Hazardous Materials Spills
Tanker truck accidents involving the spill or leakage of hazardous materials can do devastating damage to a community’s environment and personal property. They can also grievously injure anyone who comes into contact with the contaminated material. The impact of a hazardous materials spill may also range far beyond those individuals injured in a collision with a tanker truck.
Hazmat spills are easily capable of displacing large blocks of communities for indefinite periods of time as experts work to mitigate the effects of a waste spill and ensure that residents are safe to return to their homes and businesses.
Companies that operate tanker trucks that transport hazardous materials should be held liable for any of the following when it results from the improper storage or transport of toxic cargo:
- Financial loss
- Property damage
- Physical injury
- Mental health issues
- Environmental impact
These damages can amount to millions. Although the trucking companies should be liable for these damages, taxpayers and private individuals often foot the bill. It’s important to work with a skilled attorney to make sure your rights are represented and you recover the compensation you deserve for your losses.
The Initial and Lasting Impacts of Hazardous Materials Spills
Transporting toxic chemicals, gasoline, or other hazardous cargo represents a significant risk to the environment and the safety of individuals who are exposed to these materials near a spill or leak. These are just some of the negative impacts that can occur from a tanker truck collision or spill/leak of hazardous materials.
- Environmental Impact — A serious hazmat spill can seriously impact the health of those in the immediate vicinity of a tanker truck accident. Toxic materials can also have an invasive effect on nearby streams, rivers, and lakes, and can even seep into the water tables before cleanup can be effectively begun. Impacts to the environment can also include long-term physical property damage, negative financial consequences, and a drop in the value of property in a community due to the perceived effects of pollution.
- Inhaled Contaminants — Vaporous materials such as gasoline fumes or toxic gasses travel easily through the air and risk injuring nearby residents who are exposed. Moreover, people may come into contact with hazardous gasses before they are alerted to the accident or evacuated. In the case of a gas like carbon monoxide, the results may even be fatal in large doses.
- Direct Contact to Toxic Chemicals — Direct skin and eye contact with chemicals, toxic materials, or radioactive substances can result in short-term damage, long-term injuries and ongoing health complications.
- Loss of Residence — Neighborhoods and communities can be destroyed outright or rendered uninhabitable while government agencies work to mitigate the effects of a spill of hazardous materials. Families displaced from their homes incur an unfair financial burden of paying for a temporary residence as well as maintaining their mortgage or rental payments each month. Residents permanently displaced by a hazmat incident may also be unable to replace their home with an equally comfortable domicile. It can take months or even years to fully clean up an area.
- Property Damage — In addition to the loss of their homes, families can lose property in fires that result from a tanker truck accident. Corrosive or radioactive materials can also render personal property to such a degree that it is damaged beyond saving.
Impact of Wet Line Ruptures and Gasoline Spills
Millions of gallons of gasoline are shipped via tanker trucks each year. Those tanker trucks have pipes on the sides and underneath the vehicle that are used to load fuel on and off the truck. Those lines are called “wet lines” or “loading lines.” Unfortunately, most gasoline tanker trucks do not clear those wet lines before transporting materials. As much as 30 to 50 gallons of gas can be stored in the wet lines.
Because wet lines are easily accessible from the outside of the tanker truck, motor vehicle accidents involving gas trucks are dangerous. A car can easily hit a wet line, rupturing the pipe and spilling gas into the environment and onto other motor vehicles.
A gasoline spill of 50 gallons can create a fire over an area of up to 5,000 square feet. Thus, the fuel contained in the wet lines of a gasoline tanker truck can cause a devastating fire with millions of dollars in damage. These crashes often result in fatal injuries to car drivers and others nearby.
Although legislation has been presented to Congress to force gasoline tanker trucks to clear the wet lines before transport, no law has been passed. Even the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has suggested that it is “unreasonable and illogical to allow the piping to be considered as an acceptable container for the transport of gasoline.”
Gasoline tanker truck accidents involving wet line ruptures can result in devastating injuries, fatalities, and millions of dollars in damage. It’s important to seek legal assistance if you or a loved one has been involved in a tanker truck accident. Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 for help with your case.
Damages Recoverable For Injuries and Property Damage Related to a Chicago Haz-Mat Spill
The damages incurred during a hazardous material spill can be serious. It is important to remember that multiple parties may be found responsible for the spill and that recovery may be impacted by many different factors. Some of the issues that may impact the monies levied for damages include:
- The cost of all medical care immediately following the accident as well as any care that is required in the future. Subsequent treatments may include physical therapy, intervention by mental health professionals, acupuncture, or treatment for a chronic condition.
- The value of any property lost due to a tanker truck accident. This could include a drop in property value, motor vehicle damage, and other personal belongings.
- Financial burdens levied on victims as a result of a tanker truck collision or hazmat spill. Victims may be unable to work, lose future income, incur costs due to the need to relocate temporarily or permanently, or suffer serious property damage.
An Experienced Attorney at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Will Fight For You
If you or a loved one have been involved in a semi-truck accident with a hazardous spill, it is in your best interest to reach out to a Chicago truck accident lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.. We can help you hold the negligent party accountable and pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.