If you have ever witnessed a truck accident, you know that it can cause massive damage and catastrophic injuries. When hazardous materials are involved, the outcome can be worse, ranging from dangerous explosions, environmental damage, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Due to the potential hazard a truck carrying hazardous material can cause, truck drivers and trucking companies that transport these materials are required to carry a higher amount of liability insurance. In addition, they must have a federal hazardous materials safety permit.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), hazardous materials are classified into nine categories and the truck must be marked accordingly based on the hazardous material it is carrying. The nine classes include the following, each of which pose a unique risk:
Flammable or combustible liquid
Flammable solids, spontaneously combustible, and dangerous when wet
Oxidizer and organic peroxide
Poison and poison inhalation hazard
Injuries Caused by Hazardous Materials
In addition to the potentially life-threatening injuries that a truck accident can cause, when hazardous materials are involved, it can cause the following injuries:
Burns, amputations, and loss of hearing resulting from explosions
Exposure to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals
Other health hazards associated with toxic fumes
Illnesses caused by contaminated water
Other injuries caused by corrosive materials
Despite the seriousness of these accidents, and the efforts the FMCSA make to ensure that carriers are complying with regulations, some trucking companies and cargo shippers do not always adhere to these precautions, which puts themselves at risk. In 2015, truck safety inspectors conducted 1,755 roadside inspections of trucks carrying hazardous materials through Indiana in order to check that the truck and its contents were in compliance with regulations. Inspectors ordered roughly 2.5 percent of the trucks inspected in Indiana off the road, citing safety violations. Nearly four percent of trucks nationwide failed the roadside inspections and were taken out of service.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Material
Material is not properly secured: When hazardous material is not properly loaded, the material can shift during transport, which can increase the risk of an accident, an explosion, or the spilling of toxic material.
Driver error: Truck drivers have a responsibility to transport the material safely and responsibly. When they fail to do this, it puts the driver and others on the road at risk. Examples of driver error include turning at an unsafe speed, tailgating, drunk driving, distracted driving, and drowsy driving.
Vehicle placard not visible: Trucks carrying hazardous material are required to have placards displayed on the truck indicating the types of hazardous material being transported. If this is missing and there is a truck accident, other motorists have no warning that there is hazardous material on the truck.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Truck Accidents
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a truck accident involving toxic or hazardous materials, you are urged to contact the dedicated Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. These types of wrecks can be particularly devastating due to the nature of the materials, and their effect on a person’s health. We will pursue the maximum financial compensation that you deserve based on the severity of your injuries. We will not stop until justice has been served. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.