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The Dangers of Chemical Spills

May 09, 2017

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Every year, commercial trucks transport an array of products ranging from livestock and agricultural products to furniture and toys. However, it has also become increasingly common to see large trucks transporting hazardous materials. Although these materials enable us to perform a number of necessary functions, they also pose a serious risk to others. For instance, when a vehicle carrying gasoline crashes, any liquid that escapes the container could cause an explosion, resulting in severe burns and other major injuries. Although truck drivers are required to comply with specific federal regulations intended to keep others from coming into contact with dangerous cargo, accidents can and do happen. If you were injured in a crash with a truck that was carrying hazardous materials, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.

Complying with Federal Regulations

Recognizing that transporting hazardous chemicals poses a serious risk to other drivers on the road, the federal government instituted a series of rules with which drivers and shipping companies must comply if they are transporting flammable, toxic, or corrosive materials, such as:

  • Explosives;
  • Natural gases, such as methane;
  • Radioactive materials;
  • Organic peroxide; and
  • Poison.

The federal rules regulate how this type of cargo should be loaded, unloaded, and handled as well as what types of training drivers are required to have before they will be considered qualified to transport it. The regulations also require drivers to:

  • Attach noticeable signs on all sides of a truck to warn anyone nearby of the dangers posed by the materials;
  • Avoid designated roads when transporting especially dangerous materials;
  • Remain within 100 feet and within view of the vehicle carrying the hazardous materials;
  • Refrain from parking within five feet of a public street, on private property without the owner’s consent, or within 300 feet of a bridge, dwelling, tunnel, or public place; and
  • Refrain from smoking within 25 feet of the vehicle.

When drivers fail to implement these procedures or a truck company fails to enforce them and an accident occurs, the injured parties may be able to hold them accountable for the cost of treating resulting injuries.

Potential Damages

Aside from the standard physical injuries often sustained by car accident victims, those who are involved in a crash with a truck that was carrying hazardous cargo face additional threats to their health, including:

  • Respiratory conditions;
  • Chemical burns;
  • Mouth, throat, stomach, and intestinal damage;
  • Central nervous system problems; and
  • Asphyxiation.

These types of injuries are expensive to treat and often leave victims permanently disabled. For this reason, it is critical that injured parties seek compensation to cover their past and future medical costs, lost wages, and the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the accident.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today

To learn more about your rights to compensation, please contact the legal team at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim in Philadelphia at (215) 486-0123 to schedule a meeting with a dedicated personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options. We are eager to assist you today.


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