What Happens When a Tanker Truck Causes an Accident?

We all share the road with other drivers, including commercial tanker truck drivers. Every driver must ensure they drive safely and reasonably to avoid accidents, injury, and death.
When drivers fail to do so, innocent people suffer injury. If you suffered an injury because of a tanker truck driver, contact a truck accidents attorney in your area to learn more about your legal right to compensation.

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How Common Are Tanker Truck Accidents?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4014 people died in commercial truck accidents across the United States last year, and there was an overall 28 percent increase in tanker truck accidents.

Of all the commercial accidents that happened that year, the following people lost their lives:

  • 68 percent of people who died in commercial truck accidents were drivers and passengers of smaller vehicles.
  • 15 percent of people who lost their lives were tanker truck drivers.
  • 16 percent of those who died in tanker truck accidents were pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists.

Traffic Hazards Due to Tanker Trucks

The size of commercial vehicles and the products they carry make it highly likely that a devastating traffic accident can occur. Tanker truck accidents pose unique risks to other drivers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, including:

Exertion of Force

The size and weight of a commercial tanker truck make it dangerous. These vehicles are much heavier than the average car or truck. If a tanker truck impacts one of these vehicles, the results can be catastrophic. Potential injuries from tanker truck accidents can include severe burns, traumatic brain injury, amputation, disability, and death.

High Risk of Fire

The type of cargo that commercial trucks carry has the potential to catch fire. Some tanker trucks carry oil or gas. Either of those substances can spill onto the road, cause multiple car collisions, or catch fire. The risk of fire can increase the devastation a traffic accident can cause.

High Risk of Rollover

Crews must appropriately balance tanker trucks to avoid rollover accidents. A rollover accident happens when a vehicle rolls over onto its side or flips after impact. Rollover accidents can lead to severe injuries, especially if the tanker truck rolls over and collides with multiple vehicles.

Who Can You Hold Responsible for Your Tanker Truck Accident Injuries?

If you get into an accident with a tanker truck, your priority is ensuring you and your passengers are safe and receiving medical treatment. Once you have secured your physical well-being, you might be left wondering who is responsible for paying your medical bills and other losses related to the accident. Tanker truck accidents can get complicated because multiple people and entities share responsibility for causing an accident.

Potential Defendants in Tanker Truck Accident Cases

Potential defendants in tanker truck accidents can include:

Trucking Companies

Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, if an employee’s negligence causes an injury, the employer shares legal responsibility for the harm caused by the employee. In tanker truck cases, even if the company is not individually negligent, the company may end up paying for the harm.

When you deal with a trucking company, you will be dealing with their insurance company. Large insurance companies can be intimidating. If you suspect a trucking company may share responsibility for your harm, you should immediately contact a truck accident attorney.

Truck Manufacturers

Truck manufacturers are responsible for putting safe trucks onto the road. Any defect in the truck, the trailer, or any other component of the system can cause an accident. Manufacturers are liable for harm that defective trucks cause. Manufacturers must ensure that the truck’s design and assembly are free from mistakes.

Truck Drivers

Truck drivers must exercise care when they drive and ensure their vehicles are safe before they hit the road. Truck drivers must check their lights, brakes, tires, etc., for defects. Failure to check for defects is negligent. A driver must operate their truck while sober. Drug or alcohol-impaired drivers may be liable for negligence if they cause an accident while operating their vehicle.

The Owner of the Truck

The person or entity that owns the truck is liable for the damage caused. A trucking company usually owns the truck, but there are instances where the driver also owns the commercial truck. If the driver also owns the truck, you will file a claim against the driver’s insurance policy.

Drivers and Owners of Other Vehicles

There may be drivers other than the tanker truck driver involved in the accident that share responsibility. If you are involved in a multi-car accident, your case may take longer to settle because you will need time to sort out all the drivers and determine who is responsible.

Third-Party Maintenance Companies

Commercial truck drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicles. If owners hire a negligent maintenance company, they may be liable for the harm caused, as well as the owner of the truck.

Insurance Requirements for Tanker Trucks

Trucking companies must carry a minimum amount of insurance under federal law. Each trucking company must file an application for insurance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which is the agency of the United States Department of Transportation that regulates the commercial trucking industry. The FMCSA focuses on preventing injuries, fatalities, and crashes involving tanker trucks and other commercial vehicles.

The FMCSA enforces different levels of mandatory insurance coverage for different types of commercial vehicles.

For example:

  • Trucks that are for-hire that carry goods weighing over 10,001 pounds with interstate or foreign commerce carrying non-hazardous goods = $750,000
  • Trucks that are for-hire or private that carry goods 10,001 pounds or more with interstate or foreign commerce carrying oil, hazardous waste, and other hazardous substances = $1 million
  • Trucks that are for-hire and private that carry interstate, foreign, and intrastate commerce = carrying hazardous materials (HAZMAT trucks) = $5 million

These insurance policies are substantial, so they give accident victims a greater chance of pursuing full compensation if they suffer catastrophic injuries.

What Should I Do After a Tanker Truck Accident?

What you do in the immediate aftermath of the accident is essential to the success of your tanker truck accident case. Consider following the following steps after a tanker truck accident to help preserve evidence for your case.

Gather as Much Evidence as Possible

When you are at the scene of an accident, gather as much evidence as possible. If you and your passengers are physically able, you should take pictures of property damage, injuries, and the scene. Taking a video of the accident scene is a good idea if you can. You should also take some time to speak to the other drivers and their passengers. Getting their side of the story while it is fresh in their minds may serve you well as your case progresses.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

You should seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Prompt medical care can help you prove the connection between the accident and your injuries. Insurance companies rely on accident victims to delay treatment to bolster their argument that the injuries were the result of something else.

File an Insurance Claim

Your auto insurance policy likely requires you to file a claim after an accident, even if the accident was not your fault. Check your insurance policy to ensure that you are compliant with its terms.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

Contact an accident attorney immediately who can be your strongest advocate when you suffer injuries in a tanker truck accident. They will work hard to ensure you get the best results possible from your accident claim. You should never speak to an opposing insurance company or attorney without consulting your counsel first.

Legal Options After a Tanker Truck Accident

If you get into an accident with a tanker truck, you may have the right to seek financial compensation. To get the money you need to recover financially after an accident, you will need to pursue litigation. Accident cases are negligence claims. To prove your negligence claim, you must prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.


Every trucker, trucking company, manufacturer, owner, maintenance company, or other driver owes a duty of care to everyone on the road. Drivers must act reasonably to avoid injury to others while operating their vehicles.


A breach happens when a driver fails to drive safely. For example, a driver that operates under the influence of alcohol or runs a red light is negligent. You may be entitled to damages if you get injured in an accident with a negligent driver.


Proving that the tanker truck driver’s actions were the cause of the accident and, therefore, your harm may be the most challenging part of the process. Having an experienced attorney working for you as your case progresses can help you prove your case. Your attorney can use their resources (including expert witnesses) to help you prove the facts of your case.


Injured victims must also prove damages to win a civil lawsuit. Every plaintiff in a civil lawsuit must show evidence of compensable damages. Compensable damages are losses that qualify for financial recovery and can be tangible or intangible.

Damages Available in Tanker Truck Accidents

There are three general categories of damages in a civil lawsuit. These categories include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. A plaintiff may have evidence of each type of damage. Having an experienced attorney working on your side can help you prove your damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damage is physically apparent and tangible damage. They are easily calculable and easily proven. Economic damages include current and future medical bills, the cost of ongoing treatment, including rehabilitative care, lost wages and earning capacity, and other tangible losses.

Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damage refers to intangible losses an accident victim suffers. Non-economic damage can include loss of enjoyment of life, pain, suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, disability, embarrassment, etc. Intangible losses are harder to prove than economic damages. A skilled attorney can help you establish your non-economic damages to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries following your crash with a tanker truck.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages aim to deter defendants and others from acting in a similar manner if it was an action that caused the injury was wildly outrageous. Punitive damages are not available in every state and may be limited. Speak to your attorney to learn more about the availability of punitive damages in your tanker truck accident case.

How Can a Truck Accident Attorney Help Me?

Tatiana Boohoff, Lawyer for truck accident cases near Tampa cases area. 
Tatiana Boohoff, Truck Accident Attorney in Tampa. 

A truck accident attorney can help you win your case. Their experience and skill can help put you in the best position to win the compensation you need to recover financially after an accident. Examples of how a tanker truck accident attorney can help you include:

A Lawyer Can Present Your Strongest Case

Your attorney will work with you to ensure you present your strongest case. Accident attorneys investigate the cause of an accident, speak to witnesses, and rely on the evaluations of expert witnesses to help prove the facts of your claim. If your case goes to trial, your attorney will present the evidence they collected to the jury engagingly and persuasively, all to improve your odds of winning your case.

Negotiate With the Insurance Company

The resolution of most civil lawsuits begins with settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Negotiations can be complex, especially when it is your first accident claim and when you have a claim against multiple insurance companies. Insurance companies also employ various tactics to reduce their chances of paying out a settlement. Some of the most common tactics insurance companies use include offering fast but lowball settlement offers, using your delay in medical treatment against you, and claiming something other than the accident caused your injury.

Help You Prepare for Trial

There is a lot of legwork that goes into presenting a case at trial. Attorneys help prepare clients for trial by conducting mock direct and cross-examinations, participating in depositions, preparing other witnesses, and continuing to negotiate with the insurance company while the case is awaiting trial.

Tanker trucks can cause severe injuries that can leave victims with lifelong complications. By consulting a truck accident attorney, injured victims can get a better idea of exactly what compensation they deserve.

Request A Free Consultation Today!

Boohoff Law, P.A. — Auto Accident Lawyers – Tampa Office

829 W Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd,
Tampa, FL 33603
Phone: (813) 725-5606

March 8, 2023
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