Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials

Experienced Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers Based in Wheaton and Schaumburg

Trucks carrying hazardous materials must drive extremely carefully to minimize the risk of dangerous, even deadly accidents on the road. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers use the level of care that is needed behind the wheel. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident involving a truck carrying hazardous materials, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At Therman Law Offices, our Schaumburg and Wheaton truck accident lawyers have the skill and experience to handle your case.

Risks Posed by Trucks Carrying Hazardous Materials

According to the United States Department of Transportation, almost 3 billion tons of hazardous materials are transported in this country each year. The Federal Highway Administration defines hazardous materials as any material that has the potential to cause harm to a person’s health or the physical environment, such as gasoline, corrosive chemicals, and nuclear waste. Collisions involving trucks carrying hazardous materials are much more dangerous than collisions involving other types of large trucks because hazardous liquids, gases, or solids could spill out upon impact. In some cases, the crash could cause the cargo to ignite and explode. Another potential danger is the noxious fumes that can escape when the truck is compromised or broken during an accident.

Due to the potential for catastrophic injuries, trucks that are transporting hazardous materials must get insurance that meets the standards set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as well as state laws. Hazardous materials can cause a number of injuries, including:

  • Thermal burn injuries;
  • Chemical burn injuries;
  • Infectious substances leading to diseases;
  • Poisoning; or
  • Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a collision with a truck transporting hazardous materials, you can likely sue the negligent truck driver. An injury attorney can establish a truck driver’s negligence by showing that the truck driver caused the accident and your resulting harm by failing to use reasonable care behind the wheel, such as by failing to check a blind spot or driving while excessively fatigued. Reasonable care refers to the level of care that a prudent truck driver would have used in the same situation. In addition, you may be able to hold the truck driver’s employer vicariously liable for the driver’s negligence as long as the accident took place in the course of employment. The trucking company may also be held directly liable for its own negligence if it failed to secure proper permits or engaged in practices such as negligent hiring, negligent training, or negligent supervision.

Just like every other type of personal injury claim, truck accident lawsuits must be filed in civil court within a certain timeframe, known as the statute of limitations. In Illinois, a plaintiff has two years for personal injury claims and five years for property damage claims. Failing to file within the legal deadline could mean losing your right to compensation altogether. Thus, it is vital to hire an attorney who will heed the applicable timelines in your case.

Victims of truck accidents can recover both economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, medical costs, vehicle repair or replacement, lost wages, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. There are no caps on the amount of compensation that a plaintiff can recover, although a plaintiff’s damages award can be reduced if it is shown that he or she contributed to the accident in some way.

Get Advice from a Knowledgeable Truck Crash Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg

If you were injured or someone in your family was killed in a crash involving a truck carrying hazardous materials, we can help. At Therman Law Offices, we understand how to navigate these complex cases. We can help you explore your options and vigorously advocate for you at every step of the way. We proudly serve people in the areas around Wheaton, Schaumburg, Addison, Elmhurst, West Chicago, Lemont, Westmont, Oakbrook, Terrace, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, and Lisle. To discuss your case in more detail with an attorney, call 312-588-1900 or reach us online.

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