You always give larger vehicles a wide berth on the highway, and this is especially true when you see a tanker truck. You’re not sure if these vehicles are any more likely to be involved in truck accidents, but considering the damage they can do if the tank spills chemicals onto the road, it doesn’t seem worth the risk to share their lane. Are you worrying too much, or are you right to be wary of a truck hauling hazardous materials?
Common Types of Chemical Injuries Caused by Truck Accidents
Any truck that carries hazardous, toxic, or flammable materials poses a potential danger to the public. For this reason, truckers and trucking companies are held to higher legal standards than other commercial drivers if they are involved in an accident. If a truck overturns, suffers damage, or begins to leak on the roadway, the chemical exposure can cause serious injuries, including:
- Burns. Chemicals can cause burns whenever they come into contact with the skin. Any acidic or hazardous chemical, such as those carried in tanker trucks, can cause skin numbness, irritation, blistering, or blackened and dead skin. If the eyes are exposed, victims can suffer short-term or even permanent blindness.
- Breathing problems. Inhaling toxic fumes or smoke from chemicals that have caught fire can affect every bodily system, beginning with the eyes, nose, and throat. Victims may experience coughing or shortness of breath at the scene, only to experience long-lasting breathing difficulties, bodily weakness, asthma, and lost lung capacity.
- Toxicity. Depending on the length of and degree of exposure, victims can suffer debilitating physical and mental injuries. Headaches, sweating, stomach problems (such as vomiting and diarrhea) are often early symptoms, while long-term exposure can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures, irregular heartbeat and cardiac arrest. Some chemicals can affect the nervous system, leading to anxiety, loss of mental acuity, and irreversible brain damage.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Dangerous Chemical Exposure?
If you were exposed to toxic chemicals or smoke after an accident with a commercial vehicle, you may seek compensation from the trucking company as well as the shipper of the hazardous materials. In many cases, trucking companies fail to educate their drivers on the dangers of hauling toxic materials, or do not have the equipment to contain the chemicals properly.
In order to determine who is at fault, your attorney will have to investigate the accident scene and further details of your case. Contact us online or call us today at 816.471.5111 for your free consultation.