Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials

All truck accidents may result in severe injuries and extensive damage to your personal property. But if you’re involved in a hazardous material accident, you have an extra danger to be concerned about. These accidents cause health and environmental problems that can be life-changing or even life-threatening. If you find yourself in a hazardous material truck accident, get to safety and call the truck accident experts at RAM Law in New Jersey. You’ll need them.

What Is Hazardous Material in Trucks?

Hazardous materials in trucks are substances that, when transported, represent a risk to human health, safety or property.

Hazardous materials are classified into nine classes that include:

  • Explosive devices
  • Gases
  • Ignitable substances
  • Hazardous solids and materials that unexpectedly ignite
  • Oxidizing agents and peroxides that are organic
  • Dangerous and pathogenic materials
  • Substances with radioactivity
  • Destructive materials
  • Other dangerous chemicals, such as lithium or dry ice

Depending on the demand and existing regulations, trucks may transport these hazardous products on highways and even sometimes local roads. Government authorities supervise the transportation of hazardous materials to safeguard the safety of people and the environment, but accidents still can happen.

Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials

What Happens in a Hazardous Material Truck Accident?

Any traffic accident gets worse when it involves a big truck like an 18-wheeler, big rig, tanker truck or tractor trailer. Due to the size and weight of these vehicles, there’s more danger than an accident involving two cars. Additionally, the threat is doubled when these big commercial trucks carry hazardous materials.

These hazardous material truck accidents can cause serious injuries, such as:

  • Chemical exposure. If hazardous materials spill off or out of the vehicle, they directly expose those within range to poisonous substances, potentially causing chemical burn injuries and breathing problems.
  • Fire and explosions. Flammable liquids and gases can ignite into explosions, resulting in burns and even death.
  • Collision injuries. After a collision, the impact can result in serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or even just broken bones.
  • Contamination. When hazardous compounds leak onto the ground or into waterways, they contaminate the natural environment, possibly leading to long-term health problems.

Contact an expert truck accident lawyer if you’ve been in a hazardous material truck accident. RAM Law in New Jersey has been helping victims of these kinds of accidents receive fair compensation for their injuries and damages. Don’t just rely on your insurance provider to offer the most appropriate settlement.

What Leads to Truck Accidents that Transport Hazardous Materials?

Both the driver and the trucking company may be held liable for a hazardous materials accident. If the accident was caused by the driver’s negligence or recklessness, the driver is likely responsible. But if the accident was caused by the truck company’s failure to properly maintain the truck, the trucking company may be liable. Because there are many variables in determining the cause of an accident, especially with hazardous materials present, it may take an investigation.

A few of the other factors that can lead to accidents in these cases include:

  • Failure of equipmentBrake failure or tire failure can cause a truck to lose control and cause an accident.
  • Improper cargo loading. If hazardous goods aren’t loaded and secured correctly, the load can shift during transit, resulting in accidents. Overloaded trucks are sometimes to blame too.
  • Weather conditions. Heavy rain, snow or ice degrade the road conditions and make driving more difficult and raise the likelihood of an accident.
  • Improper labeling of hazardous materials. This mistake can lead to the mistreatment of the cargo or simple confusion during shipment, which makes the trip more dangerous.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

If you were injured or if your property was damaged in a hazardous material truck accident, you should receive just compensation for all your experiences, plus your pain and suffering. To navigate the procedure for getting compensation, you need a truck accident attorney for the complex legal process.

A hazardous material truck accident attorney protects your rights and helps you get your compensation by:

  • Conducting an investigation. Your attorney determines the cause of the accident, identifies the liable parties and gathers and preserves evidence to support your claim by undertaking an investigation.
  • Documenting your damage. With your help, your lawyer keeps track of all damages and losses caused by the accident, including medical expenses, lost pay and property damage.
  • Filing a claim. Your attorney submits a claim with the proper parties, such as the trucking company or its insurance provider. You have an ally to negotiate your settlement.
  • Considering litigation. If you are unable to reach a fair settlement through negotiation, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit to seek just compensation through the courts.

To reduce the danger of accidents and safeguard public safety, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has set regulations for the safe transportation of hazardous chemicals.

To ensure the safe delivery of hazardous products in New Jersey, trucking companies and drivers must follow all relevant requirements, such as:

  • Proper labeling. Hazardous items must be properly labeled and placarded in accordance with DOT rules to ensure that they’re handled and transported safely.
  • Training. All drivers and persons involved in the transportation of hazardous items must have the necessary training and certification.
  • Inspections and maintenance. The vehicles must be frequently inspected and properly maintained to ensure their safety and dependability.
  • Emergency plan. Trucking companies that transport hazardous chemicals must have a written emergency response plan in place in the event of an accident or spill.
  • Reporting requirements. Any accidents, spills or other issues involved in hazardous material transportation must be reported to the proper authorities.
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What Should I Do after a Hazardous Material Truck Accident?

These truck accidents are especially dangerous due to the poisonous cargo. Once you stop moving, check yourself and your passengers for injuries and exit your vehicle as quickly as possible.

Then take necessary steps, such as:

  • Get away. As safely as possible, put sufficient distance between you and the accident if you suspect hazardous materials. You can’t leave the scene completely, but be safe.
  • Seek medical attention. Get medical attention quickly if necessary. Identify which hazardous materials you were exposed to, so medical treatment can start quickly.
  • Call emergency services. Report the accident and request assistance if hazardous materials have been spilled or there is a risk of a fire or explosion.
  • Avoid exposure. Avoid coming into contact with dangerous material that’s spilled.
  • Document the scene. Take pictures and video of the accident scene, the damage and any injuries, if you’re able.
  • Exchange information. Get the truck driver’s contact and insurance details, if possible. Find and record witness information.
  • Contact a truck accident lawyer. Without delay, call RAM Law. You need legal assistance.

Contact RAM Law in New Jersey because you need an experienced truck accident attorney. Explain about your hazardous material truck accident, and RAM Law manages the investigation, negotiations and litigation to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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