Every day, hundreds of 18-wheelers and tanker trucks transport materials across California, and sometimes, those materials are hazardous. Hazardous materials, also known as hazmat, are considered any materials or chemicals that pose a danger to people, animals, the environment or property.
Transporting hazmat is a dangerous job due in part because the materials that are transported are done so using large semi-trailers and tankers. These vehicles are highly susceptible to accidents that could cause devastating injuries such as brain injuries, paraplegia and even death. It’s advised you contact a personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a hazmat transportation accident.
Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
The injuries in a commercial truck accident have the potential to be lethal when hazardous chemicals are involved. After an accident, your focus should be on recovering and not how to cover the cost of damages incurred from the accident. Yarian & Associates, APC will aggressively advocate on your behalf to ensure the negligent party is held responsible and that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
You can call (844) 291-1911 to schedule a free case consultation. We assist clients in areas across Los Angeles County and Tulare County.
- Dangers of Transporting Hazmat
- Injuries Associated with Hazmat Accidents
- Hazmat Transportation Regulations
- Personal Injury Claim for Hazmat Transportation Accidents
- Additional Resources
Dangers of Transporting HazMat
Transporting hazardous materials is a very intricate and dangerous process. Many of these materials are transported on 18-wheelers, which are likely to be involved in jackknife collisions and underride accidents. Depending on the material being transported, the chances of dying in a hazmat accident are high.
Several factors can cause hazardous material transportation accidents, such as:
- Improper cargo loading
- Driver fatigue
- Failure to comply with road laws
- Emergency stopping
- Inadequate truck maintenance
Hazardous materials are often transported in tanker trucks, which are susceptible to rollover accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 1,300 tanker rollovers every year with 60 percent of them resulting in death. Most of these accidents take place on dry, straight highways and roads, not on turns and ramps as you might expect.
Injuries Associated with Hazmat Accidents
Commercial truck accidents already have an increased risk of injuries, but when the vehicle is carrying hazardous material, the risk is even greater. Colliding with a truck transporting hazardous material has the potential to set off a chemical reaction and cause a fire or explosion. In addition to this, a hazmat transportation accident can also bring you into direct contact with toxic chemicals.
Listed below are injuries commonly associated with a hazmat accident:
- Chemical burns
- Lung damage
- Head trauma
- Exposure to carcinogens
- Eye damage
- Broken Bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Wrongful death
It’s imperative you contact a personal injury attorney if you have been injured in a hazmat transportation accident. You should not be left paying out of pocket for the pain and suffering caused by another’s negligence.
Hazmat Transportation Regulations
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is the governing body responsible for regulating the transportation of hazardous materials. There are troves of hazmat regulations, especially when it comes to transportation on public highways. For one, all California truck drivers are required to have a CDL and complete the training and testing necessary to transport hazardous materials.
All hazardous materials being transported are required to be identified with a placard and stored with proper packing. Tractor trailers are also required to use a four-digit United Nations number that can be identified by first responders at the scene of an accident. This number notifies police, firefighters and EMS of the toxic chemical involved so they can act accordingly.
The driver and trucking company are required to abide by these federal guidelines. Failing to do so will not only result in federal penalties but also constitutes negligence and may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Personal Injury Claim for Hazmat Transportation Accident
You must act fast if you wish to file a personal injury claim in California. Under state law, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. You will lose your right to compensation if you fail to bring a claim within this time.
To prevail in court, you will be required to prove the responsible party’s negligence was the result of your injuries. In California, negligence is the failure to show reasonable care to prevent harm. This can include:
- Doing something a reasonable person would not have done in the same situation; or
- Failing to act in a way a reasonable person would have acted in the same situation
If negligence can be proven, the court will award you economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are awarded to make up for any past or future out-of-pocket cost related to the accident. Non-economic damages are awarded to compensate for damages without monetary value such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
The court does not limit personal injury compensation if you are insured and were not under the influence at the time of the accident. Uninsured drivers and those who were intoxicated during the accident will not be granted non-economic damages. The only time the court will award an uninsured driver non-economic damages is if the hazmat driver was convicted of DUI in connection to the accident.
Filing a personal injury claim is not a DIY project. You will be required to prove the responsible party was negligent, which will not be an easy task. It’s advised you contact a personal injury attorney if you plan to bring a personal injury claim in California.
Our team, will immediately go to the scene of the accident and do a thorough site inspection. We will check for debris, evidence, tire marks, take measurements and videos of the scene of the accident. We will determine if any state and federal laws have been violated. The trucks GPS and blackbox will be requested and preserved for evidence. Experts such as accident reconstruction experts and/or highway design experts will be retained. Don’t do this alone. You need an experienced lawyer on your side to who has a 99% success rate in handling truck accidents and wrongful death matters.
Hazmat Regulations | Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration – View a brochure from the PHMSA over federal hazmat laws. You can find out who is responsible for enforcing these laws, penalties for not complying and required security plans. The PHMSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation responsible for regulating the transportation of hazardous materials.
Tanker Rollover Prevention – As mentioned earlier, hazmat is typically transported on tanker trucks, which have an increased risk of rolling over. View a PDF from AIG Programs Loss Control to view statistics on rollover accidents, the science behind them and conditions that can lead to the accident.
Los Angeles Truck Accident Lawyer
At Yarian & Associates, APC, our team understands the intricacies involved in litigating personal injury claims involving commercial trucks. We will work diligently on your case from start to finish and provide you with the quality representation you deserve. Call (844) 291-1911 to schedule your free case evaluation.
We represent clients in areas such as Glendale, Los Angeles, Visalia, Riverside, Fresno, Irvine and San Bernardino.