Each day, trucks carry dangerous materials and chemicals across Florida and across the country. Companies and industries rely on trucks to carry fuel, fertilizers, insecticides, industrial cleaning solutions, and other toxic materials. When loaded correctly on a truck, these materials can be perfectly safe in transport. When a truck accident in Hollywood or South Florida causes a hazardous material spill, however, the effects can be devastating.
Unfortunately, truck accidents can happen in seconds, not giving you enough time to react quickly enough to prevent exposure. Toxic chemicals can ignite or blow up suddenly, causing significant burn risk. In some cases, dangerous cargo might not have any odor and may not cause a dramatic fire but can still expose you to fumes hazardous for your health. And even if you don’t drive, a hazardous material spill outside of your home or workplace can leave you with long-term health effects or even property damage.
Here’s what you can do when a truck accident causes a hazardous material spill:
1) If you’re in a car accident with a truck or passing by a truck involved in an accident, check the markings and information on the truck.
Trucks carrying hazardous or toxic materials are supposed to be clearly labeled as having flammable or toxic materials onboard. Never approach an accident scene involving potentially spilled hazardous material.
2) Call for emergency help at once.
If you are involved in an accident or see a collision involving a truck carrying dangerous materials, call emergency services and follow their instructions. Explain to the dispatcher why you think the accident may involve hazardous materials.
3) Follow instructions carefully.
Whether you call 9-1-1 or are given instructions by emergency personnel at the scene, follow directions carefully. If you are told to protect your breathing, cover your nose and mouth with a wet towel or piece of cloth. If you are told to stay indoors, lock all windows and doors and cover vents if instructed to do so. If you have to evacuate, close the windows of your car and your vents and drive carefully. Stay calm and follow directions to the best of your ability.
4) Get potential exposure checked out.
If there is any chance you have been exposed to a dangerous toxin, get a medical professional to evaluate your health. Even if you get a clean bill of health, keep an eye on your symptoms for a few days or weeks and return to your doctor if any new symptoms show up.
5) Use caution.
If you have been evacuated from your home or workplace because of a nearby hazardous materials spill, wait until authorities clear you for return before coming back. If a spill occurred near your home, consider having a professional evaluate your property for any risk of long-term exposure. If any food in your home or workplace was exposed at the time of the spill, you may need to dispose of it; ask authorities about the best way to proceed to reduce your risk of illness.
If you have been injured in a truck accident or have been exposed to a toxic material due to a truck accident in Hollywood, Homestead, or any South Florida community, contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation. Our attorneys would be pleased to offer you an honest and thorough evaluation of your situation and your legal options.