Semi-trucks transport just about anything and everything you can imagine across the country. From lumber and cars, to big-screen TVs and fresh fruit, big trucks move the goods we depend on from point A to point B every single day.
In most cases, it doesn’t matter what type of cargo a truck is carrying when it’s involved in a crash. A collision with a semi-truck loaded with fresh fruit will likely be handled the same as a collision with a semi-truck loaded with big-screen TVs, if they’re both involved in crashes where negligence was a factor.
However, there is one type of truck accident where injury claims, settlements, and potential jury trials can become more complex—those involving trucks carrying hazardous materials.
Here’s why that’s the case.
Hazmat Truck Accidents Can Result in More Damage and Worse Injuries
There are many types of hazardous materials that trucks are needed to transport. They range from explosives and flammable gases to dangerous chemicals and toxic or even radioactive substances. When these trucks are involved in accidents, victims are in danger twice over. First from the actual crash, and second from any release of those hazardous materials in the wreck.
For example, when a truck transporting gasoline crashes, there’s a chance the trailer may be damaged or punctured. If gasoline spills on the road or the victim’s vehicle, it can ignite. The fire may not only result in extensive damage to the victim’s vehicle, but it can cause them to suffer burns and smoke-inhalation injuries, both of which can be fatal.
The worse a victim’s vehicle is damaged and the more severe their injuries are, the more money they can seek and receive through a truck accident claim or lawsuit.
More Rules Mean More Potentially Negligent Parties
A unique aspect of semi-truck accidents compared to passenger vehicle accidents is that semi-truck accidents often have multiple liable parties. For example, truck drivers may exceed the speed limit while driving trucks with overloaded trailers. In these cases, both the drivers and the companies that loaded their trailers are negligent and may be held liable for any crashes.
Hazmat trucks are subject to more rules than the average semi-truck. They require drivers to receive more training and pass more tests than drivers with standard commercial driver’s licenses. They also require truck drivers to avoid certain roads, for truck companies to abide by stricter loading requirements, and for drivers to carry more documentation while on the road.
In some cases, the companies shipping hazardous materials don’t adequately inform the trucking companies or drivers of the nature of their products. They may do this to save money or to ship more products in a single trailer, but doing so is both illegal and extremely dangerous.
These increased requirements and increased level of scrutiny for hazmat trucks mean that there’s a greater chance that multiple parties are fully or partially liable for crashes—and that means victims may be able to file injury claims against each liable party. More claims mean more chances of getting compensation.
Hazmat Trucks Are Covered Under Big Insurance Policies
Standard semi-trucks are typically covered under much bigger insurance policies than passenger vehicles, and hazmat trucks are typically covered under much bigger insurance policies than standard semi-trucks. Hazmat trucks are often required to have policies of at least $1 million in coverage, and some may require a minimum of $5 million in liability coverage!
The bigger the insurance policy, the easier it often is to get maximum compensation after crashes. Big insurance policies also allow victims the opportunity to sue for every aspect of their damages, including current and future medical bills, current and future lost wages, and their full extent of pain and suffering.
We’re Here to Help After a Hazmat Truck Crash
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we’ve built many types of truck accident claims for our clients. Whether they were injured by semi-trucks, box trucks, vehicle carriers, lumber trucks, or hazmat trucks, we have the experience and legal knowledge to build winning claims for our clients.
If you or someone you love was hurt in a hazmat truck accident, it’s important to get an experienced Oklahoma truck accident lawyer on your side right away. These types of crashes often result in significant property damage and injuries, and victims like you are often eligible for big settlements. It’s our goal to get you the money you need for all of your accident-related expenses.
Contact us today for a free consultation.