Utah Tanker Truck Accident Lawyer
Tanker trucks haul fuel, chemicals, and other dangerous materials across the country. The inherently dangerous cargo these vehicles haul puts crash victims at greater risk of catastrophic injuries and devastating financial losses. The medical bills and lost income from a tanker truck accident can add unjust hardships to an already difficult situation.
If you sustained injuries in a Utah tanker truck accident that wasn’t your fault, contact Swenson & Shelley immediately. For over 30 years, our attorneys have represented injured people and secured millions of dollars in compensation through verdicts and settlements. Our legal team will handle all the legal work in your case so you can focus on your health and moving forward. Call or visit our contact page for a free consultation with a tanker truck accident attorney.
Hazards that Lead to Tanker Truck Accidents
Some dangers that can cause a tanker truck accident include:
- Unstable cargo – While other commercial trucks haul solid materials, tanker trucks often carry cargo in liquid or gas form. Liquid cargo can slosh around inside the tank as the truck moves, causing balance issues that can lead to an accident. Other tanker trucks transport gaseous cargo. Those gases can expand, leak, or ignite, leading to a crash.
- Driver errors – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires operators to obtain a special tank vehicle endorsement on their commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). This endorsement should mean drivers have additional training on tanker truck safety. Victims can hold operators liable if they do not exercise caution hauling these unstable loads.
- Maintenance issues – Tanker trucks experience significant wear and tear on their tires, brakes, and other components. Without regular maintenance, these parts may fail and cause a crash.
- Negligent trucking companies – Truck companies are responsible for hiring safe and experienced drivers. When it comes to tanker trucks, fulfilling this obligation is even more critical. Unfortunately, some trucking companies employ drivers with poor safety records or who do not have the proper qualifications to transport hazardous cargo. An unsafe or unqualified tanker truck driver is more likely to cause a crash.
- Bad weather – Truckers must be particularly careful when driving in poor weather and adjust their driving habits to account for dangerous conditions. However, weather alone is not a sufficient excuse for a truck accident.
Common Tanker Truck Accidents
Common types of tanker truck accidents in Utah include:
- Head-on collisions – A tanker truck driver who enters oncoming traffic carelessly risks colliding with vehicles head-on.
- Rear-end collisions – Tanker trucks weigh significantly more than passenger cars and take longer to slow down. If an operator speeds or gets distracted, they may be unable to slow down in time to avoid rear-ending someone in front of them.
- Sideswipe accidents – Like most commercial vehicles, tanker trucks have large blind spots on all sides. If drivers fail to check for other vehicles, they may sideswipe another car when merging, passing, or changing lanes.
- Jackknife accidents – When a tractor hauls a tank trailer, the articulated trailer connects to the tractor on a hitch, allowing for tighter turns. However, the tank can also swing wide and hit other cars if the truck slows down too quickly. These accidents are called jackknife crashes because the moving trailer resembles a closing pocketknife.
- Fires and explosions – Many tanker trucks haul gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil, and other flammable chemicals. This cargo can ignite easily and cause a tanker truck explosion that harms anyone in the vicinity.
Seeking Compensation After a Tanker Truck Accident
If you suffered injuries in a tanker truck accident caused by someone else, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the responsible parties demanding compensation. Possible defendants in your claim could include:
- The trucking company
- The truck driver
- The company that made or designed the truck
- Maintenance workers
- Cargo loaders
The compensation you could receive from these liable parties might include money for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Physical pain
- Psychological distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Damaged personal property
One notable feature of truck accident claims is that more than one person or entity often bears fault for the wreck. An experienced tanker truck accident lawyer can identify all liable parties to maximize your compensation.
What Is the Best Thing to Do After a Tanker Truck Accident?
If you were hurt in a tanker truck accident, here is what you need to do to protect your rights:
- See a doctor as soon as possible.
- Save all your medical records and any receipts related to the crash.
- Follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan.
- Write down what happened while it’s still fresh in your mind.
- Do not post anything on social media.
- Do not give statements to insurers or accept initial settlement offers.
- Consult with a knowledgeable tanker truck accident lawyer at Swenson & Shelley.
Tanker Truck Regulations
Many state and federal regulations apply to commercial trucks. Others are particular to tanker trucks. These regulations include:
- Commercial driver’s license – A tanker truck driver must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a tanker truck endorsement. In Utah, the requirements to obtain a CDL include having a standard driver’s license for at least one year, having a valid DOT card showing the driver is medically fit to drive a truck, passing a road test, and passing a vision exam. Obtaining a tanker truck endorsement requires drivers to take an additional knowledge test.
- Federal safety regulations – Interstate truck drivers must comply with safety regulations set by FMCSA. FMCSA rules require tanker truck drivers to receive additional training on safely operating these vehicles.
- Hazardous materials regulations – Much of the cargo hauled by tanker trucks qualifies as hazardous materials. Federal regulators have rules specifically for drivers carrying hazardous materials across state lines, including mandatory training requirements. Furthermore, Utah sets state laws that intrastate drivers must follow.
Hit by a Tanker Truck? Contact an Experienced Utah Truck Accident Attorney to Start Your Claim
The skilled attorneys at Swenson & Shelley have extensive experience handling personal injury cases involving tanker trucks. Let us help you pursue full and fair compensation so you can move on with your life. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.