Dealing with Hazardous Material (Hazmat) Truck Accident Claims in Michigan
Hazardous material vehicles can inflict immense damage when they get involved in truck accidents. These massive machines become even more dangerous when they carry tons of hazardous materials across the country. These transport vehicles are commonly referred to as hazmat trucks.
The main difference between a regular semi-truck and a hazmat truck are the goods that they load. This discrepancy can affect how you make a claim if you are injured by either type of vehicle.
What is a Hazmat Truck?
A hazmat truck is a semi-truck, tractor-trailer, or tanker that hauls hazardous materials across vast distances. Drivers of hazmat trucks are required to secure a hazardous material endorsement in addition to their trucking license. This endorsement certifies that the driver has been properly trained in transporting dangerous materials. Hazmat truck drivers also go through security checks to minimize risks.
Hazmat trucks are only allowed to travel at certain times of the day. They can only travel on certain roads to avoid proximity to population centers. These restrictions are in place to minimize the possibility of serious accidents in highly congested areas.
Materials That Hazmat Trucks Are allowed to Carry
Hazmat trucks carry chemicals and materials that fall into one of nine hazardous material classifications.
- Class 1 – Explosives
These are materials that can trigger an explosion or materials with a projection hazard, blasting agent, or detonating device.
- Class 2 – Gas
Hazmat trucks may carry flammable gas, non-flammable compressed gas, and toxic gas.
- Class 3 – Flammable liquid
These include diesel fuel, gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, ethanol, and many others.
- Class 4 – Flammable solid and spontaneously combustible material
These include matches, sulfur, activated charcoal, aluminum powder, and magnesium.
- Class 5 – Oxidizers and organic peroxides
Oxidizers are chemical compounds that spark or enhance the combustion of other materials. Certain organic peroxides can start an explosion too.
- Class 6 – Toxic materials and infectious substances
These include poisons and biological materials.
- Class 7 – Radioactive materials
Federal law requires special handling and management of any material that is considered radioactive.
- Class 8 – Corrosive materials
This category includes acids as well as bases that burn or corrode.
- Class 9 – Miscellaneous dangerous goods
Any dangerous substance that does not fall in any of the eight classes may be designated as a Class 9 hazard. Lithium batteries and dry ice are considered Class 9 materials.
The Dangers of Transporting Hazardous Materials
Getting hit by a piece of rubber or plastic has far fewer consequences than inhaling toxic gas or coming into contact with flammable liquid. Many of the chemicals that are transported by hazmat trucks can spread very quickly when spilled or released into the air – significantly increasing the scope of harm during an accident.
Hazardous materials can cause all kinds of injuries that go far beyond the common injuries from a car crash. When oil and gas leak from a tanker, they can easily spread to other vehicles and start a fire. This puts not only cars in danger but surrounding property and pedestrians as well.
Hazmat Truck Accident Claims
Hazmat truck accidents can result in severe damages. Thousands of dollars in medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capability, and permanent disability can cripple your finances. Add to that the trauma, anguish, and pain you have to go through during recovery. If you have a lawyer to help you make a hazmat truck accident claim, you could seek compensation for damages if you can prove negligence on the part of the driver and the trucking company.
Financial compensation has two main categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses for all treatment and therapy related to the injury
- Medical mileage for travel to medical appointments
- Loss of income if you are unable to return to work after the injury
- Attendant care if you require nursing care
- Replacement services if you need help with household chores
- Home and vehicle modifications if you need to modify your car or home to accommodate a disabling injury
Non-economic damages are meant to pay the injured victim for intangible losses such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
In a no-fault state like Michigan, your own insurance company is responsible for paying first-party benefits, and you will have to sue the trucking company for third-party benefits.
If a victim does not survive, the family of the deceased could file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation. Here at The Clark Law Office, we have expert attorneys who specialize in handling cases involving hazmat truck accidents. We can help you gather evidence, navigate the legal process, and claim both economic and non-economic damages.
The Clark Law Office has won multiple $300,000+ truck accident claims, and our personal injury attorneys are highly knowledgeable of Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations. Call today for a free consult.