A collision involving large trucks is a frightening occurrence for many reasons. There’s always the severity of the impact to consider, particularly when a truck collides with a smaller vehicle. And there’s also the danger posed by the cargo.
The cargo can come loose and cause additional injuries and collisions on the road. And in some cases, the cargo may be a hazardous substance that can have potentially more far-reaching effects on people’s health.
For example, a part of I-65 had to be closed for several hours recently after a tanker overturned. According to local news reports, thousands of gallons of Heptane, a highly flammable liquid, spilled out on the road. The accident is still under investigation, but thankfully the outcome was not as bad as it could have been with so much of this hazardous substance deposited on the road.
What kinds of hazardous materials might a truck transport?
Trucks can carry all sorts of hazardous materials, including substances that are highly flammable, radioactive, poisonous, explosive, or corrosive. The potential health consequences of exposure to these materials are also serious, with the full effects sometimes not appearing until months or years have passed.
The damage from these kinds of accidents can be extensive. The drivers and passengers in the vehicles involved may suffer death or severe non-fatal injuries simply from the substances themselves, and not only from the immediate impact of the collision. It may take rescue workers a longer time to get to people who need assistance. Beyond that, the effects of the accident could spread to the surrounding community; hazardous substances could travel in the air or sink into the groundwater, afflicting local residents.
How can negligence play a role in these accidents?
The damage from hazardous substances may result in part from negligence. For example, the truck may be carrying toxic materials in containers that are poorly constructed, falling apart too easily or containing leaks. The containers with the toxic substances may not be loaded or secured properly. Any valves or doors may be poorly maintained or closed improperly, leaving them weak and more vulnerable to breaking during a collision.
In addition to these potential problems, the accident may be caused by driver irresponsibility or lack of training. A fatigued, distracted or intoxicated truck driver may cause serious damage on the road, compounded by the materials in the truck.
In the aftermath of any such accident, don’t hesitate to contact experienced Indianapolis truck accident lawyers. Truck drivers, and the companies that employ them and task them with transporting hazardous materials, have a responsibility to public safety. Our truck accident lawyers can help make sure that you aren’t struggling unaided with serious medical problems and various expenses after a crash.