What happens when a commercial truck transporting hazardous material gets into a wreck? These cases are very different from your standard 18-wheeler crash. “Hazardous materials,” as defined by the Department of Transportation (DOT), are substances that pose a high risk to public health and safety when transported, and therefore create a more devastating truck wreck if they injure drivers.
If you’ve been involved in a hazardous materials truck crash, you’re going to need legal counsel. Here’s what you need to know about the dangers of HAZMAT big truck accidents in Texas. We’ll also cover why you should seek legal counsel from a top rated semi truck attorney.
What Hazardous Material Is Transported?
Hazardous materials can be broken down into nine different classes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), alongside the DOT, outlines the nine classes as follows:
- Flammable Liquid
- Flammable Solids
- Organic Peroxides; Substances that Oxidize
- Toxic (Poisonous) and Infectious Substances
- Radioactive Substances
- Misc. Dangerous Goods
High safety precautions are taken into consideration when moving such material. The more dangerous the materials, the stricter guidelines for transport.
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The Dangers of Hazardous Truck Crashes
A collision with a big rig is dangerous on its own, but more threats are posed by exposure to hazardous material. Exposure can result in serious chemical injury or chronic health risks. If a liquid is spilled, other drivers on the road may get into additional wrecks. Following such collisions, spillage can lead to Houston highway shutdowns as extensive cleaning occurs to ensure no long-term environmental effects.
Responsibilities Of Trucking Companies
There is a great deal of responsibility 18-wheeler companies have when moving hazardous material. Each good much be packaged appropriately in a way that prevents leakage or environmental exposure. They must be fully versed in the dangers and know how to handle the product.
Before being able to transport hazardous goods, drivers are to receive thorough training. Training is not a suggestion but a federal law that must be followed to ensure public health safety. If training is not completed, this is considered a hazmat violation and can result in a civil fine of $77,114 per violation.
This fine increases to $179,933 if the violation results in severe injury or property damage. This does not include costs from action taken against the party who violated these strict hazmat regulations.
Hazardous Material Insurance
FMCSA requires increased liability insurance for companies transporting hazardous material. The minimums are increased anywhere between one million to five million dollars.
A legal team may also uncover additional coverage for commercial truck collisions involving one of these materials. FMCSA liability coverage requirements differ depending on what’s being transported and which company transports it. However, you’re entitled to compensation from the at-fault party if you’re involved in the accident.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyers in Houston
A qualified attorney will take the time to seek out the necessary defendants. This can include the big rig operator and their employer, but also the entity requiring the transport. If you work with The Stephens Law Firm, Joe Stephens will perform a thorough investigation to see if any violations were made regarding your HAZMAT big truck accident.
We are known for our reliability. You can depend on us to help you through your case every step of the way. Call an automobile collision law firm in Houston Texas today to see if you are entitled to compensation for your HAZMAT truck accident!
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