In the United States there was a 9% increase in fatalities caused by truck accidents in 2017, and 72%  of those people were occupants of other vehicles.  Tanker trucks may be more dangerous than regular large trailer carriers because of the weight distribution and the type of substance they are carrying, such as flammable liquids, pressurized gases or highly toxic chemicals that are difficult to clean up after an accident.  If you have vehicle damages or injuries related to a tanker truck accident, contact an attorney to discuss legal options.

Commercial driver licensure (CDL) and driver records.

Because of the difficult maneuverability and specialized mechanisms in big rigs and tankers, proper training must be undertaken to receive a CDL.   Commercial driver  records reveal individual driving patterns through ticketed repeat offenses including speeding or improper maintenance of vehicles.  These are red flags to commercial driver regulators and should be monitored.

Driver actions to reduce tanker accidents.

  1. Controlling surges – liquid surges can cause trailers to roll over when braking even though some tanks have baffles that control forward and backward surges, they do not control side to side movement.  Consistent brake pressure can assist in surge control.
  2. Maintaining long stopping distances – a simple measure that will allow more reaction time, and decrease the likelihood of an impact.
  3. Drive smoothly to keep liquid from moving around too much and upsetting truck balance.
  4. Avoid skidding by driving with control, and moving slower in bad weather situations.
  5. Observe speed limits to make certain you are driving safely for the type of roadway you are traveling.  This will also allow more reaction time to other vehicles or road and weather situations.

If you have had the bad luck to collide with a tanker truck, it is wise to calmly assess the situation for life-threatening conditions and distance yourself from potential explosions or toxic chemicals.  If it is possible, move vehicles out of traffic or signal drivers to move around damaged vehicle.

Claim support documentation.

Because North Carolina is an “at-fault” state, it is necessary to prove the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident.  You will need to show the following reports to support a negligence claim.

  • Visual evidence: photographs taken at the scene and pictures of injuries.
  • Witness testimony: People at the scene, including passengers may have valuable testimony.
  • Police reports: When police arrive at the scene or when you file a police report, officers will be taking notes. They have an objective perspective and will document the events of the accident precisely and their version of events could help your case.
  • Medical bills: The amount of your settlement is largely contingent on the extent of your injuries. If you were severely injured, go to the doctor and keep precise records of all medical treatment.

Elements of Negligence.

  • An owed duty of care;
  • a breach of duty;
  • causal connection resulting in the harm;
  • proximate cause;
  • measurable damages.

Under pure contributory negligence, a person who is found to be responsible for the accident must pay damages to the other driver, passenger, or property owner. Typically, the injured driver will receive monetary compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

Hire a lawyer.

If you have been involved in a truck accident in Asheville NC, contact an experienced accident attorney at Swanson Klein Law Offices who can explain your legal options.

 

Swanson Klein Law, PLLC

104 East Main Street

Durham, NC 27701

Telephone: 919-286-0595

Fax: 919-869-2057

Email: [email protected]

 

Sources:

Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A cmt. b (Am. Law Inst. 1965). Citing to the Second

Restatement and the comment to a specific section.

 

https://www.ncleg.gov/Laws/GeneralStatutesTOC?Chapter=0096