Sometimes, tractor trailers are equipped with large tanker trailers instead of the typical, rectangular trailers. These trucks rarely carry something as benign as water, and instead usually carry oil, natural gas, or other liquid and gaseous chemicals. When these large trucks are involved in accidents, they can often cause much worse injuries than typical big rigs if the tanker is breached and the chemicals spill out. When truck drivers cause accidents and chemical spills, the attorneys at the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team work to hold them and their employers – the trucking company – responsible for your injuries. Even if you were the driver of the truck, you may have a case against your employer for illness or injuries if they never told you you were carrying dangerous chemicals.
Tank Truck Risks
There is always a risk associated with large trucks, due to their weight and size. Tanker trucks, with the trailer attached, are often longer than 50 feet and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds including the weight of the cab, the tank, and its contents. These enormous vehicles are difficult to maneuver, and tough to slow down. Because of the joint between the cab and tank, a truck is liable to jackknife or otherwise swerve and lose control during its trip. Trucks can also take up to 20 times the distance as a typical car to come to a stop. This limits the driver’s ability to react quickly and safely in emergencies.
Many of these tanks can hold 9,100 gallons of liquid, or even as much as 11,600 gallons. These tanks are often segmented to prevent spilling everything if the tank is punctured. These tanks may have up to six segments. Even with a 9,100 gallon tank with six segments, one punctured compartment could mean 1,516 gallons could spill from the tanker. In some areas, like on bridges over water, in rural areas, or in cities, a spill like this could ruin the environment or affect hundreds of people. Exposure to many chemicals, even fuel, can be very dangerous for your health. Some chemicals could cause damage to your skin, eyes, or lungs.
More immediately dangerous is the risk that a tanker truck spill can cause other drivers to slip and crash. Especially with substances like oil, a spill could force other cars on the road to lose traction and cause multi-car pileups.
Aside from these risks, tanker trucks hold similar dangers regarding driver visibility as regular tractor trailers. Since trucks are so large and so high off the ground, there are a few spots that the driver physically cannot see from the driver’s seat. These include areas directly in front of the cab, directly behind the tanker, and just behind the cab on both sides. If you drive in these areas, even with their multiple types of mirrors, a truck driver might not see you. Failing to check these blind spots before moving, especially in heavy traffic, can be a huge breach of a truck driver’s responsibilities on the road, and could cause an accident.
Injured Tanker Truck Drivers
Driving for a trucking company is a difficult job that often means days away from your home and family, and can put you at serious risks. If your trucking company employer forces you to violate hours of service rules, to drive tired, or violate other regulations, you might have a case against them if you become injured. If you are threatened into breaking rules, then your employer may be responsible for injuries those violations cause.
Sometimes, putting your trust in your employer might be dangerous, too. When hauling dangerous chemicals, there are required rules for labeling, handling, and carrying hazardous materials (HAZMATs). In addition, drivers are required to go through special HAZMAT training and must be given safety equipment they will need to carry, load, and unload the chemicals.
If your employer fails to tell you what you are carrying, you could be put in a tough position. You could be exposed to dangerous chemicals without your knowledge. You could be forced to load or unload dangerous chemicals without the proper safety gear. Plus, violating the labeling rules could mean you unknowingly put others at risk from these chemicals, too. If you were lied to or cheated by a trucking company, you might have a case to recover compensation for your injuries.
Tanker Truck Driver Accident Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team takes cases from around the country. We work to help victims of Big Trucking recover compensation for their injuries, whenever they are injured in a truck accident. Drivers who are injured by dangerous truck drivers may have a case against the driver and their employer trucking company. As for truck drivers injured by their tanker truck cargo, or injured by other illegal acts of their employer, you might have a case, too. For a free consultation on your truck injury case, call (215) 246-9000 today.