Commercial trucks play a vital role in our economy, but these vehicles can wreak havoc on the roads. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 2,075 crashes involving tractor-trailers in which someone was injured in a recent year. In the same year, 106 fatal crashes occurred. Tanker trucks were involved in some of these crashes. These vehicles present unique dangers to other drivers on the road.
If you were injured by a tanker truck, the truck accident lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. are standing by to help. Since our founding more than 35 years ago, we’ve recovered more than $1.5 billion on behalf of our clients, including the largest personal injury verdict for an individual plaintiff in Illinois history. To schedule your free initial consultation, call us or visit our contact page.
What Is a Tanker Truck?
A tanker truck is a semi-truck that’s connected to a large tank used for hauling liquids and certain kinds of gases. Tanker trucks are easily identified by their cylindrical tanks and are often seen at places like gas stations. Depending on what the truck is hauling, these tanks can be insulated, pressurized, or vacuum sealed.
Are Tankers More Dangerous Than Other Commercial Trucks?
All large trucks are more dangerous than other kinds of vehicles. A passenger vehicle may run from 15-25 feet long and weigh 3,000-6,000 pounds. In comparison, a tractor-trailer is about 70 feet long and can weigh anywhere from 35,000-80,000 pounds, depending on the weight of the cargo being transported. This added size and weight means that tanker trucks collide with much greater force, leading to more severe injuries.
Tanker trucks also place drivers at additional risk because of what they carry. Tanker trucks sometimes haul corrosive, flammable cargo like gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, industrial chemicals, pesticides, and even radioactive materials. Due to this cargo, it is often much more difficult to handle tanker trucks than other kinds of trucks.
Furthermore, if the tank is punctured in a crash, the contents can spill all over the road, creating hazards for other motorists. In some cases, these materials can ignite or explode, leading to even greater injuries in fuel truck accidents.
How Can a Tanker Truck Accident Occur?
There are many ways in which a tanker truck accident can occur. Some of the most common causes include:
- The truck driver is distracted.
- The truck driver is driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- The truck driver is speeding.
- The truck driver is driving aggressively.
- The truck driver is fatigued.
- The truck driver is inexperienced or didn’t receive proper training.
- The truck’s cargo isn’t properly secured or is unbalanced.
- There’s a mechanical defect with the truck or some kind of equipment failure.
Injuries Resulting from a Tanker Truck Crash
The additional size and weight of tanker trucks mean that the injuries from accidents involving tanker trucks are often more severe. Some of the most common injuries from tanker crush crashes include:
- Severe bruises and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Injuries to ligaments, tendons, muscles, or internal organs
- Crushed or severed limbs
- Severe burns
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Government Regulations for Tanker Trucks
To cut down on the number of tanker truck drivers hauling cargo without sufficient experience, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires these drivers to get a specific endorsement on their commercial driver’s license. This endorsement is required in cases where:
- The cargo includes liquids or gases in containers with a capacity greater than 119 gallons.
- The total combined volume of cargo exceeds 1,000 gallons.
- The container or containers are loaded.
Additionally, the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) also requires drivers to get a Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) endorsement to transport certain kinds of cargo. There are also specific design requirements for tanker trucks to make sure there are no leaks and that the cargo can be transported safely.
Compensation in Your Tanker Truck Accident Claim
The injuries and financial losses from a tanker truck crash are often substantial. If you’ve been involved in a tanker accident, you could receive compensation for:
- The cost of your past and future medical bills
- The value of any lost wages as a result of your accident
- Your reduced capacity to earn a living, if your injuries resulted in a permanent disability
- The value of any property that was damaged or destroyed in the crash
- Your physical pain and suffering
- Your mental anguish and reduced quality of life
How Our Tanker Truck Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured in a tanker truck accident, you are likely in no condition to wage a major legal battle against a trucking company. A tanker truck accident lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you need while you focus on getting better.
Here are some of the ways our firm can help:
- Investigating your claim and identifying all potentially liable parties and sources of compensation
- Gathering evidence to support your claim
- Handling all your legal communication to ensure you don’t say anything that could jeopardize your claim
- Negotiating for the maximum possible settlement
- Preparing your case for trial if you do not receive a fair settlement offer
- Helping you find the right doctors and other specialists to help you get back on your feet
Our diverse team of top litigators have the skill to aggressively fight for the rights of our deserving clients. We will use our resources to help you pursue the compensation owed to you. You can arrange a free consultation with one of our tanker truck accident attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. by calling our firm or visiting our contact page.