Tanker Truck Accidents

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Tanker Truck Accident Attorneys in Washington, DC

Big fuel gas tanker truck on highway in DC

Accidents involving any large commercial truck can be catastrophic, but tanker trucks present unique dangers, including an elevated risk of explosion and fire. Fires from gasoline and other flammable materials transported by tanker tucks can burn at temperatures so high that they actually destroy the structure of bridges and overpasses, causing them to crumble and fail, causing a chain-reaction of more accidents.

In addition to the flammable nature of the materials that tankers often carry, a tanker that is less than three-quarters full is at risk of rolling over.

At Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., our truck accident attorneys have years of experience representing truck accident victims. We know what to do to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

The Dangers of Tanker Truck Accidents

Tanker truck accidents can be very dangerous and cause serious damage when they collide with other vehicles on the road.

The Slosh Factor

Liquid cargo behaves very differently from other types of loads. Trucks that are overweight have more momentum and are more likely to be involved in an accident. Tanker trucks also become far more dangerous when they are under-filled due to the sloshing of the liquid and shifting weight.

Properly loading a regular tractor-trailer truck involves balancing and securing the load to ensure maximum truck stability and proper handling. Liquid loads cannot be secured in the same manner.

When tanker trucks are filled to less than three-quarters of their capacity, the liquid has room to slosh around, creating enormous weight shifts, making the truck difficult or impossible to control, and causing rollovers at very low speeds. Once a tanker truck goes into a roll, it rolls farther than other trucks.


Like all commercial trucks, tanker trucks are subject to laws governing how much weight they can carry. However, trucking companies often calculate the weight of a load based on the weight of water.

Because many of the liquids tanker trucks carry are denser than water, calculating the weight based on water weight by volume can result in an overloaded truck. Different liquids have different densities, and a more dense liquid will weigh more per volume than a less dense one.

Hazardous and Flammable Materials

Drivers who haul hazardous materials have to have special training and pass rigorous tests beyond the normal requirements for drivers of other commercial vehicles. Strict Hazardous materials can only be transported on certain roads and in certain areas.

In addition to a truck accident, when a tanker truck crashes, it often results in a hazardous or flammable materials spill. This can cause fires, explosions, contamination of water and soil, and the release of toxic gases. Tanker truck accidents can cause mean the emergency evacuation of the surrounding area.

When a fire is involved in a tanker truck accident, these fires can burn so hot that they cause overpasses and bridges to fail before approaching traffic can be stopped, causing even more accidents and injuries.

Other Common Dangers of Tanker Truck Accidents

In addition to the obvious dangers of a collision with a tanker truck, there are other dangers that you should be aware of.

  • Poor Weather Conditions – Poor weather conditions can make it more difficult for a tanker truck to stop. If you are driving in poor weather conditions, give the truck plenty of room.
  • Tire Blowouts – A tire blowout can cause a tanker truck to lose control. If you see a truck with a blown-out tire, be sure to give them plenty of room.
tanker truck on fire in an accident in washington dc

Filing a DC Tanker Truck Accident Claim

If you’ve been involved in a tanker truck accident, you may be wondering how to file a claim. The first step is to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence and build your case. They will also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Don’t try to handle your tanker truck accident claim on your own. An experienced lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to get started on your case.

Who is Liable For the Accident?

After a tanker truck accident, the first thing you should do is determine who is liable for the accident. The truck driver will be held responsible for the accident in most cases. However, there are some cases where the trucking company may be held liable.

If you are unsure who is at fault, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you determine who is liable for the accident.

What To Do If You Are Injured

If you are injured in a tanker truck accident, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s important to have them evaluated by a medical professional.

Once a doctor has seen you, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries and losses.

What If The Accident Was Fatal?

Tanker trucks often carry flammable liquids, and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for accident victims to suffer fatal injuries due to the collision. If your loved one died due to the accident, we can help you file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.

Damages You Can Recover in Your Claim

large tanker truck

There are a few different types of damages you can recover in your personal injury claim. These damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

If you have been involved in a tanker truck accident, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

In Washington DC, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is three years. This means that you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you wait too long, you will not get the compensation you deserve.

However, if you wish to file a wrongful death claim, the statute of limitations is two years. You should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to discuss the deadlines for your case as soon as possible. 

Contact a DC Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Contact our committed truck accident lawyers today if you or a loved one has been injured in a tanker truck accident in Washington DC. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience.

All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.

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