Dangers of Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials
Truck accidents can have devastating consequences for the people involved in the crash. However, when a truck carries hazardous materials, an accident can affect many more people in the surrounding area for weeks, months, or years following the crash. People involved in a truck crash with hazardous materials or who live around the scene of a hazmat spill may need legal help from a truck accident law firm to pursue financial recovery for injuries or long-term health complications.
If you’ve been harmed by a truck accident involving hazardous materials, contact our Alabama truck crash lawyers to learn about your best recovery options.
Understanding Hazardous Materials in Trucking Accidents
Commercial trucks sometimes carry hazardous materials and waste. Truck drivers and trucking companies must obtain special certifications before transporting hazardous materials. These additional certifications help reduce the risk of truck crashes involving hazardous materials. Examples of hazardous materials carried by semi-trucks include:
- Heating oil, gasoline, kerosene, liquified natural gas, and other flammable substances
- Explosives, including fireworks, blasting materials, or military ordinance
- Radioactive materials
- Industrial chemicals
- Corrosive chemicals or solvents
- Industrial fertilizers
Immediate Environmental Impact
Truck accident injuries are often severe regardless of the truck’s cargo. When truck accidents involving trucks transporting hazardous materials occur, the trucks might spill their cargo and contaminate the surrounding environment with corrosive materials and toxic chemicals. Dangerous substances like pesticides/herbicides, industrial waste, petroleum products, or radioactive materials may leech into the soil and groundwater, contaminating crops, animals, and humans around the crash site.
Toxic gases can also spread into the surrounding atmosphere after a hazardous material spill, posing a respiratory hazard for people nearby. While trucking companies can remediate some cases of environmental contamination, in other cases, the residents of the area surrounding a truck crash scene must wait for contaminants to break down into safer chemicals or dissipate from the environment.
Long-Term Environmental Consequences
Spilled hazardous chemicals and other toxic materials can cause long-term contamination of the environment around the site of a truck crash. Many kinds of toxic substances do not break down naturally in the environment. They may take a long time to break down or dissipate. As a result, these substances can stay in agricultural soils or groundwater and get into people’s food or water. Long-term environmental contamination can cause widespread health complications for people living around the site of hazardous material spills, such as increased risks of chronic diseases like cancer or congenital disabilities in children.
Legal Implications and Liability
A trucking company may bear liability for injuries and health issues caused by a toxic chemical spill during a truck accident, including when the crash occurred due to the negligence of the truck driver or the trucking company. Victims of injuries or illnesses caused by a hazardous material spill from a truck crash can pursue financial recovery for losses from the trucking company or other liable party, including:
- Current medical bills
- Costs of future medical screenings/treatment
- Costs of long-term care
- Lost wages/income
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life/reduced life expectancy.
An experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate the situation to determine who is liable and seek the compensation you deserve to recover from your injuries and losses.
Contact Our Alabama Truck Accident Attorneys to Learn More
When you’ve suffered injuries or medical complications from a toxic chemical spill during a truck accident, you need experienced legal help to pursue accountability from the trucking companies. Contact Stokes Stemle, LLC today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a semi-truck accident attorney to discuss your legal options for financial recovery.