Collision Involving Hazardous Materials
Less than 10 percent of all truck shipments are classified as “hazmat” or hazardous materials and less than five percent of all truck crashes involve hazmat. However, a single crash with a truck carrying hazmat has the potential to cause a major catastrophe, so drivers and companies take extra precautions when moving these dangerous materials. If you were injured in a collision with a truck carrying hazardous material, contact our Sacramento truck accident lawyers today.
What Is Hazardous Material?
While most hazardous materials are relatively low-risk, such as household cleaners or personal hygiene products, some are deadly, and even more are dangerous when mixed with other substances. About 7.2 percent of hazmat trucks carry substances dangerous enough to require warning placards.
More than half of all hazmat trucks carry flammable liquids such as oil, gas or other petroleum-based products. More than a quarter carry flammable gases. These substances pose a tremendous risk for motorists and others in the area if the truck is involved in a crash.
Am I at Risk?
According to federal data, the number of fatal crashes involving hazmat trucks has averaged about four percent of all large trucks involved in fatal accidents. Hazmat trucks are involved in non-fatal crashes at the rate of about 1.5 percent per year.
This means that your overall risk of being involved in an accident with a hazmat truck is relatively low. The government has instituted strict standards that require hazmat trucks to take special safety precautions, including:
- Notifying the public of the contents of a truck using warning placards and other methods.
- Requiring truck drivers to come to a complete stop at all railroad crossings.
- Monitoring speed and driving record of all hazmat drivers.
- Enforcing tough penalties for driving violations by hazmat drivers.
What Should I Do If I Am Involved in a Hazmat Truck Accident in Sacramento?
Although the chances that you will be involved in an accident with a truck carrying hazardous materials is low, that does not mean it cannot happen. If it does, the risk of death and injury is extremely high. Victims who have been involved in these types of accidents should consult with a personal injury attorney.
It is important that victims of hazmat truck accidents have legal representation. Lawsuits involving large trucks can be very complicated; the driver and owner of the truck are often different people and the trucking company may have special liability for not observing certain mandated safety precautions. Additional, many trucks travel long distances, so it is likely that the driver and owner of the truck may be located out of state.
A Sacramento personal injury attorney can help you recover damages and handle a personal injury case against a truck driver, trucking company and other defendants.
This literature may be considered attorney advertising or an offer of professional services, according to rule 1-400 Rules of Professional Conduct by the State Bar of California. The information does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the outcome of your potential legal matter.