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?
Tanker trucks, also referred to as gas trucks or 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. 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.
Holding Companies Accountable in America's Oilfields
In remote oilfields, drilling companies transport their product by truck. Gas trucks are enormous commercial vehicles holding thousands of gallons of flammable and toxic material. This reason alone is enough to demand that oil companies maintain their trucks efficiently and frequently. When these trucks are not properly maintained, they cause serious accidents.
Whether these accidents are due to a faulty part or due to poorly-maintained roads, any type of gas truck accident is severe and has the potential to injure the driver and bystanders. When a tanker truck collides with an object, the gas can ignite or explode, causing burn injuries and killing workers.
Gas Truck Accident Attorneys Helping the Injured in Texas & Nationwide
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our gas truck accident lawyers help those injured in oilfield accidents throughout all of Texas. Much of our practice is focused on helping those injured in the West Texas area, including Abilene, Amarillo, El Paso, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo.
In addition, we also provide representation throughout Texas counties such as the following:
- Bee County
- Bell County
- DeWitt County
- Dimmit County
- Frio County
- Gonzales County
- Gregg County
- Harrison County
- La Salle County
- Lavaca County
- Live Oak County
- Maverick County
- McMullen County
- Nacogdoches County
- Panola County
- Rusk County
- San Augustine County
- Shelby County
- Webb County
- Wheeler County
- Wilson County
- Zavala County
Our team is not just limited to Texas. From our offices in Houston, TX and Baton Rouge, LA, we are proud to extend our services to clients throughout New Mexico, Louisiana, and the entire nation. In fact, we've won cases for clients from all 50 states. Notably, areas such as the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale have seen a dramatic increase in accidents involving vehicles from the oilfield. Companies shouldn't be allowed to put the lives of workers and residents at risk as the rush to make profits on an area's natural resources.
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 helps 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.
Gas Truck Accidents Pose More Than an Environmental Concern
One impact of oil and gas drilling that has not gone unnoticed is the way that operations affect the county road system. When drilling companies began to swarm various areas of New Mexico, Texas, and North Dakota, new roads had to be built to provide companies with better access to the well sites. Some of these roads just aren't up to par. They can be made of mere gravel and dirt on only be as wide as two lanes.
These roads are not built to sustain large oil trucks, which is why accidents have resulted. Each new well requires an estimated 2,000 more trips by trucks and rigs. The addition of so much traffic has had significant wear and tear on each state's road systems.
The current road system is not only dangerous and a nuisance to the residents of the area, but life-threatening for those in the oil and gas industry. These types of accidents are dangerous because not only are these trucks large but they are carrying hundreds of gallons of combustible material. In the event of a crash, these trucks can explode. Fuel truck drivers may have a case if they were injured in an accident caused by a poorly maintained road, just as anyone else could have a claim if they were injured by the negligence of a gas truck driver.
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.
Tanker trucks may transport gasoline (petrol), diesel, industrial chemicals, ethanol, radioactive materials, and gases. 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.
ARE Gas TRUCKS MORE DANGEROUS THAN OTHER VEHICLES?
Like semis, tanker trucks are more dangerous during accidents because of their large size and excessive weight. However, they also have the added risk of highly flammable materials and toxic substances. When these vehicles are in an accident, they’re dangerous in a unique way because of their purpose in the oilfields.
WHAT INJURIES DO TANKER TRUCK ACCIDENTS CAUSE?
Tanker truck accidents often cause serious injuries such as burns, broken bones, blunt force trauma, brain injuries, amputations, and much more. These injuries are usually caused by the impact of the truck or the materials a truck is hauling during an accident. Often, these accidents are life-altering and survivors and the families of victims deserve the help of an attorney to find a way to move forward after them.
WHY DO GAS TRUCK ACCIDENTS HAPPEN?
Unfortunately, most gas truck accidents happen because of negligence. Companies often hire unqualified drivers, fail to train them, or work them to a point of exhaustion. All tanker accidents are different and speaking to an attorney will help you determine who could have prevented your accident.
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 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.