The Impact of Dangerous Cargo in an Arlington Truck Accident Case
The truck drivers and the trucking companies have a duty to restrain cargo. In Texas, it is a big truck or a pick-up truck, if equipment or rather items fall out of the back of a truck and cause an accident, the driver and owner or the company can be held liable.
To receive compensation for a truck accident involving hazardous materials, it is imperative that an individual has an experienced truck accident attorney to hold the negligent party accountable. These companies take a risk in transporting hazardous materials. An experienced lawyer will work hard to ensure medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering are fully compensated. Reach out to a seasoned attorney to learn about the impact of dangerous cargo in an Arlington truck accident case.
Common Injuries Associated with Dangerous Cargo
Hazardous cargo can cause injuries such as:
These are the types of injuries from which victims may never recover. Severe chemical burns can cause disfigurement as well as many other health problems. Injuries can change with the type of cargo. Truck accidents can also occur when falling cargo from the truck ends up on the road and distracts or even directly hits another vehicle.
According to a recent study by AAA, over a four-year period, falling cargo was the factor in more than 200,000 crashes. Improper securing of the cargo caused about two-thirds of these, and these truck accidents cause about 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries.
How Accidents Could Occur
If somebody is injured by falling cargo, they should seek help from a truck accident attorney to determine who can be sued. They can determine what factors led to the falling cargo. Falling cargo can result from the shifting of the load during travel or wear and tear on the securing rope or chain. For this reason, the truck driver has to check the cargo regularly. Failing to do this can be negligence, and the trucking company should be held accountable if the victim is injured in an accident involving falling cargo.
Many unsecured cargo accidents would not have occurred if the trucking companies and contractors had followed standard safety measures. However, due to unrealistic deadlines that a lot of truck drivers have to operate under, truck drivers often do not take the necessary precautions needed.
There are also trucking accidents that involve hazardous materials. Truck accidents are more complex than two normal passenger vehicles, especially when the truck is carrying hazardous material or hazmat load. The accident has the potential to be even more complicated. These hazardous materials can cause serious, even fatal injuries to those involved in the accident and those who were close to the scene of an accident.
Other issues associated with hazardous cargo incidents include the fact these materials are often oil-based. This means they are slippery, and when spilled out on to a roadway, they can cause a loss of traction for other vehicles in the area, leading to additional accidents. Other vehicles may crash into the disabled tanker or into other vehicles because of their ability to brake has been severely compromised.
A tanker truck transports fluids, which could be in the form of oil, gas, or corrosive chemicals. The liquid content of a tanker truck may slosh from side to side causing a dangerous shift in the center of gravity of the truck, making it difficult for the driver to maintain control. If hazardous materials are spilled during an accident, there could be toxic fumes or dangerous, corrosive chemicals to deal with.
Tanker truck accidents are different from trucking accidents due to the materials involved. The toxic chemicals, gasoline, or oil can be ignited during a tanker truck accident, or noxious fumes can escape when a tanker is compromised. While injuries from an 18-wheeler accident can be catastrophic, having toxic chemicals involved in the accident just adds another layer of potential injury.
Regulations for Truck Accidents Involving Hazardous Materials
Companies who transport these hazardous materials in tanker trucks must comply with both state and federal laws. There are restrictions on which highways hazardous materials can be transported, and some materials may not be transported to specific areas due to the density of the population.
Drivers who transport hazardous materials must have extra training and certifications as well as a fully up-to-date commercial driver’s license with the appropriate hazmat endorsement on their license. Some states even have stricter regulations regarding hazardous cargo than others. As an example, Texas does not allow truck drivers to obtain the hazmat endorsement until the driver has completed a security assessment and obtained a TSA clearance.
Trucking companies who transport these hazardous materials must have additional insurance, sometimes as much as $5 million in a minimum insurance coverage amount, while dangerous cargo tankers are heavily insured, they are usually also heavily defended. While there should be plenty of insurance to cover their claim, there are also unlimited resources to defend them against claimants receiving that money.
Liability for a Commercial Vehicle Accident in Texas
If a person is injured by a truck driver, the victim may be able to take them and their employer to court to make them pay for their injuries. The driver who crashed the truck may be held personally responsible for the crash. However, the truck drivers may not be able to afford all the compensation the victim need. This often means they can take the trucking company they hire the driver to court as well.
In order to find the trucking responsible, the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the defendant is any negligently hired the big rig driver. In that case, the company is held personally responsible for some portion of the damages.
Alternatively, the trucking company may be vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee. The truck driver works as an agent of the trucking company. If they injured an individual while working within the scope of their duties, the trucking company may be held liable to cover injuries their employee caused.
In any case, insurance may be able to help cover injuries; however, the damages that an insurance company pays may not include full damages, especially damages for pain and suffering and damages to penalize the negligent trucking company for violating FMCSA regulations. That is why it is important to talk to a lawyer before accepting anything from the trucking company because if their loved one was injured in an accident with a commercial truck, they may be entitled to receive substantial compensation.
Retain the Services of a Truck Accident Attorney
A lot of unsecured cargo accidents would not have occurred if the trucking companies and contractors had followed standard safety measures. However, due to unrealistic deadlines that a lot of truck drivers have to operate under, truck drivers often do not take the necessary precautions needed. If an accident occurs, the responsible party could be held liable for damages.
Call today to learn about the impact of dangerous cargo in an Arlington truck accident case.