It sounds like the set-up for a mass tragedy: in the early hours of the morning, a semi trailer carrying flammable material overturns in a small Pennsylvania town, falling against a building and forcing hundreds of residents to flee from their homes. Amazingly, there were no injuries reported after such an accident occurred about 200 miles from Pottsville.

State environmental protection officials say the crash happened around 4:30 a.m. late last month when a truck carrying butane was making a right turn from Route 6 in the small town of Kane in McKean County. The truck overturned, forcing officials to evacuate about 250 households, or roughly 1,000 residents. Fortunately, state environmental officials were able to drain the butane before it caused any serious damage. No injuries were reported.

This incident serves to illustrate the potential dangers posed by truck accidents, which are often much more serious than other motor vehicle accidents. Commercial truck accidents can also lead to legal actions that are different from those that follow ordinary traffic accidents.

In some cases, injured persons can file suit against the trucking company instead of just the driver. It may be wise to look over the trucking company’s records to see if its schedule led to truck driver fatigue or other dangerous conditions. In addition, when a commercial truck is carrying hazardous materials, the shipper may sometimes be held legally responsible for injuries caused by the cargo.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in this recent truck accident. However, it is important to remember the dangers posed by semi trailer accidents. It is also important to remember that those who are injured may be compensated for their injuries and other damages through a lawsuit.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Evacuation ends for McKean residents after truck carrying butane crashes,” Aug. 29, 2012