Legal Options in Ohio if Injured by Truck Hazardous Spill
While all trucks and truck drivers must adhere to certain laws, there are special statutes that pertain solely to those carrying hazardous materials. If you were involved in a truck accident that resulted in a hazardous materials spill, call KNR today.
Hazardous Materials Spills
Getting into an accident with a tractor-trailer can be a terrifying event, but if the truck was carrying hazardous materials, it can be devastating. If you are in one of these accidents, you can face serious, potentially lifelong injuries or medical conditions. You also run the risk of being unable to work for an extended period of time. If you were involved in an Ohio truck accident that resulted in a hazardous materials spill, call Kisling, Nestico & Redick to find out how you should handle your case.
Contact us today at 1-800-HURT-NOW for a free and confidential case consultation.
Hazardous Material Trucks Heavily Regulated
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees regulations for semi-trucks. While all trucks and truck drivers must adhere to certain laws, there are special statutes that pertain solely to those carrying hazardous materials. The FMCSA defines hazardous materials as those that could impose an “unreasonable threat” to the health and safety of people and the environment. The agency breaks down the materials covered by this definition into nine hazmat categories:
- Flammable and/or combustible liquids
- Solids that are flammable, combustible, or dangerous when wet
- Oxidizer and organic peroxide
- Toxic poison and poison inhalants
- Radioactive materials
- Corrosive goods
All trucks carrying hazardous materials must have a sign affixed to all four sides. This sign is shaped like a diamond and contains the category level on the bottom point.
Drivers must also carry a Hazardous Materials Safety Permit (HMSP) if they are transporting certain amounts of particularly hazardous materials. All drivers must also carry shipping documents that explain exactly what is being transported, and that are filled out according to the hazardous material regulations.
What Happens When Hazardous Materials Spill
If a truck spills its hazardous materials, there can be a detrimental effect on both people and the environment. Listed below are just a few of the problems that can occur:
- Trucks carrying radioactive materials could spill toxic chemicals into the ground, effectively destroying an area of land. If the spill is severe enough, it could cause nearby neighborhoods and businesses to be evacuated to avoid infecting the populations with radioactive poison.
- Gases or harmful inhalants that get dumped can cause issues because they travel through the air with ease. People can inhale these noxious fumes, making them sick and possibly even leading to serious illness or death.
- Plenty of trucks carry explosives or highly combustible materials. When these trucks strike another vehicle or roll over, the chances of the accident ending in an explosion are greatly increased. An explosion can damage nearby property, severely injuring or killing the drivers and passengers of any vehicles involved in the accident.
Who Is Responsible?
In a personal injury claim, there must be a party that acted negligently and failed to exercise a duty of care. In the case of a truck accident that results in a hazmat spill, there are a few parties that may be responsible:
- The truck driver. The person driving the truck would be considered negligent if they failed to use caution while driving, or if they were driving while overly fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Because the driver is considered a hazmat employee, they must undergo special training on how to secure hazardous materials. They could be considered negligent if they neglected to attend this training.
- The trucking company. Companies that employ truck drivers are responsible for ensuring they have the required experience and education to operate tractor-trailers. In the employer ships hazardous materials, they would be considered a hazmat employer, and would need to train their employees on proper hazmat regulations. They would need to show evidence of this training through log books and other paperwork. A trucking company that does not ensure its employees have received the required hazmat safety training has failed to adhere to their duty of care.
Additionally, both parties could be at fault if the truck was shipping hazardous materials that were not properly loaded and secured inside the rig.
Your Legal Options
If you or a family member were injured in a truck accident that caused a hazardous waste spill, your injuries could take months or even years to fully heal. During that time, it may be impossible for you to work, which means you could lose wages from your job and your family could suffer financially. When your accident was caused by a negligent driver, you are entitled to request compensation that will cover the damages you’ve suffered. It is important to consult a truck accident lawyer about your case so you can understand what damages you may receive, and what evidence you need to show the other driver was at fault.
How Kisling, Nestico & Redick Can Help With Your Truck Accident Case
A truck that spills hazardous materials can cause debilitating health problems. You should not be held financially responsible for this horrific accident when it wasn’t your fault. Call the experienced truck accident attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick to talk about your options. We want to help you get your life back on track.