Truck Accidents & Hazardous Spills

When an accident involving a truck occurs, the chances of the victims of the accident suffering severe injuries or even death are quite high due to the height and weight of the truck compared to an average car, which puts the odds against the occupants of a car. 

What Is Hazardous Cargo 

Besides the height and weight, the type of cargo in transit can significantly determine the accident's severity. Accidents with the highest chance of turning catastrophic are collisions involving trucks transporting hazardous cargo. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines hazardous cargo as any material that is potentially dangerous to people and property. These materials include chemicals and toxins from flammable substances like fireworks, poisons, and explosives. 

Types of Hazardous Cargo

The FMCSA classifies cargo into several categories, with the most hazardous being explosives. Explosives are anything that can detonate, explode, or blow up when the conditions are right. Unfortunately, explosives do not always require an eternal trigger like a collision to go off. They can occur at any time when the conditions inside the cargo area become conducive for an explosion. 

The other significantly hazardous cargo is gasses which fall into three categories: flammable, inflatable, and poisonous. Flammable liquids are also among the most hazardous types of cargo carried by trucks and can include gasoline, ethanol, and acetone, among others. 

Like explosives and gasses, flammable liquid can burst into fire even when there isn't a collision. Other hazardous materials include flammable solids, oxidizers, organic peroxide, radioactive material, and corrosive substances such as acids. 

Identifying Trucks Ferrying Hazardous Cargo

Federal trucking regulations require trucks ferrying hazardous charges to have placards indicating the type of hazardous cargo they are ferrying, so it should not be difficult for you to identify them, which can help you make informed decisions when driving near them. 

According to the FMCSA, proper classification of hazardous material is a major responsibility of the trucking company. Also, trucking companies are required to offer proper training to their truckers and every other person involved in handling the cargo, such as the loaders and offloaders. 

Causes of Truck Accidents

The main causes of trucks ferrying hazardous material are similar to accidents involving trucks carrying other types of cargo. 

Driver error is the leading cause of truck accidents, irrespective of the cargo. Driver errors occur when a driver is distracted, fatigued, drowsy, fails to yield way, or drives at an excessive speed. 

But, not all accidents are a result of driver error. Other causes include poor truck maintenance, improper cargo loading, overloading, incremental weather, and poor roads.

Liability for Hazardous Spills Accidents

“If you have suffered harm from hazardous material in a truck accident, there is a chance you could be eligible for compensation. But your eligibility will be subject to who was responsible for the accident,” says attorney Rustin Smith of Smith Hulsey Law

Several parties could be held liable for the accident if the truck was at fault in the accident, including the trucking company, the truck driver, and the truck owner. 

If poor road maintenance is to blame for the accident, your lawyer can look at pursuing a claim against the government agency tasked with maintaining the road. Another possible third party in a truck accident can be the truck manufacturer of a faulty part maker if a faulty part is the cause of the accident.

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