Dangers Posed by Hazardous Chemicals Spilled in Tractor-Trailer Accidents Throughout Georgia


January 07, 2011

Collisions involving tractor-trailers are among the most deadly of all motor vehicle accidents. The size and weight of a big-rig often results in complete demolition of a passenger vehicle. When a Georgia car crash involves a commercial truck, the risk of catastrophic injuries including head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones and fractures, paralysis, coma and even wrongful death are extremely high. The risks only increase when a tractor-trailer is transporting a hazardous or toxic substance.

A commercial trucking accident involving a big-rig transporting hazardous materials, which may include explosive or combustible materials, toxic chemicals and other biohazards, are governed by specific rules and regulations. Violations of these rules and regulations or a failure to comply with established industry standards often pose a basis for liability in a commercial trucking accident. If you are involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer containing hazardous materials, you should be aware that most trucking companies and their insurance companies have an army of attorneys, investigators and trucking accident experts at their disposal. A person who suffers serious injuries in a collision with a commercial truck carrying hazardous materials should have a leading Georgia trucking accident attorney who is experienced in trucking industry rules, regulations and industry standards.

Federal regulations define hazardous materials in this context as "a substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has been designated as hazardous under Section 5103 of Federal hazardous materials transportation law." Common examples of what constitutes a hazardous material include explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons, and radioactive materials. Although trucking accidents always pose an extremely high risk of causing catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, a truck transporting hazardous substances increases that risk and adds the risk of chemical burns and exposure to radiation or toxic chemicals. If you are involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer, you should note whether the big-rig has a placard designating that it is carrying hazardous chemicals, which is mandatory.

Serious chemical burns can cause permanent disability, disfigurement and even result in wrongful death. Examples of some of the typical indicators of a severe chemical burn may include the following:

• A light-headed or dizzy feeling

• General fatigue or weakness

• Difficulty breathing

• Seizures

• Cardiac arrest

A severe chemical burn may require extensive medical treatment including pain management, skin graphs or other surgery and physical therapy. The most serious effects of some toxic substances are not immediately apparent. If you are involved in a Georgia trucking accident with a tractor-trailer transporting hazardous chemicals, you should seek immediate medical diagnosis and treatment and disclose all symptoms no matter how minor they seem at the time.

The entire community can be put in danger when a tractor-trailer carrying hazardous materials is involved in a serious crash. Toxic gasses, corrosive materials, biohazards, and radioactive materials can cause serious injuries including burns, lung damage, cancer and even death. If you are involved in a trucking accident with a commercial truck with a placard indicating it is carrying hazardous substances, you should immediately seek legal advice and obtain medical treatment. If you live in the immediate vicinity of such a tractor-trailer accident, you should also seek a medical evaluation to ensure that you have not been injured by exposure to a hazardous substance. Our experienced Georgia commercial trucking accident attorneys are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are located we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.