Hazardous material spills can result in devastating damage to the environment and personal property while also causing harm to anyone who comes in contact with the materials or objects and settings that have been contaminated. In addition to the financial and material impact that these spills have, they are capable of displacing entire neighborhoods for indefinite periods of time as efforts ensue to repair the damage and ensure that residents may safely return. Companies charged with the transport of materials that are deemed hazardous to people or the environment are liable for any financial loss or physical injury that results from the improper handling of toxic cargo and spills that result from an accident.
Types of Damage Caused by a Hazardous Material Spill
The type of cargo that is being transported could impact the environment and safety of people near a spill or leak in different ways depending on the severity of the spill and the properties of the substance dumped into the environment. The following concerns must be addressed once a hazardous material has been spilled.
- Environmental Impact— The impact to the environment is not merely a green concern but impacts the health of those near the accident. Toxic materials can invade nearby streams, rivers, and lakes and make their way into water tables long before cleanup efforts are initiated. Impacts to the environment could cause physical property damage or financial loss if the value of the property is diminished as a result of pollution.
- Inhalation of Contaminants— Materials such as gasoline, oil, ethanol and other chemicals are easily disbursed through the air and can injure nearby residents when inhaled. Many people come in contact with hazardous vapors before they are alerted to the disaster or evacuated.
- Direct Exposure to Hazardous Materials— Direct contact with chemicals, radioactive material, and other toxic contaminants can result in immediate or long-term injuries and health complications.
- Loss of Residence— Whether temporary or permanent, residences may be destroyed or rendered uninhabitable while cleanup efforts are underway. Families who are displaced from their homes are forced to incur the financial burden of paying for a temporary residence while waiting to return home. If their homes have been destroyed or devalued due to the spill, they may be unable to purchase a home elsewhere that is comparable to the one that they lost.
- Property Damage— In addition to the loss of residence, families may lose property in fires that result from the spill of flammable materials that catch fire or when corrosive materials come in contact with personal property.
Damages Recoverable Through Litigation For Injuries and Property Damage Related to a Chicago HazMat Spill
If you have been injured or suffered loss following a hazardous material spill from a truck, it is essential to know exactly what types of damages you may be able to recover from the parties responsible for the spill. When determining the value of a lawsuit, the following factors are taken into account.
- The cost of medical care immediately following the accident and any care that is required in the future, such as physical therapy or the treatment of a chronic or permanent condition.
- The value of any lost property, including the depreciation in value of your home.
- Financial burdens carried by victims as a result of the accident including the cost to move, wages lost due to being unable to work and the loss of potential income if the spill destroyed land used as part of your livelihood.
Contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today for more information about your rights and the legal options that are available to you when dealing with hazardous material accidents. We have the experience and resources that you will need not only to recover the compensation you are entitled to receive but to take the first steps on a path to physical, mental and financial recovery from the injuries and hardships you have endured. We will be happy to arrange a free consultation with you so that we can go over the details of your case in person and let you know exactly what you can expect throughout the process of litigation.
If we are unable to collect compensation on your behalf, you will not owe us a thing for our services or our time.