Tanker Truck Accidents
Tanker trucks are common vehicles on the highways, such as 405 and I-5, in Seattle, Kirkland, Olympia, and all across Washington State. They are very important as they are responsible for transporting oil and gas from refineries to filling stations. Without them, we would not be able to fill our cars.
As important as they are, they also pose a huge and potentially dangerous threat to people on the road in Washington State, because they are so large, much larger than ordinary cars, and they carry flammable materials. In addition, tanker trucks can also spill oil onto the roadway if they are involved in an accident.
If a tanker truck’s cargo is in some way compromised, either by a tanker truck rollover or by a puncture to the outer container, then a few dangerous scenarios could arise. First, the driver, passengers, and anyone nearby could be exposed to the dangerous chemicals or materials, assuming the tanker is hauling something other than oil.
Second, the cargo could go up in flames and create a series of explosions if there are other cars or trucks in the area. If the tanker truck’s tank is pressurized, this can lead to the truck becoming like a bomb if there is a collision with the tanker truck because the tanker can explode and become very dangerous.
As you might imagine, given the dangerousness posed by these trucks, there is strict government regulation regarding tanker trucks. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulates tanker trucks and other semi-trucks that carry toxic chemicals, compressed gas, radioactive materials.
You have likely seen these vehicles when they are transporting these kinds of materials because they are clearly marked and identify the kind of materials they are transporting. It is a violation of federal law for a tanker truck or semi-truck to transport a hazardous material and not mark it clearly.Washington State Tanker Truck Laws
Tanker trucks that have 18 wheels are considered commercial vehicles, which means more government regulation and larger insurance policies insuring the vehicle. The government imposes stricter regulations on commercial vehicles. Trucks that are not considered commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers, are much freer to enter residential neighborhoods and streets, because 18-wheelers and more traditional commercial vehicles are prohibited from entering such streets and neighborhoods.
There are two sources of fault when there is an accident with a semi-truck that is not your fault. It is either the driver’s fault or the semi-truck company’s fault. On some rare occasions, there can be a combination of both. Common reasons for truck accidents when the driver is at fault:
- Driver fatigue
- Driver inexperience
- Driver inattention
- Driver distraction
In order for a commercial driver to be on the road in Washington State, the driver needs to have what is called a CDL or a commercial driver’s license. This kind of license is not easy to obtain. A driver must pass a background check and pass several fitness tests as well. In addition, responsible companies should also have internal background and fitness checks with which they screen their applicants. However, as you can imagine, companies do not always do their due diligence in hiring a trucker for their company.
While the majority of truck accidents are the result of driver error, there can also be instances when the truck company is at fault. Common reasons for truck accidents when the company is at fault:
- Tire blowouts
- Brake problems
- Vehicle maintenance issues
- Not properly hiring a driver
- Retaining a driver who has a history of infractions
Sometimes truck companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles and they put their drivers in trucks that are not safe, for a variety of reasons, ranging from brakes that are aging and faulty, tires that are bald and need replacing, and other mechanical issues that need addressed and fixed. If this is the case, the company shares responsibility for the accident they caused.
There are times, however, the insurance company for the truck company will attempt to conceal internal company documents that show how neglectful the company has been in properly and safely maintaining their trucks, depending on how many they have in their fleet.Common Tanker Truck Accident Injuries
If you have been in an accident with a semi tanker truck, chances are you facing serious injuries. These vehicles are usually quite large, larger than normal cars or SUVs most commonly on the road. The most common injuries associated with a tanker truck injuries are:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- ACL or MCL tears
- Broken bones
If you have suffered any of these injuries, the likelihood is not good that these injuries will resolve on their own. In most instances, you will have to see a medical professional to help you recover. Aside from primary care doctors, the most common kinds of healthcare providers to treat people who have been in accidents with trucks are osteopaths, physiatrists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists.
Any of these healthcare providers can render quality care to you and they likely know the appropriate specialist who can treat you if you have been injured by a tanker truck.How The Jackman Law Firm can Help
If you have been injured by a tanker truck, then you are likely facing phone calls from insurance companies, medical appointments, you may be losing money from work since you are unable to work, and many phone calls from insurance companies. If this is the case, why go through this process alone? The Jackman Law Firm can help you recover money for the following:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Out of pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
The Jackman Law Firm can assist you with all of these things. In addition, we can stand between you and the insurance company for the tanker truck. While it is not common, there are also instances when the tanker truck company’s insurance company may allege that you were either partly or completely at fault for the accident. If this unfortunate and untrue allegation is brought against you, then you need an attorney who can help you.
The Jackman Law Firm can assist you by sending subpoenas for any video footage that may have captured the accident, interviewing witnesses and bystanders, and speaking to the police, assuming an investigation was done. If it is clear that the vehicle was not properly maintained, then the Jackman Law Firm has the resources and experience to investigate the company internally and find out if the company was failing to properly maintain their vehicle, such as not checking and fixing their brakes, making sure the tires are properly maintained and inflated, and making sure the vehicle is safe to be on the road.
If you have questions about your truck accident, feel free to call for a free consultation to discuss your case.