Hazardous Material Truck Accidents are Different from Other Truck Collisions in Florida
At the Law Offices of Keith Bregoff, our experienced truck accident attorney in Vero Beach often explains to our clients how commercial vehicle crashes, especially those that involve semi-trucks, are different from passenger vehicle accidents, as the laws and regulations that apply to the trucking industry are unique from those that apply to everyday motorists.
These distinctions become even more complicated when the collision involves a truck carrying hazardous material, as each of the classes and substances is defined under federal regulations.
When Florida residents are involved in collisions with these dangerous vehicles, our Indian River County personal injury attorney can help identify what caused the collision, and who is ultimately liable for our client’s financial recovery requirements.
What are the Different Hazardous Material Classes?
Hazardous materials are those that pose an unreasonable risk to safety, property, and health during transport. Generally, the more dangerous the material, the higher the safety precautions are taken in packaging and transporting.
The nine classes of hazardous materials for truck regulation purposes include:
- Explosives: Class 1
- Gases: Class 2
- Flammable Liquid: Class 3
- Flammable Solids: Class 4
- Oxidizing Substances and Peroxides: Class 5
- Poisonous and Infectious Substances: Class 6
- Radioactive Material: Class 7
- Corrosives: Class 8
- Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods: Class 9
Trucking companies that transport hazardous materials must follow stringent safety regulations that apply to each class, so it is appropriately identified, handled, and reported with the proper safety information.
Likewise, the truck driver must undergo specific hazardous material transport training certification before he or she can safely transport the dangerous material to ensure it is handled and protected properly.
When these hazardous material vehicles are involved in a collision, the truck’s driver will play an integral role in handling any potentially hazardous circumstances that result from the crash. Later, these cases will require an experienced hazardous materials attorney who can uncover the violations that led to the collision and hold the proper party or combined parties liable for our client’s damages.
Why are Accidents with Hazardous Material Trucks So Dangerous?
Hazardous material haulers are not just trained to precisely operate their vehicles, but to respond properly in case an accident occurs.
Transporting hazardous materials adds an extra element of danger during a tractor-trailer crash for multiple reasons.
First, if the truck is carrying liquid, it can spill onto the roadway and cause multiple collisions.
Next, if the truck is carrying flammable liquid or gas, it can cause a dangerous explosion, jeopardizing lives without notice.
Finally, if the truck is carrying hazardous chemicals, exposure to the fumes can cause significant illnesses, injuries, or even death.
One of the first things our skilled Vero Beach truck accident lawyer will do upon taking a case involving hazardous materials is undergoing an intense discovery where we will uncover exactly who is responsible for the collision occurring, which could include negligence from the truck driver, trucking company, a third-party, or a combination of each.
We will then pursue the liable party or parties’ insurance coverage for our client’s complete financial recovery needs. The exact amount of minimum liability coverage required under federal regulations depends upon the carrier and the cargos but typically falls between one and five million dollars.
If you have been hurt in a collision with a hazardous material truck, contact our experienced Vero Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Keith Bregoff today by calling (772) 492-8967 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about our experience and how we can help you pursue the best outcome for your unique crash and injury needs.