Trucks transport a wide variety of goods and products. Certain loads are especially prone to cause injuries in an accident. An example is cargo that includes hazardous substances. When someone else’s negligence causes the accident and injuries – like a trucker barreling down I-95 through Bensalem – the injured victim may be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the liable parties.
Types of Hazardous Truck Cargo That Could Cause Injuries
Even without the dangers of hazardous cargo, the physical harm suffered in a truck accident can be severe. However, there could be secondary injuries sustained as a result of hazardous cargo. For instance, if the material is flammable and there is an explosion or fire, a victim could suffer burns. Spillage or chemical fumes could lead to respiratory injuries.
Other types of hazardous cargo/material that could contribute to injuries in a trucking accident include:
- poisonous chemicals;
- radioactive material;
- infectious agents; and
Liability for a Trucking Accident Involving Hazardous Materials
Liability in a truck accident often extends beyond just a negligent truck driver who acted carelessly or recklessly on the road. It’s possible that more than one party is liable in a truck accident.
The trucking company also can be liable for a truck accident. An employer is generally accountable for its employees’ actions, so a negligent trucker may leave the trucking company liable for damages he or she causes. In some cases the company could be negligent, independent of the trucker. For instance, this may be the case if it allowed an incompetent or poorly trained driver to operate a semi or if the company required the driver to exceed the allowable amount of time behind the wheel in order to meet a deadline.
It also might be possible to hold the party responsible for loading the hazardous cargo liable. For instance, if the cargo wasn’t properly loaded, the party responsible might be liable if the cargo spills because of the improper loading. This may be the case if the party that loads the cargo doesn’t take the appropriate measures to secure it safely.
Keep in mind that the trucker and trucking company also bear some responsibility for ensuring the cargo is loaded safely. So if hazardous cargo wasn’t loaded correctly or wasn’t secured, the trucker and trucking company can be liable on this front as well.
Damages That May Address Injuries Sustained Due to Hazardous Material
When someone has been injured in a truck accident, it may be a long road to recovery. One example is when the hazardous cargo causes burn injuries. The medical costs associated with this — such as emergency services and emergency department treatment — could be addressed in a claim.
Hospitalization, skin graft procedures and even cosmetic surgery to reduce scarring are other types of costs that victims might face. When a chemical spill results in respiratory injuries, there could be other expenses to recover fully.
In addition to the medical expenses, lost earnings could be recoverable. For some victims, it may take several weeks or months to return to work. But for others, disabling injuries may prevent them from ever going back to work. In that case, the income the victim would have earned might be included in a claim.
When there has been permanent damage (such as nerve injuries, chronic pain or disfigurement), compensation could address those repercussions. It’s best to talk with an attorney to understand your rights when seriously injured in a truck accident. Talk to a lawyer with Cordisco & Saile LLC if you’re in the Bensalem area and trying to recover compensation after you or a loved one is involved in a serious truck accident. Call us at 215-642-2335 or use our online contact form.