Trucks Containing Hazardous Materials
Commercial tractor-trailers routinely haul lethal and hazardous materials like gas and toxic chemicals through Southern California. If these tractor-trailers crash, chemical spills or explosions that cause devastating harm to many people are possible. Truck accidents on their own can be tragic, but when trucks are carrying hazardous cargo, the number of potential victims multiplies exponentially. Trucks containing hazardous materials need to be operated carefully and follow numerous federal and state rules. If you are injured in a collision in Southern California, consult the experienced Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at Sharifi Firm for representation in pursuing damages.Injuries Caused by Trucks Containing Hazardous Materials
In some cases, truck accidents are caused by a driver's negligence. To establish a truck driver's negligence, you will need to prove four elements by a preponderance of the evidence: the truck driver's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. For example, if a driver hauling hazardous materials speeds and then crashes into a line of cars that has unexpectedly stopped, the speeding is likely a breach of duty that caused an accident.
However, when hazardous materials are involved, there may be a number of other parties that may also deserve to be held accountable. This is important because in a crash involving hazardous materials, particularly those involving toxic spills or explosions, there may be many victims. The truck driver's policy is limited in terms of coverage. There may not be enough insurance money to cover the damages of all the victims.
Other parties that may have liability include the truck driver's employer, the shipping company that loaded the cargo, any maintenance company that failed to properly maintain the truck, the truck parts manufacturer if a part on the truck was defective and caused the accident, or in some cases manufacturers of hazardous materials that failed to package these materials safely or failed to provide adequate warnings about their transportation.
An employer can potentially be held indirectly liable when a truck driver's negligent actions or omissions are in the course and scope of employment. This means that the employer's liability is based on the driver's liability.
Moreover, an employer may also be held directly liable for its own negligence. A trucking company is supposed to train its drivers before allowing them to operate these vehicles. This includes training in how to drive when hauling hazardous materials. A failure to properly train a driver who is carrying dangerous cargo is likely to be considered negligence by a jury.
The employer should also make sure that drivers sent into interstate commerce comply with the rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in connection with hauling hazardous cargo. For example, under § 397.5 of the FMCSA regulations, a motor vehicle that contains certain types of explosive materials must be attended at all times by a driver or a qualified representative of the motor carrier operating it, except when certain conditions exist.Contact a Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles or Beyond
At Sharifi Firm, APC, our Los Angeles lawyers can help you seek compensation if you are injured because of the negligence of parties operating or servicing trucks containing hazardous materials. Let us put our experience, skill, and strong reputation to work for you. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form for a free consultation. Our motor vehicle collision attorneys also represent people in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Riverside, and other Southern California cities.