Tanker trucks often carry hazardous materials. These trucks, sometimes filled with explosive materials, drive alongside commuters every day. Whether going through the Ted Williams Tunnel on the way to the airport or traveling down the Mass Turnpike, you may encounter tanker trucks carrying various loads.
These massive tanker trucks, just like other big rigs and tractor-trailers, can cause catastrophic injuries if they collide with other vehicles. With a tanker truck, any accident that breaches the tanker and lets hazardous materials loose can cause additional injuries.
These hazardous loads can make tanker truck accidents worse than regular commercial trucks accidents. Many involved in tanker truck accidents suffer burns and smoke inhalation injuries. These injuries may be expensive to treat and victims may never fully recover.
When you suffer injuries in a tanker truck accident, you likely have many concerns about the future. You worry about your health and safety. You worry about how your life might change. The bills mount quickly, and you wonder how you will pay them. Fortunately, there’s help.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a tanker truck accident in or around Boston, you may seek compensation for your injuries. Consult an experienced Boston truck accident attorney about your specific case. Your tanker truck accident lawyer will quickly work to determine all possible sources of fault and aggressively work to hold those people responsible and collect maximum compensation from them. While your lawyer is working hard for you, that gives you time and energy to put your focus on your physical and mental recovery.
This piece provides a broad overview of such cases and what factors into recovering compensation in a Boston trucking accident.
Unique Dangers From Tanker Trucks
Almost one-quarter of all U.S. freight traffic occurs on tanker trucks. These trucks are used for specific types of cargo, unlike their typical tractor-trailer counterparts that handle other loads.
Tanker trucks typically haul:
- Toxic chemicals
- Agricultural waste
While not all cargo hauled by tanker trucks is hazardous, it often is. Furthermore, tanker trucks also pose the dangers of other commercial trucks, given their sheer size and weight. The hazardous material piles on to the severity and detrimental nature of the crash.
Some chemicals do not need to come into contact with the human body to cause problems. For some toxic fumes, all it takes is breathing in the dangerous chemicals to cause severe injuries and ongoing health problems.
Many victims do not even realize they have suffered injuries because the fumes are often odorless and colorless.
It may take weeks for dangerous symptoms to develop, which could include:
- Eye irritation
If you inhale extremely toxic fumes, these symptoms may appear right away or they might be delayed. Getting treatment after exposure to such chemicals is crucial to ensure you know how you may have been impacted and ensure you can a full recovery.
When a tanker truck gets into an accident, it may cause the cargo hold to become damaged. This damage could cause a hole or a break in the tanker, releasing toxic chemicals onto the ground or into the air. Depending on what type of chemical is leaking and where, it could harm not only the people involved in the accident but also those living and working nearby.
If you are involved in a tanker truck accident and are trapped or cannot leave the accident scene when a chemical is leaking, this could create an extremely dangerous situation. It could result in the chemical coming into contact with your body, causing painful chemical burns. You might also be injured if you are in a certain vicinity of the accident. Depending on the type of chemical, you could experience permanent disfigurement, infection, tissue damage, muscle damage, or other injuries or disease as a result of the accident.
Explosions and Fires
Some tanker truck loads can catch fire. When a tanker truck gets into an accident, the flammable load may come into contact with heat or other conditions that might create an explosion. The truck or objects at the scene may also catch fire, causing a potentially deadly situation for anyone trapped in the mix.
When a tanker truck explodes, it exposes more people to the risk of injury or death. Victims who survive are likely to suffer serious injuries and require ongoing medical care and attention for the rest of their lives.
Injuries in a tanker truck accident are often serious and sometimes fatal.
The most common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes
After suffering injuries in a tanker truck accident, your difficulties may just be starting. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, you may never fully recover. While tragic, it means that you will not only need to adjust to a new way of life, but you will also have extensive medical bills to cover. You may also not be able to work in the same capacity as you could previously, reducing your ability to earn money to pay for your bills.
Finding an experienced Boston tanker truck accident lawyer can help you recover the compensation you need to pay for your recovery. While you focus on the hard work of monitoring your health and recovery, your lawyer can work diligently to try to hold the negligent party liable and collect maximum compensation from them so you do not have to worry about paying your bills.
Boston Tanker Truck Accident Liability
To make sure your attorney can hold the right parties accountable in your Boston tanker truck case, they will need to conduct an extensive investigation. This may require the use of tanker truck accident reconstruction experts. The job of these experts is to accurately determine the cause of your accident so your legal team can hold the correct party responsible.
Using tanker truck accident reconstruction experts may be necessary to determine who is at fault for your accident—and it may be more than one party.
The most obvious place to start in any vehicle accident is with the driver.
There are many reasons a driver may cause or contribute to your accident, including:
- Driving too fast for the road conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failure to stop at railroad crossings
- Failure to adhere to road regulations
Truck Owner or Truck Driver Employer
A company that owns the truck or the company that employs the truck driver may also be responsible for your accident. If the owner of the truck did not properly maintain the vehicle and there was a problem that contributed to the accident, they may hold liability.
If a truck employer did the same or was negligent in some other way, you may hold the employer responsible as well. Truck driver employers are required to properly hire and train truck drivers. So even if the truck driver is the actual cause of your accident, their employer is often also responsible. If a truck company hires a driver but does not conduct a thorough background check or does not adequately train the driver, they could be responsible for the accident where you suffered injuries.
Sometimes the shipping company loads the cargo on a tanker truck. If it’s not loaded correctly, it could cause weight shifts in the trailer that result in it rolling over.
This type of accident often involves multiple vehicles and can result in explosions and fires because of the severe impact caused by the rollover.
Tanker trucks must receive regular maintenance, even if they do not have a current problem. This preventative maintenance makes sure that issues are addressed and fixed before a tanker truck getting on the road and potentially causing a deadly accident.
If a maintenance company fails to properly maintain the truck and fix any problems, they could be responsible for the accident. For example, if a maintenance technician over-inflates a tire and the tire blows out while driving, causing you injury, the maintenance company could be liable.
Tanker trucks have many moving parts that must work together perfectly to keep the truck safe. When a truck is not assembled properly or a part fails, the truck manufacturer could also be responsible for your accident.
When a part fails, the part manufacturer may be liable. Because truck manufacturers do not make every component, liability may be placed on both the truck manufacturer and the part manufacturer. Figuring out liability in the case of a manufacturing defect can get complex and will require extensive investigation to determine the exact cause.
Collecting Compensation in a Boston Tanker Truck Accident
Your Boston tanker truck accident injuries may be severe. They may alter your life forever. You may require ongoing medical care to continue your daily functions.
A skilled Boston tanker truck accident attorney can help you get money to cover your extensive medical needs.
Your lawyer may also try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
After a tanker truck accident, a lawsuit is probably the last thing on your mind. But you may face a lifetime of medical care and that does not come cheap. In fact, the number one reason people file bankruptcy each year is because of overwhelming medical bills. You can avoid becoming a statistic by working with knowledgeable tanker truck accident lawyers in Boston.
Limited Time to File Your Boston Tanker Truck Accident Lawsuit
Every state puts time limits on how long an accident victim can wait to sue the person who injured them. In Boston, per Massachusetts law, that time extends three years from the date of the accident.
Many tanker truck accident victims will not be thinking about suing the at-fault party right away. Understandably, their sole concern is their health and wellbeing. But do not delay calling a lawyer to consider your legal options for recovering compensation. If you do not file within the statute of limitations period, you likely will lose your chance of collecting any compensation.
Starting this process as soon as possible will also give you the best chance of succeeding in your action. And having an attorney to help can make it so much easier to start.
Consider everything you may face after a tanker truck accident:
- Multiple surgeries
- Extended time out of work
- Multiple hospital stays
- Doctor visits
- Prescription medication costs
- In-facility rehabilitation
- In-home care
Dealing with all of these items on top of your worrying about how to cover your medical expenses and regular bills can be overwhelming. By seeking out experienced legal guidance right away, you can have an expert to help you pursue compensation from those responsible for the accident.