Though any kind of truck crash can be devastating, tanker truck accidents involve unique factors that can make them especially dangerous. A tanker truck accident attorney can help you pursue fair compensation and justice if you sustained injuries due to negligence.
West Virginia is no stranger to tanker truck accidents. This is due in no small part to the fracking industry, which uses tanker trucks to supply wells with fresh water and carry away wastewater.
Colombo Law has unparalleled experience representing those who have been hurt by big trucks. We understand the distinct challenges of commercial vehicle accident claims, including those where a tanker truck is involved.
Learn how a knowledgeable tanker truck accident attorney can help with your case. Call Colombo Law at (304) 599-4229 today for a FREE case review.
What Kinds of Cargo Do Tanker Trucks Carry?
Most semi-trucks carry solid cargo. What makes tanker trucks different is the fact that the tanks are designed primarily to hold liquids and gases. A tanker truck may be used to haul any of the following:
- Natural gas
- Water for use in construction, fracking, etc.
- Diesel fuel
- Compressed gas
- Bulk liquids
- Industrial and agricultural waste
Some of the cargo transported via tanker trucks is stored in non- or low-pressure tanks. Other types of cargo must be moved in compressed or high-pressure tanks and tubes.
What Causes Tanker Truck Accidents?
Much of the cargo hauled by tanker trucks is inherently dangerous. Natural gas, oil, and different types of fuel are all flammable and combustible. Corrosive chemicals and substances are extremely hazardous to humans. But even seemingly innocuous cargo items—such as water, milk, grain, and more—can be dangerous when transported improperly.
Human error accounts for the majority of tanker truck accidents. While this is true of all truck crashes, tanker truck drivers must be prepared for issues that other commercial operators don’t typically encounter.
Sloshing of liquid cargo when the tank is partially filled can throw the truck off balance. The bigger and heavier the tank, the less stable the truck. Drivers who operate tanker trucks require additional training; a HAZMAT endorsement may also be required.
Unfortunately, training and certification aren’t always enough to counter poor decisions and negligent actions on the driver’s part. Driver errors that can lead to tanker truck accidents include:
- Improper turns and cornering
- Driving too fast
- Sudden and careless lane changes
- Following a vehicle too close
- Driver fatigue
- Not allowing enough time or room to stop
- Distracted driving
- Failure to inspect the truck and the tank before driving
Rollover and overturn accidents are the most common types of crashes involving tanker trucks. These incidents are often deadly, with approximately 80% of tanker truck accidents where multiple vehicles are involved resulting in one or more fatalities.
In addition to the negligence of the truck driver, it is important to account for errors or wrongdoing on the part of the company that operates the tanker truck. This may include:
- Forcing drivers to exceed the federal hours of service limits
- Negligent hiring and training practices
- Improper maintenance and repair of the truck
- Failure to supervise drivers
- Inadequate inspections of the truck
- Errors in loading liquid and gaseous cargo
Trucking accident claims are complicated because multiple defendants may be at fault. For example, one company may hire the driver, another may load the cargo, and a third may be responsible for maintenance and repairs. A tanker truck accident attorney can cut through this tangled web to identify all of the parties responsible for your injuries.
A truck-mounted tank must be designed to withstand the dynamics of liquids, compressed gases, or loose-fill materials. The construction of the tank is also crucial for ensuring that the cargo can be transported safely.
Unfortunately, mechanical defects are a major cause of accidents involving large trucks. Brake failures, tire blowouts, and other malfunctions can cause a tanker truck to crash. However, the consequences can be amplified if the tank fails, potentially resulting in fires, explosions, chemical spills, and more.
The manufacturers of truck components (including tanks) may be held liable if the failure of a part leads to a tanker truck accident or contributes to your injuries. A tanker truck accident attorney can inspect the rig to determine if a vehicle defect, negligent maintenance, or both was a factor.
Injuries in a Tanker Truck Accident
Motorists often sustain serious injuries in any kind of truck crash. However, tanker truck accidents present unique dangers:
- Burn injuries from fires and corrosive materials
- Explosion and blast injuries
- Loss of limbs; the force of an explosion or release of compressed gas may result in the traumatic amputation of a limb, or the damage from a burn or other injury may require medical amputation
- Damage to the airways
- Eye injuries from toxic chemicals and fumes
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
A tanker truck accident may also result in brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries commonly seen in 18-wheeler collisions. If you were injured through no fault of your own, it is important to consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact a Tanker Truck Accident Attorney Today
For more than 20 years, Colombo Law has been representing individuals and families who have been harmed by the negligence of others. We have earned a reputation as leaders in the field of truck accident litigation. In addition to obtaining millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements, our attorneys have exposed egregious acts of wrongdoing on the part of truck drivers, trucking companies, and others.
Tanker truck accidents are often catastrophic, injuring and even killing multiple victims. Our firm has the experience, knowledge, resources, and commitment to hold the defendants responsible to account.
For a FREE case review, contact Colombo Law today. Our tanker truck accident attorneys serve clients throughout West Virginia from our office in Morgantown.