Large trucks are important in the United States, and serve as a means of transporting goods and building materials, medicine and produce, and more. Large trucks are also responsible for transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT), such as poisonous or corrosive materials. Trucks carrying hazardous materials travel the roadways of Denver every day, and millions of tons of hazardous materials are transported daily.
While the majority of these trips occur without incident, sometimes, HAZMAT spills occur. A spill of hazardous materials can be devastating for any victims involved, and may result in long-term health problems and future complications.
Truck Accidents: Types of Hazardous Materials Transported
According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, hazardous materials traffic in the United States exceeds 800,000 shipments per day and involves more than 3.1 billion tons of hazardous materials annually. While hazardous materials are required for construction, mining, agriculture, and more, they are also very dangerous.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has grouped hazardous materials into the following classes based on their physical and chemical properties.
- Class 1 – explosives.
- Class 2 – gases.
- Class 3 – flammable liquids.
- Class 4 – flammable solids.
- Class 5 – oxidizers and organic peroxides.
- Class 6 – poisons and etiologic materials.
- Class 7 – radioactive materials.
- Class 8 – corrosives.
- Class 9 – miscellaneous.
In 2007, the most common types of hazardous materials transported were flammable liquids, corrosive materials, combustible liquids, nonflammable gases, and oxidizers.
Truck Accidents: Effects of a HAZMAT Spill
When a hazardous cargo spill occurs, the results can be disastrous. Of course, one of the most immediate effects of a hazardous cargo spill is a car accident or explosion. A car accident or explosion that involves hazardous cargo can result in burns, blindness, head trauma or brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, lung damage, limb amputation, disfigurement, and death.
Many injuries—such as lung damage—can develop into more severe injuries, such as lung cancer that results in death.
There are also other future complications that can result from a hazardous materials spill. In 1976, a truck carrying 7,500 gallons of anhydrous ammonia crashed in Houston, Texas. Immediate effects of the crash included the death of six people.
However, another person died three years later from health complications caused by the crash. According to a 2011 article in the Houston Chronicle, more than 100 people were treated for injuries at the time of the accident, some of whom may be facing long-term complications today.
Some types of hazardous material can also cause cancer or respiratory problems to those who are exposed to them. And HAZMAT spills can also cause damage to property and the environment, the latter of which may also play a role in the future health of people living at the spill site.
Truck Accidents: Causes of HAZMAT Spills
Hazardous cargo spills can occur for a variety of reasons, such as an accident involving another motor vehicle or a road runoff. There are many possible causes of truck accidents. In some cases, truck accidents are the result of negligence on the part of a driver. Sometimes, cargo shifts within a truck as a result of a swift lane change, taking a turn too fast, or braking quickly. Other times, cargo spills happen because cargo hasn’t been property secured, and doesn’t meet hazardous cargo regulations regarding tie-downs, anchor points, and other cargo restraints.
If you’ve been exposed to a hazardous material spill that resulted or may result in injuries and health problems, the party that caused the accident may be liable for your injuries.
Speak with a Truck Accident Attorney in Denver Today
An attorney can help you to prove the negligence of the person responsible for your injuries to help you recover compensation that you deserve. At the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, we can help you file a claim and pursue damages in Denver. Call us now at 303-300-5060.