In early December, a truck carrying hydrochloric acid, a hazardous material (hazmat), crashed on Highway 225 in Pasadena, Texas. The 18-wheel rig was carrying 4,300 gallons of the acid and spilled approximately 100 gallons at the scene. Multiple lanes of traffic had to be shut down while hazmat crews cleaned up the area. While no one was injured in this accident or from the subsequent spill, not all hazmat carrier incidents have such a happy ending. For instance, a hazmat truck exploded in Maverick County in August, injuring four and killing one. The truck was carrying airbag components for Takata, a company that has come under intense scrutiny in recent years for its airbags exploding without warning and hurting vehicle drivers and passengers.
If you were injured in a crash with a truck carrying hazardous materials, do not hesitate to seek legal advice. Your road to physical and financial recovery may be long and you will need a dedicated Texas personal injury attorney by your side.
What Are Considered Hazardous Materials?
All types of products, including gases, liquids, and solids, are transported by truck. Some of these products are harmless, while others could be devastating to come into contact with. You could drive alongside a semi for miles not knowing that it carried a dangerous substance the whole way.
Commonly transported hazardous materials include:
- Diesel fuel;
- Petroleum products;
- Flammable oils or other materials;
- Hydrogen gas or other compressed gases;
- Radioactive materials;
- Inflammable hazardous waste materials; and
Regulations Surrounding Hazardous Cargo
There are strict federal regulations regarding how hazardous materials can be transported. The rules are based on the class and division of the substance, which are:
- Flammable liquid and combustible liquid;
- Flammable solids, spontaneously combustible, and dangerous when wet;
- Oxidizer and organic peroxide;
- Poison (toxic) and infectious;
- Corrosive; and
- Miscellaneous dangerous goods.
Manufacturers, truck carriers, and truck drivers must all understand these classes and how each can be handled safely. Each class has its own packaging, loading, transporting, and unloading requirements as well as rules regarding warning labels for the packages and trucks and containment rules. Truckers also need to know where they are prohibited from driving hazardous materials since some public roads are off limits, and that they cannot park within five feet of a public road.
Injuries You Can Sustain for Colliding with a Hazmat Truck
Some hazardous materials are more dangerous than others. While some may cause minor injuries, others can be debilitating or deadly on contact. Others can lead to massive explosions that cause significant loss of life. Some common injuries from dangerous materials include:
- Chemical burns;
- Skin irritation or damage;
- Lung injuries; and
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you were in an accident with a hazmat carrier and you are now suffering significant injuries due to the dangerous substance, contact the passionate New Braunfels personal injury attorneys of the Bettersworth Law Firm immediately. After suffering significant injuries, you will need an experienced lawyer to help you negotiate a proper settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company. However, the truck driver or carrier’s insurance policy limit may not cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement. In this situation, your best option may be to head to court.