Accidents Involving Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials

Accidents involving hazardous materials trucks can be extremely serious. Due to the potential dangers of these accidents, truck operators who transport hazardous materials must carry extra liability insurance coverage and have additional training. A HAZMAT trucking accident can result in explosions, fires, environmental contamination, and exposure to toxic chemicals. 

Do HAZMAT truck drivers receive any special training?

If you were injured in a HAZMAT truck accident, you need to speak with a Virginia truck accident attorney at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. During your free consultation, one of our experienced lawyers will examine the facts of your case and outline the most effective legal strategy for recovering financial compensation.

What Are Hazardous Materials?

The interstate trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. According to the FMCSA, there are nine categories of hazardous materials. They are:  

  • Class 1: Explosives
  • Class 2: Gases
  • Class 3: Combustible liquids and flammable liquids 
  • Class 4: dangerous when wet, spontaneously combustible, and flammable solids
  • Class 5: Organic peroxide and oxidizer 
  • Class 6: Poison inhalation hazard and poison
  • Class 7: Radioactive
  • Class 8: Corrosive
  • Class 9: Miscellaneous

Any commercial truck that is transporting these materials is required to display placards that identify the hazardous material as a means of warning emergency responders as well as other drivers. Frequently transported hazardous materials that fall under the above-listed categories include:

  • Gasoline and other fuels
  • Fireworks
  • Fertilizer
  • Lithium batteries
  • Insecticides
  • Wood treatment products
  • Alcohols
  • Paints and paint thinners
  • Oxygen tanks

What Are Some Common Hazardous Material Injuries?

A wide variety of injuries can be caused by exposure to hazardous materials. Some materials can be dangerous if they are inhaled, leading to severe lung damage. Other materials are combustible and can result in fires or explosions which can cause serious burn injuries and permanent scarring. Exposure to hazardous materials can also cause:

  • Chemical burns
  • Thermal burns
  • Eye injuries
  • Sores or ulcers on the skin
  • Respiratory distress or damage
  • Neurological injuries 

Who is Liable for a Hazardous Materials Truck Accident?

Establishing liability for a hazardous materials trucking accident can be a complex process. It is not uncommon for multiple parties to have contributed to the accident. Fault may rest solely on a careless truck operator who made an error in judgment. In many cases, however, additional parties share in liability for the truck accident. Those parties often include: 

  • The freight company
  • The owner of the truck
  • The loading company
  • A parts or vehicle manufacturer

Due to the damage a hazardous materials accident is capable of causing, freight companies and truck drivers that handle hazardous materials must carry larger amounts of liability insurance. The monetary stakes in a HAZMAT trucking accident are extremely high and insurers will do everything in their power to avoid liability.  

What Training is Required for Hazardous Material Truck Drivers?

Drivers who transport hazardous material transport are required to have a valid commercial driver’s license with a special endorsement for hazardous materials. All HAZMAT truck drivers must complete Federal Security Threat Assessment training and pass a written test on driving requirements and regulations. The assessment training includes the proper handling and management of hazardous materials, and what processes to follow if they are involved in an accident, such as mandatory, prompt, accident reporting.

Were You Injured in a Hazardous Materials Trucking Accident?

Most truck drivers are dedicated professionals. They follow all applicable rules and regulations and take their jobs seriously. Unfortunately, there are many different circumstances that can lead to serious accidents.   

If negligence on the part of a truck driver or their employer caused your hazardous materials accident and injuries, reach out to the Virginia Beach personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have been achieving successful results for truck accident victims since 1985. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Virginia truck accident lawyers, call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out our simple online form. 

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