Tanker Truck Accidents

June 19, 2024 | By Francis Firm Injury Attorneys
Tanker Truck Accidents

Tanker truck accidents are often more serious than other types of truck crashes. These vehicles are essential for moving crude oil, gasoline, chemicals, and other hazardous materials from production sites to refineries and distribution centers.

The dangerous nature of their contents, combined with their size and weight, make crashes involving tanker trucks particularly devastating.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash with a tanker truck in Texas, you are likely facing immense physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Collisions with these massive vehicles can lead to catastrophic injuries and even the tragic loss of life.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can identify the negligent party in a tanker truck crash and hold them accountable.

Schedule Your Free Consultation

Prevalence of Tanker Trucks in Texas

Tanker Truck Accidents

Texas is known for its thriving oil and gas industry, which heavily relies on tanker trucks to transport various products across the state. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were over 39,000 registered tanker trucks in the state as of its most recent report. The high number of tanker trucks on Texas roads increases the risk of accidents, especially when truck drivers or trucking companies fail to prioritize safety.

Recently, there were 559 crashes involving tanker trucks in Texas, resulting in 17 fatalities and 105 serious injuries. These accidents often have devastating consequences due to the size and weight of these commercial vehicles, as well as the dangerous nature of the materials they carry.

What Makes Tanker Truck Accidents Different From Other Types of Truck Accidents?

Tanker truck accidents are often more serious than other types of truck crashes due to several unique factors:

  • Size and weight: Tanker trucks are among the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. When fully loaded, they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds or more. The sheer size and weight of these trucks can cause catastrophic damage to smaller vehicles and their occupants in the event of a collision.
  • Hazardous materials: Tanker trucks often transport dangerous substances such as gasoline, oil, chemicals, and other flammable or toxic materials. In the event of an accident, these hazardous materials can spill, leading to fires, explosions, or toxic exposure, which can cause severe injuries, burns, or even death to those involved in the crash and nearby residents.
  • Rollover risk: Due to their high center of gravity and the liquid nature of their cargo, tanker trucks are more prone to rollover accidents than other types of trucks. When a tanker truck rolls over, the risk of a spill or explosion increases, and the damage can be extensive.
  • Difficulty in handling: The liquid cargo in tanker trucks can shift during transport, making the vehicle more challenging to control, especially during sudden stops, turns, or evasive maneuvers. This increased difficulty in handling can lead to a higher risk of accidents.
  • Increased stopping distance: Due to their immense weight, tanker trucks require a greater distance to come to a complete stop compared to smaller vehicles. This increased stopping distance can make it more difficult for tanker truck drivers to avoid collisions, particularly in emergency situations.

These factors combine to make tanker truck accidents more dangerous and potentially devastating than other types of truck crashes. The severity of these accidents underscores the importance of tanker truck drivers and trucking companies prioritizing safety and following all relevant regulations to minimize the risk of crashes.

Causes of Truck Accidents

While tanker trucks have unique characteristics that set them apart from typical 18-wheelers and other heavy trucks and commercial vehicles, there are some common elements that most truck accidents share. Common causes of trucking crashes include:

  • Driver fatigue: Truck drivers often face pressure to meet tight delivery deadlines, leading to long hours behind the wheel and inadequate rest. Fatigue can impair a driver's judgment, reaction time, and ability to operate the vehicle safely.
  • Distracted driving: Truck drivers may become distracted by cell phones, navigation systems, or other devices while on the road, taking their attention away from the task of driving.
  • Improperly secured loads: If a truck’s cargo is not properly loaded and secured, it can shift during transport, causing the vehicle to become unstable and increasing the risk of a rollover accident. As we noted above, this can be especially risky for a tanker truck as it may be harder for a driver to recover control.
  • Poor vehicle maintenance: Like other commercial vehicles, tanker trucks require regular maintenance to ensure they are in safe operating condition. Failure to properly maintain brakes, tires, and other critical components can lead to accidents.
  • Inadequate training: All truck drivers must complete training to receive a commercial driver's license (CDL) that allows them to operate a commercial vehicle. Tanker truck drivers must also receive specialized training to safely operate these large vehicles and handle hazardous materials. When trucking companies fail to provide proper training, accidents are more likely to occur.

Injuries Caused by Tanker Truck Accidents

Due to the immense size and weight of tanker trucks, accidents involving these vehicles often result in severe injuries, such as:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
  • Burns and disfigurement from fires or exposure to hazardous materials
  • Crush injuries and amputations
  • Internal organ damage
  • Broken bones and fractures

In the most tragic cases, tanker truck accidents can lead to the loss of life, leaving families devastated and struggling to cope with their grief while also facing financial hardships.

Texas Laws Governing Tanker Trucks

In Texas, tanker trucks and their drivers are subject to federal and state regulations designed to promote safety on the roads. These include:

  • Commercial Driver's License (CDL) requirements: Tanker truck drivers must hold a valid CDL with a tanker endorsement, which requires passing a knowledge test and a driving skills test specific to operating a tanker vehicle.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) regulations: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets strict limits on the number of hours truck drivers can operate their vehicles to reduce the risk of fatigue-related accidents.
  • Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR): Tanker trucks transporting hazardous materials must comply with additional regulations, including proper labeling, placarding, and documentation of the cargo.
  • Vehicle maintenance and inspection requirements: Tankers must undergo regular maintenance and inspections to ensure they are in safe operating condition. Trucking companies must keep detailed records of these activities.

When tanker truck accidents occur due to violations of these regulations, the truck driver, trucking company, or other liable parties may be held accountable for the resulting injuries and damages.

Seeking Compensation After a Tanker Truck Accident

If you or a loved one has been involved in a tanker truck accident in Texas, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death damages, such as funeral expenses and loss of companionship

To pursue a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit, it is essential to work with an experienced tanker truck accident attorney who understands the complexities of these cases. Your attorney will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and identify all liable parties to build a strong case on your behalf.

Dealing with Insurance Companies in Settlement Negotiations

Trucking companies and their drivers typically carry commercial liability insurance policies with higher limits than standard auto insurance policies. However, it is important to remember that insurance companies are businesses that aim to minimize their payouts and protect their bottom line.

After an accident, the trucking company's insurer may contact you to obtain a statement or offer a quick settlement. Use caution when dealing with insurance adjusters. Avoid providing any statements or accepting settlement offers without first consulting with an experienced attorney. Insurance adjusters may use your statements against you to minimize or deny your claim, and initial settlement offers are often far lower than the true value of your case.

Your tanker truck accident attorney will handle communications with the insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you do not inadvertently jeopardize your claim. They will negotiate with the insurers to secure a fair settlement covering all your losses. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to trial to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule when determining accident liability. This means that if you are found to be partially responsible for the tanker truck accident, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

Insurance companies may attempt to use this rule to shift blame onto you and reduce their payout. An experienced attorney will work to counter these tactics and ensure that liability is properly assigned to the negligent parties.

Seeking compensation after a tanker truck accident can be a complex and challenging process, but working with a skilled attorney who understands the nuances of these cases and the tactics employed by insurance companies can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Tanker Accident?

In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim after a tanker truck accident is generally two years from the date of the accident. This means that you have two years from the day the accident occurred to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

For wrongful death claims, the statute of limitations is also typically two years from the date of the individual's death. If your loved one passed away due to injuries sustained in a tanker truck accident, you would have two years from the date of their death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Lawyers with Focused Experience Handling Tanker Trucking Accident Claims

Trucking Accident Lawyer

The role of a personal injury lawyer with focused experience handling tanker truck accidents can make all the difference for victims seeking compensation for their injuries and losses in these cases. These attorneys have a particular understanding of the unique aspects of tanker truck crashes. This knowledge allows them to effectively represent their clients and navigate these unusual and complex claims.


Attorneys who have handled tanker truck accident cases understand the specific regulations and standards that apply to these vehicles and their drivers. This includes knowledge of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) that govern the operation of commercial trucks and the HMR that apply to the transportation of dangerous goods.

By understanding these regulations, experienced attorneys can identify violations that may have contributed to the accident and hold the responsible parties accountable

Truck Specifications

Personal injury lawyers familiar with tanker truck accidents also comprehend these vehicles' unique design and engineering. They know how the size, weight distribution, and liquid cargo can affect the truck's stability and handling, and the potential for rollover accidents. This knowledge allows them to work with accident reconstruction specialists and other professionals to build a strong case on behalf of their clients.

Resources and Industry Familiarity

Experienced tanker truck accident attorneys have a network of industry professionals they can call upon to support their clients' cases. This may include safety consultants, engineers, and medical professionals who can provide valuable insights and testimony regarding the causes and consequences of the accident.

Lawyers who have handled tanker truck accident cases understand the tactics that trucking companies and their insurers may use to minimize their liability and avoid paying fair compensation to victims. They know how to counter these tactics and fight for their clients' rights to ensure they receive the full compensation they deserve.

When choosing a personal injury lawyer to represent you in a tanker truck accident case, select an attorney with relevant experience and a track record of success in handling similar cases.

The knowledge and skills they bring to the table can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case and your ability to secure the compensation you need to rebuild your life after a devastating accident.

At the Francis Firm, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience handling tanker truck accident cases in Texas. We understand the unique challenges these cases present and are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our clients.

Contact the Francis Firm for Help with Your Tanker Truck Accident Case

At the Francis Firm, we understand the devastating impact a tanker truck accident can have on your life and the lives of your loved ones. Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims and their families, working tirelessly to secure the compensation you deserve.

If you or someone you love has been injured or tragically killed in a tanker truck accident in Texas, contact the Francis Firm today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team will review your case, answer your questions, and provide the guidance and support you need during this challenging time. Let us help you hold the negligent parties accountable and obtain the justice you deserve.

We help clients injured in tanker trucking accidents throughout Texas. If you are unable to come to our offices in Southlake, Dallas, or Fort Worth, we will come to you. Call us at (817) 533-8773 or contact us online to consult an attorney in your area.