Hazardous materials (HAZMAT) can be anything from ordinary household products to highly flammable materials or specialized substances that need prominent warning labels. What makes a material hazardous focuses primarily on the product’s flammability and the potential to cause harm. When HAZMAT trucks are involved in an accident, the results can be disastrous. If you suffered injuries in an accident, you can file a HAZMAT truck accident claim for compensation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) divides HAZMAT materials into nine classes.
- Explosives, e.g., mercury fulminate
- Gases, e.g., petroleum
- Flammable or combustible liquids, e.g., ethyl ether
- “Flammable Solid, Spontaneously Combustible, and Dangerous When Wet”, e.g., matches
- Oxidizer/Organic Peroxide, e.g., benzoyl peroxide
- Poison/Poison Inhalation Hazard
- Radioactive, e.g., uranium
- Corrosive, e.g., battery acid
- Miscellaneous, e.g., dry ice, asbestos, life-saving appliances
With a handful of major highways in Texas for transporting goods on a daily basis, truck accidents are a frequent occurrence. In fact, in the year 2014 alone, Texas witnessed 417 vehicle accidents involving a truck-tractor/semi-trailer, according to Texas Peace Officers Crash Reports.
When an accident of this type occurs, learning what caused the accident — and whether or not it was preventable — is key. Let’s investigate who a truck crash victim can hold responsible for load shifting, a truck accident with a cargo spill.
Driving near a large truck can be dangerous for some reasons; large trucks can weigh up to 80 tons, making them challenging to control and deadly in a truck accident. While truck drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles with a high level of care, other drivers on the road also have an obligation to exercise caution.
One thing that all drivers of standard passenger cars should learn is the locations of large truck blind spots and the importance of staying out of those blind spots.
Any automobile accident can cause severe injuries and damage to your vehicle. But not all car accidents are the same. Eighteen-wheeler, also known as a commercial vehicle, accidents present a greater risk of devastating injuries to the passengers in the vehicles with which they collide. Unfortunately, injured persons often face high medical bills and months of physical therapy following a truck accident in Dallas.
Legally, commercial vehicle accidents are more complex than accidents between passenger cars. Governmental regulations place specific duties on trucking companies and truck drivers that are involved in accidents. Additionally, there are usually more than two parties involved in commercial vehicle accidents, despite only two cars being involved in an accident.
Understanding the effect of multiple parties creates beneficial legal opportunities for the experienced attorney early in the litigation process. This brings me to my next point, trucking companies primarily work with lawyers that mostly handle commercial vehicle accident cases. This is why it is important to find an attorney who understands commercial vehicle accidents and has experience navigating the complicated rules and regulations governing commercial vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial trucking companies and truck drivers. FMCSA regulations place specific duties on trucking companies to ensure that they are hiring qualified drivers, who can follow strict safety rules once on the road.
For example, drivers must be drug tested “as soon as practicable” following a serious accident. And, the trucking must complete a thorough accident investigation. Further, the truck drivers must keep detailed logbooks of their trips and take designated rest periods. You need an attorney that can ask the right questions and ensure that the trucking company doesn’t let crucial evidence like a driver’s long hours or failed drug test hide in the cracks.
With every plane crash, news reporters start talking about the “black box” on the plane. If they can find the black box then investigators will be able to determine the cause of the accident. What a lot of people don’t know is that most 18-wheelers or commercial trucks have their own form of a “black box:” the truck onboard recording device.
Event Data Recorders or EDRs can be found on almost every commercial truck on the road. Further, some trucks may have additional data recording devices like GPS tracking and monitoring, and Electronic Driving Logs (EDL).
Just like the black box in the plane accident, they can go a long way in helping determine the cause of commercial accidents. It is important to find an attorney who understands how to access this information and perform the necessary vehicle inspections to ensure proper download and analysis for your case.
If you were injured in a serious truck accident, you were likely taken from the scene in an ambulance, unable to tell your side of the story. In the sad cases where an individual dies, the only testimony regarding how the accident occurred may come from the negligent truck driver trying to cover himself from liability.
This is where the EDR and the information it possesses become incredibly valuable to your case. EDRs can record vehicle speed and driver inputs at the time of the accident.
EDR data from commercial trucks include information about the following.
- Hard braking
- Sudden deceleration
- Quick stops
All of this information is crucial in piecing together the final moments that led up to your accident. Further, if the 18-wheeler involved in your accident had a GPS tracking system or EDL you may find evidence of a driver driving longer than he should and/or falsifying his driving logs.
Unfortunately, there are many truck drivers who disobey the federal limits on hours of service, which puts everybody on the road in danger if the trucker becomes fatigued.
Make sure to find an attorney with experience handling trucking accident cases. Your attorney should have the resources needed to properly download and analyze EDR information, as well as ascertain other important evidence that can help you receive all pertinent types of truck accident compensation.
The squeeze play is characterized by a vehicle becoming trapped between the side of the road/curb and a large truck during a right-hand turn. Squeeze play truck accidents can result in both physical property damage and personal injuries.
Victims can recover two basic types of truck accident compensation: economic and non-economic damages. In some cases that wind up going to trial, the courts may award a third type of compensation referred to as punitive damages. We will briefly cover each type of payment below.
To recover damages from a truck accident that causes injuries, you’ll have to prove that the tractor-trailer driver was acting negligently. This may sound overwhelming so let Julie Johnson break it down into its component parts for you.
A truck driver’s logbook containing his hours of duty can be critical in a semi-truck claim because it may be evidence of trucking company liability. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a part of the United States Department of Transportation, provides rules governing hours of service for truck drivers. If a truck driver fails to abide by the rules and subsequently causes a truck accident, it could apportion the carrier with legal liability for victims’ damages.