Tanker Truck Accident Attorneys in Houston, TX
Billions of Dollars Recovered for the Injured
Tanker trucks are large commercial vehicles designed to transport gases and liquids. They are also called tank trucks, gas trucks, and fuel trucks. Depending on the type of gas or liquid they’re designed to carry, tanker trucks may be insulated, refrigerated, pressurized, or designed for multiple loads. Some are semi-trailer tanker trucks that have the capacity to carry larger, heavier loads.
Because tanker trucks have high centers of gravity, they can be difficult to maneuver. A tanker truck driver must be properly trained and exercise proper care when making turns, accelerating, and braking to keep the vehicle as stable as possible. When tanker truck drivers are careless or inexperienced, and when tank trucks are improperly loaded or maintained, serious truck accidents can result.
Our attorneys are here to help people who have suffered from the negligent and wrongful acts of truck drivers and trucking companies. Call (888) 493-1629 to see how we can help you.
What Are Tanker Trucks?
Tank trucks have a cylindrical container instead of a box, flat, or rectangle-shaped one due to the liquefied materials that these trucks carry. A common type of tank truck is one that transports fuel to gas stations. There are also septic tank trucks that transport the waste to collection sites. In some cases, tank trucks may also be used to transport water, chemicals, or concrete. Depending on the exact material they carry, these cylinder-shaped loads are often insulated or pressurized.
Tank trucks, like any other semi-trailer truck, are potentially hazardous. They have air brakes, manual or semi-automatic transmission, and loads attached to a hitch. However, these types of trucks also pose a particular kind of threat that many other trucks do not as tank trucks are more likely to be carrying hazardous materials than other trucks.
In the event of an accident, these hazardous chemicals can spill and sometimes catch fire or cause explosions. In the event that a tank truck is involved in an accident, the hazardous material team will often show up to contain any hazardous chemicals that the truck was carrying. If the load was pressurized, this may also pose additional threats.
Tanker Truck Crashes: Investigating Cause & Assigning Fault
If you were injured or lost a family member in a collision involving a tanker truck, you deserve the chance to see justice served. That starts with determining the cause of your accident and ends with the assignment of fault to the responsible party or parties.
Our team takes on tanker truck collisions caused by:
- Fatigued and overworked tanker truck drivers
- Improperly loaded tank trucks
- Defective truck and auto parts
- Dangerous roads and heavy weather
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Unsafe merges and lane changes
- Inexperienced truck drivers
- Poorly maintained tanker trucks
- Traffic violations
Serving Houston and all of Texas and the U.S., we have experience building compelling cases that prove fault and show precisely how much of an impact tanker truck accidents have had on our clients’ lives. This helps us secure the level of compensation that makes it possible for our clients to build stable futures for themselves and their families.
Tanker Truck Rollovers
One of the most dangerous aspects of tanker trucks is their tendency to be involved with rollover accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 1,300 cargo tank rollovers occur each year. In other words, nearly four tanker trucks are in a preventable accident each day.
There are three myths that people often believe regarding rollovers. First, many blame poor driving conditions that cause tanker rollovers. However, the FMCSA has determined that bad weather and other road conditions are only a factor in about 4% of rollover accidents. Second, speeding is another common factor to blame in rollover accidents. Yet, only about 28% of cargo tank accidents involve speeding. Finally, some blame inexperienced drivers for tipped over tank trucks. However, more than half—66 percent of all accidents—involve a driver who has 10 years or more of driving experience.
Causes of Tank Truck Rollovers
Rollovers frequently happen because of a simple mistake that drivers of all experience levels can make. In fact, about 78 percent of rollovers happen by a mistake that a driver could have prevented. It only takes a moment of negligence to cause an accident that has a lifetime of repercussions. For 90 percent of rollover accidents, a driver has had a previous history of rollovers. Finally, about one out of every five rollovers is caused by a driver not paying attention to the road.
The FMCSA has also found that poor vehicle maintenance leads to rollovers. For example, the agency found that about 54 percent of rollover accidents involve trucks with inadequately installed or maintained brakes.
Size & Weight of Loads
Finally, the size of tank truck’s load is a significant factor in 63 percent of rollover incidents. While trucks carrying dry goods frequently have a load that is secured and doesn’t move, tanker truck drivers must account for the “slosh and surge” effect, especially when their tank is not filled.
The less full a truck is, the more a driver must account for the sloshing and surging effect of their liquid haul. A half-full tank can mean a dramatic shift in weight distribution when a truck turns. Additionally, if a tanker truck needs to stop quickly, their load can “surge” toward the front of the vehicle, displacing weight unevenly and making it even more difficult to prevent an accident.
Houston Tanker Truck Accident FAQ
How much weight can a tanker truck carry?
A tank truck can carry anywhere from 5,500 to 11,600 gallons of liquid or gas. This is held in a cylindrical tank that lies horizontally on the trailer of the vehicle. The tanks themselves are usually designed with multiple compartments or other features that prevent the load from shifting during transport and destabilizing the vehicle.
Goods transported by cargo trucks include the following:
- Gasoline (petrol)
- Industrial chemicals
- Radioactive materials
In some instances, a tank truck can carry multiple substances at once by utilizing compartmentalized tanks. This way, a driver can make more deliveries to different types of customers at once to increase their productivity and cost-effectiveness along a route.
Fully loaded, a tanker truck you encounter on a Houston roadway may weigh about 26,000 lbs.
Who is responsible for my tanker truck accident?
Generally speaking, the parties that can be held liable for a tanker truck accident are the trucking company, the truck driver, another motorist, the manufacturer of a defective truck or car part, the shipping company, or the loading company. Sometimes more than one party can be held accountable. By investigating your accident and determining its cause, we’ll identify which individual and/or company should be responsible for paying your medical bills—and so much more.
Do I need to hire a Houston tanker truck accident lawyer?
If you were injured in a crash with a tanker truck in the Houston area, it’s in your best interests to involve a local firm that has a proven track record in complex truck accident litigation. The insurance company isn’t going to put your needs first. The trucking company will conduct its own investigation and may try to blame you for the accident. Our attorneys can step in and protect your legal right to compensation for the injuries you’ve experienced. We will pursue the level of damages that will actually cover all of your medical bills, plus ongoing care. We will seek compensation for all of your lost earnings, including loss of potential income. We will even seek damages for emotional trauma, which can be extensive after a serious tanker truck crash.
Act Quickly After a Houston Tank Truck Accident
Tanker truck accidents can be particularly catastrophic due to the immense size of the truck and the fact that it may be carrying hazardous and/or flammable substances. A tanker truck crash can cause a powerful explosion that puts everyone in the area at risk of serious injury. Other vehicles may be literally crushed from the force of impact.
After accidents of this magnitude, victims and their families can turn to Arnold & Itkin for the legal counsel they need. When we take on a tanker truck accident case, we give it the time and attention it deserves. We treat our clients with compassion and put all of our considerable resources to work as we fight for the outcome they need. Turn to us when you need the best representation.
Call (888) 493-1629 today to speak with a team member at our Houston office. We’re ready to stand up for your rights and interests.