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Tanker Truck Explosion and Fire

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a caller who is the wife of a tanker truck operator whose husband was injured when a nearby tanker truck caught fire during unloading, though a fire suppression system prevented an explosion, she wondered what their legal rights would be the situation had been different?”.

Great question.

Several years ago, we represented an injured fellow when an oil tanker exploded while the tanker was being filled at a lubricant depot.

Think of this depot as a huge filling station for the tanker trucks that bring gasoline and diesel fuel to local gas stations.

While a tanker was being filled, vapors from the product being pumped into the tanker ignited and exploded. The explosion injured many workers, including our client.  A fire suppression system should have been in place, but it was not functional.

Our client was in a truck, minding his own business, next in line to be filled by personnel at the filling depot.  He and the other truckers were entitled to a safe work environment.

But safety was not on the menu that day.

In short, the tank being filled had not been washed adequately before motor oil was pumped into it. The tanker had last hauled gasoline. It should have been cleaned with steam to get rid of vapors. It should have been grounded while it was being filled. A grounding chain, if it had been used, would have discharged static electricity and prevented sparking.

Here is a description of the types of negligent conduct that lead to the explosion:

  • Failing to ground a tanker being loaded as required by OSHA
  • Failing to remove flammable vapors before filling the tanker
  • Failing to deploy vapor-sniffing equipment to ensure the absence of vapors
  • Failing to flush and clean the tanker after it transported chemicals which could explode

Our client suffered PTSD and extensive hearing loss.

Work-related incidents like this one happen all the time, and if you don’t know your rights, you may end up with less than what you are entitled to obtain by law.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at www.DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.