St. Louis Tanker Truck Accident Lawyers
Truck accidents are arguably some of the most severe road crashes, resulting in significant injuries and damages, and often deaths. Recent statistics from St. Louis law enforcement reveal that despite local, nationwide, and global shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people died in automobile crashes in 2020 than in recent years, with estimates determining that there were over 73 fatal wrecks in the city in 2020, compared to 56 in 2019.
Missouri State Highway Patrol statistics further showed that about 929 people died in auto accidents statewide in 2020. Many of these incidents involve large tanker trucks hauling massive quantities of hazardous liquids and gases across the city’s roads.
If you or a loved one experienced severe injuries in a St. Louis tanker truck accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you don’t have to suffer in silence. St. Louis truck accident attorneys from NST Law have the knowledge, resources, and experience necessary to help you deal with the tragedy of a trucking accident.
We offer compassionate representation committed to recovering the maximum compensation you need to pay for your mounting medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. We have a proven record of dedication to helping individuals fight large trucking companies to obtain a fair payout to aid in their recovery.
We provide a free initial consultation to determine your case’s value and give you the opportunity to decide if our firm is the right fit for you.
Unique Dangers to Tanker Trucks
Tanker trucks are large commercial vehicles that regularly move freight across Missouri’s and St. Louis’s roadways. Tankers haul massive quantities of liquids, gases, and a horde of hazardous materials used in several industries. While these trucks offer essential services to people and businesses in St. Louis, they also pose unique hazards, including:
Like other big trucks, tanker trucks have major blind spots. The right side of the vehicle poses a particular danger to smaller passenger vehicles because the tanker truck driver can’t see below and to the side of them. Therefore, tanker drivers might lose sight of smaller vehicles around them, resulting in sideswipe collisions if the trucker changes lanes. Learn to avoid trucks’ blind spots as much as possible.
Size of loads
Large tanker trucks haul bigger loads than other automobiles or commercial trucks on the road. The type of liquid or gas the tanker truck is hauling can often present additional hazards to the mere size of the freight. Drivers typically need more room than smaller vehicles to maneuver tanker trucks safely and ensure the security of their goods.
Shifting or sloshing cargo
Typically, liquids and gas move freely inside the tank during transportation, posing a danger to anyone caught in the wake of a spill or accident resulting in a rollover and loss of potentially hazardous transported materials. Shifting cargo can cause big trucks to topple very quickly. Additionally, unsteady loads can make it difficult for tanker truck drivers to stop in time or change direction quickly in case of an unforeseen obstacle in the road.
Tanker trucks also haul a variety of dangerous chemicals that, if they leak while on transit, may cause serious injuries when touched or inhaled. Also, they often haul flammable or explosive chemicals that can present immediate and significant dangers should they leak during a crash.
Are tankers more dangerous than other commercial trucks?
Tanker trucks are more dangerous than other commercial trucks in accidents because of the flammable and toxic materials they transport. As a result, if a negligent driver operating one of these tankers causes a crash, victims typically suffer a greater risk of catastrophic injuries and death than accidents involving other commercial trucks and vehicles.
Additionally, the effects of these accidents are far-reaching when spills occur, or a tanker truck rolls over. Often, several vehicles can get caught in the wreckage, and roads and surrounding structures might sustain significant property damage. Clean-up can be a lengthy process, sometimes backing up traffic or forcing alternate routes, potentially leading to more accidents.
Missouri Tanker Truck Accident Statistics
Here are some impactful facts about Missouri accidents involving commercial trucks:
- Nearly 150 people perished in traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles in 2018.
- The number of traffic fatalities involving large trucks rose by 33% in four years, from 113 deaths in 2014 to 146 in 2018.
- Data from the NHTSA revealed that in 2018, large trucks involved in deadly accidents accounted for 10% of 1,344 total fatal vehicle crashes recorded in Missouri.
Common Causes of Tanker Truck Accidents
Tanker truck accidents typically happen quickly and without any warning. A tanker truck accident in St. Louis can result from a range of causes, including:
When a tanker truck driver becomes distracted, it’s easy for errors to occur. Distracted driving includes:
- Reaching for something
- Handling paperwork
- Thinking heavy thoughts
- Driver fatigue
- Cell phone use
- Eating and drinking
The FMCA reveals one in five tank rollovers are due to driver inattentiveness and drowsiness.
Load Size and Truck Condition
The condition of the tanker truck and the load size are major contributors to road crashes. Specifically, faulty brakes and oversized or unsecured loads can make it hard for drivers to control their trucks safely.
Drunk or Hungover Drivers
Drunk drivers typically struggle to control their vehicles. Due to the size of tanker trucks, tanker truck drivers must be completely sober and maintain optimal physical and mental status when they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, a recent survey revealed as many as 50% of truck drivers surveyed admit to drinking regularly.
Extended Hours on the Road
Tanker truck drivers typically spend long hours on the road every day. It’s not uncommon for truck drivers to exceed the regulated 14-hour shift per day on the road before taking a rest period. Longer hours behind the wheel cause driver fatigue, leading to lapses in judgment, slowed reaction times, and road haze, resulting in an increased risk of accidents.
Injuries in Tanker Truck Accidents
The nature and extent of injuries sustained in tanker truck accidents vary from one incident to another. Generally, owing to the potentially hazardous cargo they haul, a crash with a tanker truck is almost always catastrophic.
Common injuries resulting from tanker truck accidents include:
- Severe whiplash or neck injuries
- Head trauma or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Internal injuries
- Chemical exposure
- Radiation exposure
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crushed or broken bones
- Severe burns
Who's responsible for a tanker truck accident?
In most trucking accidents, the trucker is liable for the wreck. Tanker trucks are typically more challenging to drive, and drivers must receive adequate training before operating the large and cumbersome commercial vehicles. If the driver operates the truck negligently, causing a crash, they can typically be held accountable for resulting injuries and damages.
Other parties that might be held responsible for tanker truck accidents include:
- The trucking company: If a driver lacks the required commercial driver’s license and endorsement for the type of truck and cargo involved, the trucking company responsible for the negligent hiring of the driver can be held liable for the accident.
- Owner of the truck: The truck owner might be liable for accident injuries and damages if they failed to maintain the rig over time or approved an unsuitable tanker for transport. These actions significantly decrease the safety of the truck drivers and other drivers on the roadways by increasing the risk of operating failures and subsequent accidents.
- The vehicle manufacturer or mechanic: If a defective tanker causes a crash that results in injuries or deaths, the manufacturer of the vehicle and its defective components can be held liable for the damages.
How can a St. Louis personal injury lawyer at NST Law help me?
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a tanker truck accident in St. Louis, you’re not alone. At NST Law, we understand that you never expected to be in this position and how intimidating it can be. Our team is committed to guiding you through this process and fighting for your legal rights to fair compensation. We will pursue a rightful payout for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, property damages, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and more.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation so that we can learn about your tanker truck accident and how we can help.