The trucking industry is responsible for transporting all manner of cargo throughout the U.S., and in some cases, the type of cargo a truck is carrying can have unique implications if the truck is in an accident. In recent weeks, San Antonio has seen multiple truck accidents involving unusual cargo, including a fatal crash in which molasses was spilled onto the road on Loop 1604, and another accident on I-35 involving a truck carrying beehives in which a swarm of bees was released and had to be contained by pest control.
However, some truck accidents stand out because the truck is carrying particularly hazardous cargo, which can contribute directly to the severity of the crash and the resulting injuries. If you have been injured in a crash with a truck carrying hazardous materials, it is important to work with an attorney who understands trucking regulations and can help you achieve the most possible compensation.
How Can Hazardous Materials Affect a Truck Crash?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) classifies certain kinds of materials as hazardous. Many of these materials are dangerous because they are flammable, combustible, or explosive. If a truck carrying these types of materials is in an accident, the truck and the surrounding area may ignite and cause severe burn injuries or injuries due to the force of an explosion.
Other materials are classified as hazardous because they are corrosive, poisonous, toxic, infective, or even radioactive. If a dangerous chemical or substance is spilled in an accident and comes into direct contact with an accident victim, it can cause chemical burns and other similar injuries. Even without direct contact, exposure to or inhalation of a toxic substance can lead to long-term injuries and health complications.
Federal Regulations for Carrying Hazardous Cargo
The USDOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enact and enforce regulations for trucking companies that transport hazardous materials. These regulations include:
- A required registration and permit
- Requirements for identifying and marking cargo that qualifies as hazardous, as well as noting it in shipping papers
- Requirements for properly packaging, loading, and securing the materials to reduce the risk of accidents or spills
- A required security plan and training for employees who handle the materials
- Required incident reporting for any injuries, deaths, spills, contamination, fires, or other incidents related to the hazardous materials
When a company fails to follow those regulations, they may be responsible for any injuries that occur as a result, including in an accident on the road.
Contact a New Braunfels Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a truck accident, including one that is complicated by dangerous or hazardous cargo, our experienced New Braunfels personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of your case and aggressively pursue compensation. Contact The Bettersworth Law Firm today at 830-443-9193 for a free consultation.