On December 7, 2009, an 18 wheeler tanker truck overturned on the I-49 on-ramp at U.S. Highway 190 in Opelousas, Louisiana. The tractor tanker reportedly leaked sodium hydroxide, which is a hazardous chemical that can cause burns on the skin. According to Baton Rouge, Louisiana truck accident attorney, Scott Andrews, accidents involving overturned tractor trailers on interstate on-ramps and off-ramps are usually “avoidable accidents.” Tanker drivers must have a tank endorsement to operate a tanker, which endorsement is intended to ensure that the tanker operator has been trained in how to operate a tanker and its constantly shifting liquid contents. If the tractor tanker is operated in a safe manner and at a safe speed, the 18 wheeler should not overturn.
Fortunately, no one appears to have been harmed by the toxic and hazardous chemical reportedly spilled. Unfortunately, the truck driver and his employer may escape from any liability because no one was injured. Prior to the 1996 tort reform in Louisiana, operators of trucks transporting toxic and hazardous substances could be punished by awards of punitive or exemplary damages for their wanton and reckless conduct. Now, trucking companies that act in a wanton or reckless manner are no longer subject to punishment, and can only be held liable for the actual harm they cause.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death in an 18 wheeler accident, contact the experienced Baton Rouge, Louisiana truck accident lawyers at Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews. Email Louisiana injury lawyers or call (800) 929-7481 to schedule a free consultation.