Large and potentially dangerous tanker trucks use Illinois’ roads every day. Accidents can have catastrophic consequences for all involved since tanker trucks typically carry hazardous and toxic materials such as chemicals, liquid fuel, or gases. When these materials leak out during an accident, they can cause additional hazards for road users such as slippery roads, fires, or exposure to toxic chemicals.
Trucking companies that transport hazardous cargo have to abide by several rules and regulations ensuring the safety of the public as well as the environment. If you suffered serious injuries or a loved one died in an accident with a tanker truck, you could potentially recover compensation. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free case evaluation: (800) 223-5115. An Arlington Heights tanker truck accident lawyer is eager to be your legal advocate.
The Dangers of Tanker Trucks
A tanker can transport approximately 7,000 gallons of cargo. Not all tanker trucks carry hazardous materials. Some carry food items including milk, wine, and many others. However, tanker trucks frequently do carry dangerous cargo including:
- Pesticides and Herbicides
- Industrial chemicals
- Toxic gases
- Radioactive materials
While any accident with a large and powerful truck can have tragic consequences for all involved, a tanker truck is particularly dangerous and can pose additional dangers such as:
In a crash with a tanker truck, there is always a risk of cargo spillage. The hazardous cargo tanker trucks transport can cause additional injuries to those involved in the accident. Accident victims may suffer from chemical burns, disfigurement, and other serious medical problems from coming into contact with these hazardous materials.
Fires and Explosions
Tanker trucks carry dangerous and flammable materials such as fuels and chemicals. When a tanker carrying flammable materials is involved in a crash, fires are a real possibility. Fires can cause catastrophic burns to any party involved in the accident. There is also a danger of explosions with tankers carrying hazardous materials.
Liquids in a tanker truck can slosh around and cause rollover accidents with certain maneuvers. A rollover crash can be much more dramatic with a tanker truck than other vehicles as, in addition to accident damages, the tanker may also spill toxic cargo on those involved and into the immediate environment.
Proving Negligence in Tanker Truck Accidents
According to statistics posted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers are frequently responsible for truck accidents. Driver error can include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving fatigued
- Distracted driving
- Drivers lacking the required qualifications and training
- Driving recklessly such as speeding
- Truck defects
Since tanker trucks are typically used to haul dangerous materials, drivers have to fulfill special requirements. They need to have the usual truck driver qualifications as well as any special requirements for tanker trucks and the transport of hazardous cargo.
Drivers need special tanker endorsements as part of their qualifications. The endorsements require written exams and background checks. If a trucking company did ensure that a tanker truck driver had the necessary qualifications and training to drive the tanker, they could potentially be liable when an accident occurs.
A trucking company could also be held to account if:
They hire negligently
If a trucking company does not check a driver’s qualifications or their driving record before hiring them, they may be hiring negligently and could be liable for your damages.
They do not train drivers adequately
A driver may have the necessary qualifications to operate a tanker truck. However, if they are a new hire, they will most likely need other training. They may require company training, training on the specific type of truck they will be driving, and training with the cargo. If the company fails to provide training, they could be responsible.
They violate hours-of-service regulations
If a trucking company pressures drivers, encouraging them to skip rest periods or falsify their hours-of-service logbook, they could be held to account for your accident.
They fail to service and repair trucks promptly
The trucking company is generally responsible to ensure the roadworthiness of the vehicles within their fleet. If they did not fix or service their trucks, and a truck defect is responsible for the accident, they could be held to account for your damages
Truck accidents can be extremely complicated and convoluted. In fact, neither the driver nor the trucking company may be responsible for an accident. Occasionally, a third-party is negligent — for example, a mechanic servicing the vehicles. A truck manufacturer could also be responsible for an accident.
Since trying to establish responsibility can be so challenging, having an Arlington Heights tanker truck accident lawyer by your side can help immensely. Your lawyer knows the applicable regulations and laws and will work tirelessly to find the responsible party or parties, which can include:
- Scouring hours-of-service logbooks
- Investigating the trucking company comprehensively
- Analyzing traffic camera footage
- Looking at the truck’s black box data
Compensation in Tanker Truck Accidents
Every tanker truck accident is different and it can be impossible to generalize about the amounts of compensation you could receive in your case. However, if you suffered serious and permanent injuries, you could potentially recover damages such as:
- Lost income and future lost income
- All medical expenses relating to injuries from the accident
- Replacement or repair of your car and other property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of a limb or a sense
You could also receive other compensation. Your Arlington Heights tanker truck accident lawyer can discuss the applicable damages with you in detail.
For a free legal consultation with a Tanker Truck Accidents Lawyer serving Arlington Heights, call (800) 223-5115
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Now for Help with Your Accident
We understand that it can feel intimidating to hold a trucking company or other negligent party to account, but you are not on your own. We can help you build your case and work on all aspects of proving your tanker truck accident case.
Do not leave your claim to chance and consult with an Arlington Heights tanker truck accident lawyer for help and advice today. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now for a free, no-obligation review of your case with one of our team members at (800) 223-5115.