Accidents involving dangerous chemicals cause numerous injuries as well as significant property damage each year. Hazardous material spills can occur while the materials are in transit, whether it be from a truck accident, train derailment, or ship accident, or from accidents in factories, such as explosions or unintentional spills. Spilled hazardous materials from overturned tanker trucks or factory explosions may cause not only severe injuries to anyone involved in the accident, but they also pose a severe risk of environmental and property damage to the surrounding area. Some of the more famous instances of large-scale damage resulting from the spilling of chemicals include the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989, in which 11 million gallons of crude oil spilled into Prince William Sound causing extensive environmental damage. In a recent incident in China an industrial explosion caused the release of approximately 100 tons of benzene compounds into the Songhua river, prompting the shut down of the municipal water system.
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Hazardous Spills and Truck Accidents
Not all hazardous material spills are as large-scale as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, however even the smaller scale incidents can cause significant damage. Tanker trucks on the road are frequently used to ship hazardous materials including oil, gasoline, and various harmful chemicals. Hazardous waste that has been spilled on the road after an accident, poses a risk to other drivers and passengers, as well as pedestrians and any residents that live near the scene of the spill. For example, recently in Linden, New Jersey, an 8,500-gallon tanker truck carrying gasoline overturned onto its passenger side spilling approximately 2,000 gallons of gasoline into the street and down into the storm sewer system. The gas spill prompted the immediate evacuation of roughly 100 local residents in the surrounding five-block area, due to the presence of flammable vapors spreading throughout the neighborhood. The dangerous gas fumes in the area may have been the cause of a fire in a house near the accident. The home was burned and rendered uninhabitable by the fire. Many of the residents were forced to spend the night in shelters or with family outside of the affected area. As the gasoline was cleaned up, the residents were not permitted to re-enter their homes until the fire department was able to test each home for remaining gas fumes.
Questions and Consultation
If you or a family member has suffered personal injury or property damage as a result of a hazardous materials spill, please fill out the free case evaluation form and a member of Seeger Weiss LLP’s experienced staff will call you to discuss your potential rights concerning your personal injury or property damage. Attorney consultations incur no obligation on your part and all initial consultations are free of charge and do not create an attorney-client relationship.