Tanker Truck Accidents
Tanker trucks generally have a cylindrical tank designed to carry gases, liquids, and dry goods. Often, they transport hazardous or flammable materials, and a motor vehicle collision involving a tanker truck may cause catastrophic injuries, due to the sheer size of the vehicle and the type of cargo being transported. If you or a loved one has been hurt in this type of collision, it is critical to understand your legal rights. North Carolina truck accident lawyer Carl Nagle previously defended truck drivers and trucking companies, and he now only represents collision victims and their families throughout the state in pursuing maximum compensation for all personal injury claims.
At Nagle & Associates, we understand that while some lawsuits and claims settle efficiently, others require aggressive litigation against truck drivers and trucking companies. After a collision, the trucking company will investigate the damage, particularly in the case of a tanker truck carrying environmentally hazardous materials. When a victim pursues a personal injury claim against a trucking company, the trucking company and their insurers always attempt to avoid paying appropriate amounts for the resulting injuries and damage. Former claims adjuster Carl Nagle knows that insurance companies don’t make their money paying claims, and that they always seek to avoid or minimize claim payments. Our law firm ONLY handles NC motor vehicle accident cases, and we have successfully collected millions of dollars in compensation for people affected by tractor trailer and commercial truck wrecks, including victims in Raleigh, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, and Asheville.Victims of Tanker Truck Accidents May Pursue Compensation for their Injuries
Tanker truck accidents pose elevated hazards due to the goods being hauled in the vehicle, which often include gasoline and other flammable substances. The large size and load weight may result in difficulty maneuvering the truck. Due to the liquid load in the back of a tanker truck, the vehicle may become imbalanced, increasing the risk of tipping or rolling over.
Federal regulations have been put in place to strictly govern the construction and safety of a liquid tanker truck. 49 CFR 178.320 is the citation for the regulation that imposes “general requirements applicable to all DOT specification cargo tank motor vehicles”. This regulation seeks to govern construction of tank trailers and the trucks that haul them to ensure that the liquid load is fully and safely contained, and that the load remains balanced during transport. Unfortunately, driver error often results in serious tanker truck accidents despite the imposition of these federal safety laws. Also, while truck drivers must carry at least $750,000.00 in liability insurance to protect victims of accidents caused by careless truck drivers, the minimum insurance coverage requirement raises to $1,000,000.00 or $5,000,000.00 per accident whenever the driver is transporting “hazardous materials”. This insurance requirement and the identification of which level of coverage is required for specific types of hazardous cargo can be found at 49 C.F.R. 387.
All truck drivers must have a commercial license to operate a tanker truck, but even experienced drivers may behave carelessly or violate safety rules. While tanker trucks may pose particular dangers due to the toxicity of the materials, these crashes are typically caused solely by driver error. Tanker truck drivers are required to undergo specific training, which helps to account for changes in driving that may occur when the liquid shifts in the tanker. Skilled truck accident lawyers master these safety regulations and then target the development of evidence and the deposition of the truck driver toward securing proof of violation of state traffic laws and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Once these legal violations are isolated and proved, we typically see much higher settlement offers and trial verdicts.
In order to recover monetary compensation in a tanker truck accident lawsuit in North Carolina, an injured victim usually must prove that the driver and/or the trucking company was negligent. Examples include driving when fatigued, improperly executing a turn, failing to watch for traffic signs/signals or driving while intoxicated.
The goal of a tanker truck accident claim is to secure full compensation for all of the damages that the victim suffered, both economic and non-economic. These cases are typically fought hard by the defense, primarily because of the amount of money involved and the extent of available assets and insurance coverage to satisfy a successful trial verdict. In all trucking cases, the victim should stand strong and demonstrate a ready willingness to bring their claims through a jury trial. This momentum motivates the trucking company, their insurance carriers, and the legal defense team to respect the case with appropriate settlement offers or face the risk of an even higher trial verdict. While most cases are settled, make sure you collect and preserve all necessary evidence to increase your chance of the highest possible trial verdict. A thorough approach to case preparation will get the defense’s attention every time!
Because truck accidents typically cause severe injury, accident victims should always follow the North Carolina damages law as they work to prove the full dollar amount of all losses. For example, a trial or settlement provides the victim with a one-time opportunity to collect for medical expenses. If injuries are permanent, skilled lawyers know how to work with medical experts to secure irrefutable proof of the permanent impairment imposed by the injury, and the cost of all future medical needs. This evidence allows us to collect future medical expense compensation and payment for future pain and suffering. Also, even if the victim is back to work now, in serious injury cases we can often show through medical and vocational rehabilitation experts that the victim likely will be compelled to retire early due to the future effect of traumatic injury. With this evidence properly established, we can collect damages for “lost work-life expectancy” – essentially collecting for years of lost income that will be incurred as the victim advances in age and becomes less able to meet the duties of their current job.
Victims of truck accidents frequently suffer severe injuries, leading to lifelong consequences. Some injuries that are common in tanker truck collisions include spinal cord damage, brain trauma, burns, and broken bones. Proving the full extent of the victim’s injuries is crucial in all accident claims, and a case will certainly be strengthened by retaining qualified trial experts such as doctors and vocational rehabilitation experts.Explore Your Options with a Truck Accident Lawyer in North Carolina
At Nagle & Associates, we focus solely on motor vehicle collision law, and as a result we understand the devastation that follows truck accidents. If you or a loved one is facing the aftermath of a wreck, contact North Carolina truck accident attorney Carl Nagle to better understand your options. Our goal is to leave clients financially secure, so we charge a lower legal fee than most personal injury attorneys at one-quarter or 25% rather than one-third or 33% of the final award that most firms charge. We have mastered all state and federal laws governing truck drivers and trucking companies, and we stand ready to fully investigate a complicated commercial truck crash. Call us at (800) 411-1583 or contact us online to arrange an appointment with an experienced NC tractor-trailer crash attorney. We help injured individuals and their families in Asheville, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Wilmington, and other communities throughout the state. It costs nothing up front to retain our law firm immediately, and we can even come and meet with you at your home or workplace if a visit to one of our seven statewide offices is currently inconvenient. Please call now if you need legal help!