Highway accidents can range from minor fender-benders, to multiple car pile-ups. As any San Jose car accident lawyer knows, the danger increased significantly when a big rig carrying hazardous cargo is involved.
Recently, Highway 37 near San Jose was shut down when an 18 wheeler crashed into another truck. The impact caused the big rig to fly off of the highway, landing in a grassy area below the highway, where it caught fire. The driver of the big rig died in the hospital from his injuries. Authorities report that the big rig was carrying hazardous materials. After firefighters put out the fire, a hazmat team was called in to determine any environmental hazards from the fire.
Highway accidents involving commercial big rigs can be especially dangerous to drivers and others on the road. Not only are 18 wheelers and other commercial vehicles nearly 26 times heavier than a typical passenger vehicle when fully loaded, but the cargo can pose hazards all on its own. Cargo that is hazardous or flammable may cause injuries such as burns or respiratory injuries in the event of an accident.
A person who is injured in a highway accident involving a commercial truck may be able to recover damages, based on a negligence theory. If the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, then that party could be found negligent. The party liable could be the driver of the big rig, the trucking company or other third parties. When hazardous materials are being transported, the manufacturer or shipper of those materials may also be liable, depending on the circumstances of the injuries and the type of cargo. Damages that may be recovered include compensation for financial losses, or physical and emotional losses.
Source: ABClocal.go.com, "Hwy 37 in Vallejo reopens after fiery fatal crash," Terry McSweeney, Jan. 12, 2013
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