materials Accidents

When a hazardous materials accident occurs, there are special considerations for victims and their attorneys. The United States Department of Transportation issues rules with regard to the transportation of hazardous materials. The HAZMAT rules apply to truckers and trucking companies who cross state lines in the transportation of hazardous materials. Some of the relevant HAZMAT rules include:

  • Trucks carrying hazardous materials are prohibited from operating on certain roadways
  • Truck drivers may not park a HAZMAT truck within five feet of a public roadway
  • Trucks containing certain hazardous materials must be under constant monitoring and surveillance at all times
  • No truck may carry or transport hazardous materials unless the materials are clearly labeled by a paper that is prepared in accordance with government regulations.

These rules and others are designed to reduce and eliminate the chances of a hazardous materials accident. When a fatal hazardous materials truck accident occurs, an investigation must be conducted in order to determine if the federal regulations were appropriately followed.

Responsibility for HAZMAT Crashes

When a truck accident with hazardous materials takes place, an investigation must be conducted in order to determine who should be held responsible. Initially, the investigation will likely focus on the truck drivers themselves. When the truck driver was negligent in causing the crash, they may have legal liability for the collision.

In addition to the truck driver, the trucking company may also be held responsible. The company should have protocols in place in order to ensure that their employees are complying with federal HAZMAT laws. Unfortunately, companies are sometimes more interested in cutting corners and saving money. When regulations have been violated, the trucking company can be held responsible for the occurrence of any injuries. Additionally, the company is already legally responsible for the negligent acts of its employees.

Determining responsibility for a HAZMAT crash can be a long and sometimes complex process. Having an experienced attorney by your side is necessary in order to ensure that the appropriate parties are held accountable for their actions. At Burg Simpson, our attorneys know what you are going through during this time. We can help fight for your rights and help you obtain the compensation that you deserve.

National Truck Crash Attorneys

The days and weeks following the loss of a loved one are devastating. There is nothing more difficult than losing a family member in a crash that was not their fault. Deadly commercial truck accidents often could have been prevented. When they do occur, you should hold the responsible parties accountable and seek justice.

Here at Burg Simpson, our team has many years of experience handling trucking accident claims. We have assisted victims in truck crash claims across the United States. During this time, we have recovered more than $2 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We know what needs to be done to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

We are standing by to speak with you at any time. Our firm always provides free consultations and case evaluations for all potential and prospective clients. When you are in need of a tough and reliable law firm, you can count on us to deliver the best results. We handle cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay nothing until we win. To schedule your appointment with a nationwide fatal truck accident lawyer, please reach out to us using our online contact form or give us a call at (866) 695-2112.

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