Tanker truck accidents can be terrifying for all road users involved. A large and heavy tanker truck can cause a great deal of property damage, horrific injuries, and fatalities in accidents. Tanker trucks can transport hazardous and toxic cargo with potentially severe consequences in accidents, particularly if their load spills onto the road.
Flammable materials spilling out during an accident can result in fires and explosions at the accident scene, causing accident victims to suffer severe burns and disfigurement. If a tanker truck was hauling toxic chemicals and dangerous gases, for example, any individuals involved in an accident could suffer the life-threatening effects of inhaling toxic substances.
Tanker truck accidents, according to the Transportation Research Board (TRB), are often caused by driver error. If you or a loved one got seriously hurt in an accident with a tanker truck in Clearwater that was not your fault, you may want to contact a Clearwater truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to assess your legal options and next best steps. You may be able to recover compensation for your injuries, property damage, and other financial losses.
Injuries in Tanker Truck Accidents
Getting into an accident with a large tanker truck is more likely to cause severe injuries and fatalities than having an accident with another car. Unfortunately, car occupants are at a greater risk of suffering from injuries and fatalities than truck drivers, who are relatively protected in their cabs. Heavy trucks caused 39 fatalities and hundreds of incapacitating and non-incapacitating injuries in 2018 alone, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lists the following reasons for driver-related truck accidents:
- Speeding (driving above the posted speed limit)
- Distracted driving
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Losing control of the vehicle due to a medical event
- Driving while intoxicated
- Following too closely
- Driving too fast for adverse road and/or weather conditions
- Careless driving in general
If you or a loved one is recovering from a serious and debilitating truck accident injury, you could seek compensation from the truck driver, trucking company, or other responsible parties in your accident.
Liability in Clearwater Tanker Truck Accidents
Liability and negligence can be tough to prove in tanker truck accidents. It is not always the driver who is responsible. In some cases, another party may be partly or wholly to blame for an accident. A third party, such as a vendor or a truck manufacturer, may have been negligent. A Clearwater tanker truck accident lawyer can help identify all liable parties and avenues for pursuing compensation.
In general, a trucking company is responsible for the overall management of a trucking operation, including its drivers. The company needs to ensure that its tanker trucks are always roadworthy and adhere to state and federal regulations.
A company could be negligent in your case in the following ways:
Negligent Hiring Practices
When a trucking company fails to check a driver’s qualifications or background and driving record, the company may be partly responsible for an accident. Tanker truck drivers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and certain endorsements to transport hazardous cargo. The company must ensure drivers are adequately qualified for driving the truck as well as the specific cargo they carry.
Substandard Servicing and Maintenance of Trucks
Trucking companies may attempt to cut corners when it comes to servicing and maintaining trucks regularly and replacing certain parts. If the company failed to adhere to regulations regarding the servicing of its trucks or did not fix any problems with a vehicle promptly, it could be responsible for your accident and damages.
Violating Hours-of-Service Regulations
Drivers and companies have to adhere to certain hours-of-service regulations mandated by the FMCSA. If a company or driver violated these regulations, the company could be negligent. The falsifying of any out-of-service records is illegal. A company that pressures drivers into unrealistic driving schedules could be held negligent in a lawsuit.
Establishing negligence and responsibility in an accident with a tanker truck typically requires extensive research, legal expertise, and technical knowledge. Determining all liable parties can be a time-consuming and challenging task. A lawyer may have to examine a trucking company’s records, review traffic camera footage, and consult with expert witnesses to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the accident.
Going it alone can be stressful and overwhelming for accident victims. It can be helpful to work with a tanker truck accident lawyer who knows the applicable regulations and laws and understands the legal process.
Damages in Tanker Truck Accidents
Getting into an accident with a tanker truck and its dangerous cargo can cause permanent injuries, changing an accident victim’s life. While car occupants may suffer from typical accident injuries, such as fractures, head injuries, and back injuries, they may also suffer severe burns and lung damage, among other severe injuries. Inhaling toxic fumes or coming into contact with toxic materials can adversely affect a traffic accident victim for many years to come.
If this has happened to you or a loved one, you may be able to recover compensation in a lawsuit. While no amount of money can give you back your health or bring back a loved one that may have died due to a tanker truck accident, compensation could help with financial hardship and recovery.
Examples of damages you could receive include:
- Hospitalization costs
- Lost income and future lost income
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of a limb or a sense
- Disability, disfigurement
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Funeral, burial costs
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guardianship and guidance for children
- Loss of a decedent’s income and benefits
Possible Injuries From Tanker Truck Accidents
Tanker trucks often carry fuel, gasoline, wine, beer, milk, water, toxic materials, and other highly flammable products. When an accident occurs, these trucks can erupt into flames and may cause an explosion. Victims of these accidents can suffer different injuries. In some cases, the accident can also be fatal.
Some of the injuries a victim can suffer after a tanker truck accident include:
- Severe burns
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Head injuries
- Crushed or severed limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Severe bruises and lacerations
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal injuries
- Smoke inhalation injuries
These injuries can result in prolonged hospitalization and cause long-term pain and suffering. Also, the injuries are very expensive to treat. Filing a claim against the liable party can help you recover the bills and expenses you incur.
Why Hire a Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer?
Tanker truck accidents can involve several liable parties and laws. This makes them very challenging to claim. You can hire a lawyer as soon as possible after the crash so you can focus on your health. Though you’re entitled to fair compensation to help you recover the cost of your medical bills, aftercare, and damages to your property, you must still prove negligence.
To protect your claim, your lawyer can :
- Advise you on what to do after the crash
- Ensure you get proper medical attention
- Investigate the cause of the accident
- Identify all possible liable parties
- Gather evidence to support your claims, such as witness statements, police reports, and medical records.
- Handle all paperwork and communication with the liable parties
- Value your claim
- Negotiate a maximum possible settlement
- Prepare for trial if you’re unable to settle
While our lawyers fight for your rights, you can concentrate on healing.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Today
You can seek the counsel of a Clearwater tanker truck accident lawyer with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, who can review your case and offer counsel specific to your case. If you hire us, we work on contingency, which means we collect no upfront fees from you as we work on your case. We take our payment only if we win a settlement for you. We want you to focus on getting better. We take care of everything else. Call today.
We Can Help.