Trucking Accidents and Hazardous Materials
Truck accidents can be extremely dangerous due to the sheer size and weight of commercial vehicles. When one of these vehicles is hauling hazardous materials, accidents can even more serious and cause even more harmful injuries.
Attorney Brian Steed Tatum uses his years of experience in helping North Carolina and South Carolina’s injured drivers and their families in dealing with the devastating consequences of truck tire blowouts. His experience is put to work for each client in order to ensure that injured clients receive the compensation they deserve.
Hazardous Material Requirements
Hazardous materials are any substances that are identified by the United States Department of Transportation as risks to health, safety, and/or property. Semi-trucks transporting hazardous materials can be carrying flammable material, hazardous waste, chemicals, radioactive materials, dangerous gases or nuclear fuel, among other dangerous materials. HAZMAT carriers are heavily regulated because of the dangerous nature of their cargo.
The USDOT and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rules and procedures for transporting hazardous materials must be followed and can result in civil and criminal penalties for violations. Rules for operating a vehicle carrying hazardous materials include the following:
- Shipping papers that identify the name, class, ID number, and quantity for hazardous materials in the load
- Proper tires
- Proper security (the load must be secure)
- No smoking within 25 feet of the vehicle or while driving when hauling any flammable material
- Proper traveling routes that are planned according to a pre-arranged route plan for transport
Hazardous material spills can cause long-term injuries that may not become apparent immediately. Even being exposed to certain hazardous materials can have long-term effects on people. In order to protect people in the event of a hazardous material crashes and spills, the Superfund Act of 1986 requires truckers to follow a four-part procedure: (1) Be Safe, (2) Move Away, (3) Verbally Report, and (4) Assist.
Even if federal and state regulations are followed, accidents involving a truck carrying hazardous materials can result in injuries such as burns, toxic contamination, and respiratory injuries from inhalation.
If a shipper of hazardous materials failed to inform the trucking company about the nature of the shipment, or if the shipper did not give the trucker proper handling instructions for the hazardous cargo, then the shipper may also be liable for injuries sustained during a truck accident involving hazardous materials.
North Carolina and South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a truck accident with a carrier hauling hazardous materials, you need to speak with an experienced attorney to determine your rights and available remedies. Even though some injuries are readily apparent, the long-term effects of being near certain hazardous materials may not be present immediately. It is also extremely important to determine who is responsible for the accident that resulted in your injuries.
At the Tatum Law Firm, we are determined to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law. We are available to discuss the merits of your claim and offer guidance in order to pursue legal recourse. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a semi-truck collision involving hazardous materials, please contact our office at (704) 307-4350 or go online for a free case evaluation.