Tanker Truck Accidents

Only those involved in a tanker truck accident can truly understand just how devastating they are. Even though people don’t often think about these types of accidents, they are very real. Tanker trucks are often smaller than many semi trucks, but this paints a false picture of their relative safety. In actuality, tanker trucks have the potential to pose an even greater risk to drivers in the event of an accident. Unlike semi trucks or 18-wheelers, they often carry very hazardous materials in their tanks. These materials are often highly flammable or extremely toxic. Negligence on the part of the driver is incredibly dangerous and wrecks are often devastating. In cases involving toxic spills, nearby homes or workplaces are also sometimes at risk. When these accidents happen, you need a tanker truck accident attorney on your side as soon as possible.

For the best results in your personal injury case, you need a Shreveport tanker truck accident attorney like Joseph Greenwald. At Greenwald Law Firm, we handle catastrophic personal injury cases on a regular basis, so we’re better equipped than others to handle yours. To schedule your consultation with a qualified tanker truck accident attorney, call our office at 318-219-7867 today 

Tanker Truck Accident FAQs

How Frequent are Tanker Truck Accidents?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that of all recorded truck accidents, tanker trucks account for 5-10% of them. These accidents generally involve deaths, injuries, and/or property damage. But exactly how many tanker truck accidents are we talking about here? With 9,610 reported cases of these accidents, 372 resulted in at least one death and 3,505 resulted in personal injury. The remaining 5,733 have no deaths or injuries reported. However, this does not mean that no injuries occurred. It only means that nobody reported an injury.

What Makes Tanker Truck Accidents So Dangerous?

Tanker trucks are about as dangerous as other large trucks, but with the added danger of whatever cargo they are carrying. In many cases, tanker trucks carry very large amounts of flammable or toxic cargo. Those substances, plus the size and weight of the truck, equal a deadly crash. Below, we outline more specific factors that contribute to tanker truck accidents and what makes them so dangerous.

  • Weight: Because of their extreme weight when pulling cargo, they take much longer to stop than the average passenger vehicle. Additionally, that weight makes for a very high potential for destruction.
  • Blind Spots: Like many large trucks, tanker trucks have massive blind spots. There are many places on the road where these trucks cannot see you. For this reason, many accidents happen as a result of blind spots.
  • Instability: Because of their cargo, tanker trucks are very top heavy. When making sharp turns, truckers risk tipping over and causing spills and accidents.
  • Hazardous Cargo: Certain types of cargo that these truckers carry are extremely dangerous. Whether they’re flammable, toxic, or just simply dangerous, they pose a real threat to other drivers on the road.

What Types of Hazardous Materials Do Tanker Trucks Carry?

While not all tanker trucks carry materials that are hazardous on their own, many of them do. Some may carry substances as simple as milk, which is obviously not very dangerous on its own. (Unless you’re allergic to dairy, that is.) However, in large quantities and when spilled onto the road, it has the potential to become deadly. Below, we’ll list some of the more hazardous materials that tanker trucks often carry.

  • Gasoline
  • Diesel fuel
  • Industrial chemicals
  • Ethanol
  • Agricultural pesticides
  • Petroleum-based products
  • Radioactive materials

What Causes Tanker Truck Accidents?

Driver mistakes or unsafe road conditions often contribute to tanker truck accidents. In the case of driver negligence or error, you’ll need a tanker truck accident attorney in Louisiana on your side. The Greenwald Law Firm handles countless Shreveport trucking accident cases every year, so we’re no stranger to how to litigate them. Below, we list some of the common causes of tanker truck accidents.

  • Truck drivers are human beings who are susceptible to mistakes and fatigue. However, sometimes truck drivers engage in negligent driving practices such as drunk driving or distracted driving (i.e., mobile phone use).
  • In other cases, road conditions are more dangerous than normal. Heavy winds and rain cause accidents with regular passenger vehicles, so bad weather is an even bigger risk for heavyweight trucks. 
  • If the trucker or the trucker’s company fails to properly maintain such a dangerous vehicle, they open the door for catastrophe. Even a parts manufacturer might be held liable for an accident if they produced a faulty part.
  • Often, other entities outside of the trucking company actually load the cargo. If they improperly fill or overload the tank, this could very well lead to an accident. Tanker trucks also have a higher risk of rollover accidents if the tanks are underfilled. In this case, the company that loaded the cargo may be liable.

    Who is Responsible for Tanker Truck Accidents?

    As with other types of commercial trucking accidents, many potentially liable parties exist. Below, we list a wide range of individuals or groups who could realistically be at fault for the accident.

    Trucking company: Trucking companies have a legal responsibility to their drivers. If they violate that responsibility, they may be held liable for any accidents caused by their violation. The trucking company must ensure that their trucks receive proper maintenance. By aiming to increase profits, companies may delay routine maintenance of the vehicles in their fleet and will likely share liability for damages if an accident happens during this time. Companies might expect or pressure their employees into exceeding their legally-allowed driving hours. If a trucker abides by the requests of their company, experiences fatigue, and causes an accident, the company is liable. Additionally, if the company forces drivers to operate in unsafe conditions, they are liable for any accidents that may occur.

    Manufacturers: Truck manufacturers have a duty to provide safe products and materials. If tanker trucks have defective parts that lead to accidents, the manufacturer may be at fault. 

    Mechanics: The most important task of any trucking company, including tanker companies, is regular maintenance. Some have in-house mechanics who are responsible for repairs and routine upkeep, while others outsource those tasks to trusted professionals. If mechanical failures result in an accident, the mechanic might be at fault. This may be that they:

    • Certified a truck as road-worthy, but did not finish the repairs.
    • Failed to disclose or catch an issue that they reasonably should have known about.

    What to Do After a Tanker Truck Accident?

    Knowing what to do after a tanker truck accident is crucial. Not only will following specific steps help your case in court, but it will also keep you safe. Below, we outline our recommended steps to take immediately after an accident.

    • Listen to the trucker. If a trucker warns you about the danger of their cargo, listen closely. They know exactly how dangerous the material is. If they warn you to get to a safe location, do so as quickly as possible.
    • Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel injured at first, there is always a chance that you simply don’t feel it yet. The sooner you get to a doctor, the sooner we can establish a link between the accident and your injuries.
    • Document the scene. Take as many photos and videos as you can of both the crash scene and your injuries. Write down notable details as soon as possible. Memory fades with time, so the sooner you document the details, the better.
    • Contact law enforcement. Call the police and report the accident. They will come out and document the scene as well. Get a copy of the police report to give to your tanker truck accident attorney. This will seriously benefit your case.
    • Call your tanker truck accident attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney like Joseph Greenwald can represent you better than any run-of-the-mill personal injury attorney. With his legal guidance and assistance, he’ll put you in the best position for a favorable outcome.

    How Can a Tanker Truck Accident Attorney Help?

    At the Greenwald Law Firm in Shreveport, we prioritize those who suffered injuries at the hands of negligent individuals. We don’t just want to earn a paycheck. We genuinely care about the outcome of your case, and we’ll do everything in our power to fight for your fair compensation. If you or someone you know seeks compensation for their injuries and needs a tanker truck accident attorney, call Joseph Greenwald today. Schedule a consultation by calling 318-219-7867 or filling out our intake form.

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