Tanker Truck Accident Lawsuits
Personal Injury Lawyers - Representing People Nationwide
Tanker trucks transport much needed bulk items such as petroleum products, chemicals, beverages, sugar solutions, dry flour, paints, plastic pellets, cement and radioactive materials. Tanker trucks vary greatly in size and purpose. Some are equipped to carry “tanktainers” allowing for intermodal transport. A tanktainer holds the tank within a frame so that a tank can quickly be moved from a ship to a railcar and onto a tanker truck, for example.
Without tanker trucks, retail gasoline service stations would not be able to efficiently provide us with the gasoline our automobiles need to operate. It is not difficult to argue that our entire economy essentially requires tanker trucks to operate efficiently.
But tanker truck accidents also pose grave dangers on our roads and highways. They are much more difficult to control than passenger cars and require much greater distances to stop. Tanker trucks are substantially heavier than passenger cars, and their air brake systems take longer to activate than those of passenger vehicles, which use mechanical/hydraulic brake systems.
The added weight of their cargo compounds these dangers, especially if the cargo is liquid and the hold is not baffled. Adding further to the potential of a catastrophic disaster is the fact that over 70 percent of tanker trucks are laden with hazardous materials that can be released if the tanks are ruptured in an accident.
Another possible danger is that of “wetlines”. Wetlines are piping beneath a cargo tank that is used for loading of gasoline and other petroleum products. They reduce the frequency that loaders have to climb on top of the tanks, resulting in fewer injuries from slips and falls. They are also designed to break off when struck by an object or another vehicle so that the entire container they are attached to is not compromised.
But wetlines themselves may contain 30-50 gallons of flammable liquid that could be released when struck. 50 gallons of gasoline can rapidly ignite a fire over an area of up to 5,000 square feet! Fires from tanker truck accidents can result in severe burn injuries and death – often resulting in lawsuits.
Because of the potential hazards tanker trucks pose on our highways, these vehicles must be built, tested and maintained according to strict specifications outlined by the Department of Transportation's Research & Special Programs Administration. Drivers and mechanics, along with safety specialists must be trained in compliance with hazmat training regulations.
But despite these preventative measures, in 2006, nearly 17,000 hazardous material and over 120 hazardous waste incidents on our highways were reported to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Hazardous Materials Information System. 377 of these incidents were considered “serious”. Dozens more went unreported, but at least 125 fatalities are attributed to serious hazardous material incidents on our highways over the last ten years.
If you or a loved one is a victim of a tanker truck accident, or if you have been injured as the result of hazardous materials that were released, it may be in your best to seek an attorney who specializes in tanker truck accident lawsuits. Contact our truck accident lawyers so we can help you find an experienced tanker truck accident attorney near you with the proper expertise and resources to improve your chances of winning or favorably settling your claim.