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Hazmat Accidents – What to do if You are Involved

professionals cleaning up hazmat accident

Commercial truck collisions are dangerous enough, but when a vehicle carrying hazardous materials spills its contents onto a public highway or road, innocent victims may incur disastrous secondary injuries.

When a large truck rolls over, tips, or collides with another object and dumps its load onto a public roadway, the resulting damage and injuries can be devastating. Drivers, pedestrians, and passer-bys may become exposed to toxic chemicals. When a big rig is transporting toxic liquid, flammable chemicals, or other hazardous materials such as gasoline or industrial waste, these chemicals can leach into nearby properties, damaging the local ecosystem and the properties of those nearby.

These hazardous waste spills may happen because of driver error and trucking company negligence.

If you were in the vicinity of an accident like this, you may have the right to sue the trucking company at fault. It’s important that an experienced truck accident attorney is on your side, handling the legal matters, and conducting the proper investigations to determine who is responsible for your damages.

Many factors can cause a truck to spill hazardous waste onto highways and roads. These factors include:

  • Speeding
  • Unsafe or misjudged turns
  • Unsafe lane changes, including failing to signal or check mirrors and blind spots
  • Backing up accidents by failing to visually confirm no obstacles
  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Unfamiliarity with routes
  • Driver experience
  • Lack of proper training or certification for transporting hazardous materials
  • Unsafe cargo loading, including unbalanced loads, overloading a vehicle or failing to properly secure cargo or materials for transport
  • Improper vehicle maintenance

The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial truck transport of hazardous waste materials that could harm the public. When trucking companies or their drivers are responsible for hazardous material accidents on highways and roads, they can be held responsible for victims’ monetary damages.

What Happens When a Hazmat Driver or Trucking Company Doesn’t Comply with Federal Safety Regulations?

The FMCSA mandates that a trucking company or driver who violates or willfully and recklessly fails to comply with federal hazardous material transport and causes bodily injury or death can be held monetarily responsible and may even be criminal prosecuted.

The FMCSA takes public safety very seriously, which works in your favor when you’ve been injured because of a hazardous waste highway or road spill in New Jersey.

Why You Should Contact NTC’s HAZMAT Spills & Truck Accident Attorneys Today

The FMCSA laws and regulations are designed to ensure that trucking companies and their drivers follow hazardous waste transport safety mandates. But in the event of a hazardous waste truck accident, the process of determining fault and collecting damages is complex. So, it’s important to hire attorneys who know how to conduct investigations and hold the trucking company and its driver civilly responsible for your suffering.

The statute of limitations (the time you have to file a lawsuit) for these kinds of claims vary from state to state, so it’s important not to wait.

Furthermore, if the hazmat truck or carrier that caused the accident that injured you is owned and operated by a municipality or by the state government, if you decide to file a claim against the government you must provide the appropriate public agency with notice of your claim within 90 days of the accident. Failing to provide timely notice or to seek leave of course to file an untimely notice can lead to the rejection of your claim or dismissal of a lawsuit from the court.

Get in touch with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer immediately and start exploring your recovery options.

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