Truck accidents are some of the most devastating accidents, and often involve catastrophic injuries and fatalities. When those accidents involve trucks carrying hazardous materials, or HAZMAT trucks as they're commonly known, the risks affect not only the truck driver and other motorists in the accident, but also everyone else in the immediate vicinity.
The Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Office of Hazardous Materials Safety (PHMSA) estimates there have been 2,887 incidents involving HAZMAT trucks in transit in 2014 alone. These incidents resulted in five fatalities, and 27 injuries. Learn more about HAZMAT truck crashes including the risks, violations, and liability for damages.
Accident Injury Risks Involving HAZMAT Trucks
There are large volumes of chemicals, solvents, gasoline, flammable liquids, compressed gases, radioactive materials, chemical liquids, and flammable hazardous products transported every day across Washington. If any of these trucks is in an accident, the risks for all involved or in the vicinity are great.
Not only are trucks much larger, bulkier and heavier than other vehicles, but any accident involving these vehicles also tends to be much more serious because of the cargo they are carrying. In any Tacoma accident involving a HAZMAT truck, you don't only have to worry about injuries, but also have to worry about the risk of explosions, fires, or toxic exposure involving the hazardous materials transported in the truck.
For instance, when a truck carrying radioactive materials is involved in an accident, occupants of the other vehicles, the truck driver, and all the other people in the vicinity are at serious risk of toxic and possibly fatal exposure.
Hazmat Truck Accident Violations
HAZMAT trucking companies and their drivers must comply with regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the PHMSA. Failure to comply with regulations may lead to accidents or may worsen accident severity. These regulations have to do not just with prevention of accidents involving cargo tanks, trucks and tankers, but also the containment of hazards.
The FMCSA notes that the following are common HAZMAT truck violations.
- Failure to secure the package in the vehicle
- Failure to make available emergency response information
- Failure to include cargo tank test and inspection markings
These are serious violations but they are far from the only types of violations. Many violations may increase the risk of injuries and toxic exposure to people in the Tacoma area where the accident occurred.
Who is liable in HAZMAT accidents?
If you were injured in a HAZMAT spill accident, you are likely eligible for compensation for your injuries. A truck accident claim can differ from a car accident claim, as there may be various liable parties. Your claim can seek damages from the trucking company operating the truck, the truck driver, and the shipper of the hazardous materials that the truck was carrying at the time of the accident.
Your attorney can help you explore liability for your accident. A trucking accident lawyer can also help you explore the types of compensation you may seek in your claim.
You can recover damages that include but are not limited to the following.
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Lost diminished earning potential
Max Meyers helps accident victims in Tacoma pursue legal action after a truck accident. Call 425-399-7000 to schedule an appointment with a lawyer at our firm today, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free initial evaluation of your case.