Hazardous Material (Hazmat) Truck Accident Claims Process
Posted in Truck Accidents on August 19, 2019
It can be daunting driving around large trucks on the roadways, and any crash involving a commercial truck is a complicated nightmare. A crash involving a truck carrying hazardous materials poses even more dangers. In the aftermath of a hazmat truck crash, the process can become complicated, particularly when it comes to insurance claims.
The US DOT says that around three billion tons of hazardous materials are transported by large commercial trucks each year in this country. All interstate commercial trucking is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and they have specific and strict regulations for those that carry hazardous materials.
These trucks often carry gas, oils, gases, oxidizers, explosives, and corrosive chemicals. In some instances, they carry “spent” nuclear waste and radiological materials. Some of these materials “slosh” around inside the tanker, causing instability for the truck driver. When a hazmat truck crashes, not only do those involved in the crash have to deal with traumatic injuries, but they also have to deal with toxic fumes, chemical fires, corrosive materials, and other dangerous substances. In some cases, these incidents can affect entire communities around the crash site.
Some of the main reasons for hazmat truck crashes include:
- Not properly securing the load
- Driver inexperience
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Vehicle failure
What to do in the aftermath of a hazmat truck crash
Victims involved in accidents with trucks carrying hazardous materials and chemicals are much more likely to suffer from serious injuries as a result. This can lead to tremendous expenses, including:
- Current and future medical bills
- Long-term care for disabilities
- Lost income if a person cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
A person injured in a hazmat truck incident, as with any semi-truck crash, will need to seek compensation by proving that the truck driver or trucking company was somehow at fault for the incident. If possible, you should document the scene thoroughly, but only if it is safe to do so. You need to obtain the official accident reports for a hazmat truck crash, and you should know there will probably be more than one.
Local law enforcement will likely perform an initial assessment that could assign fault, but federal agencies will likely investigate a hazardous materials crash. You need to obtain copies of these reports as well.
Due to the seriousness of these incidents and the fact that you will be dealing with multiple parties, you should consider securing a qualified and experienced Nashville truck accident attorney to guide you through the entire process. In most major personal injury cases, an attorney will work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay attorney fees unless they win your case.
Please do not speak with insurance companies until you seek advice from an attorney and do not sign any paperwork that takes away your right to file a personal injury lawsuit. In many cases, insurance companies in these instances will move in with a quick settlement offer that may seem great at the time, especially when you need the money due to your injury expenses. However, they are likely offering well below what you are entitled to. By taking these settlements, you give up your right to sue them in most cases. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf.