A truck accident is one of the most dangerous types of road incident. When a truck carrying hazardous materials is involved, the risks are even greater. There can be serious consequences as a result of the incident. Learn everything you need to know about accidents that involve vehicles with hazardous materials on board.
What Are the Consequences?
There are many events that can occur in response to a collision that involves hazardous materials. First, there's the chance of injury. Truck collisions are notorious for causing injuries. In fact, there were 4,440 trucks and buses involved in . During that same year, 66% of deaths involving truck accidents occured to the passenger vehicle occupants.
Because hazardous materials can cause fires, chemical burns, and more, crashes that involve them are even more dangerous. You and your passengers could have injuries that last a lifetime.
In addition to causing harm to the involved parties, crashes involving hazardous materials also affect other drivers. The clean-up of this type of crash can take hours. Because the clean-up involves a special crew, the road often remains closed for an extended period. The traffic that this causes can lead to even more accidents.
Example of a Hazmat Accident
If you want to truly understand the scale of a hazmat collision, you need to read about an example. In 1976, one of the worst accidents involving hazardous materials occurred. A truck in Houston spilled 7,000 gallons of ammonia onto the road. As a result of the spill, seven people died and 200 experienced injuries.
There are a few reasons this accident was so devastating. First, it occurred on a busy highway. Secondly, it involved pure ammonia, which can be lethal. Breathing in the fumes was enough to kill some of the victims of the crash.
Although an accident of this magnitude is not common, it is possible. Any time a vehicle carrying gasoline, radioactive materials, and other hazardous materials has a collision, there is a serious danger.
Who is Responsible?
Accidents that involve hazardous substances can be the fault of the truck driver or of the other vehicle. It all depends on the specifics of your crash. Here are a few examples of who could be at fault for the accident:
1. The Truck Driver
Although truck drivers hauling hazardous materials should be cautious, this isn’t always the case. If the driver was intoxicated, driving drowsy, or driving recklessly, then they are at fault.
2. The Hazardous Material Company
In some cases, the company is to blame. If they didn’t seal their tanks properly or they overfilled tanks, a spill can occur.
3. The Trucking Company
When a truck malfunctions and causes a collision, the trucking company could be at fault. They are responsible for providing maintenance and ensuring that their vehicles work well.
What Can You Do After the Incident?
Just as you would after any accident, you should contact the police after a hazmat collision. You should also contact emergency medical services. When they get to the scene, they can protect you from further injuries.
If a hazmat accident affected you or your family, you should seek assistance. Someone else might be to blame for your crash. Depending on your situation, you could have a wrongful death claim or a personal injury claim.