An insurance look: Tank truck carrying cooking oil crashes, hangs off bridge

For truck drivers, whose job it is to, well, drive, the road can turn into an extremely dangerous place. Truck crashes happen, and there are a lot of hazards out there – from bad weather and slick roads to other drivers to traffic. Today we’ll take a look at a tank truck wreck that occurred in Arlington, Texas by giving an overview of what happened, presenting some questions we have from an insurance perspective, and going through some of the coverages that could help this trucking business recover.

What happened?

Let’s start out with explaining what happened.

In late April, a tanker truck hauling cooking oil in Arlington, Texas was involved in a wreck that left the cab of the truck hanging over a bridge. A silver car was squished into the back of the tank truck. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries as a result of the accident. The wreck closed both directions of traffic and it’s still unclear as to what caused the crash to happen.

What questions do we have?

We’re glad that no one was hurt in the wreck. We do, however, have a few questions from an insurance angle about the incident. (After you’ve had a foot in the insurance industry for a while, you can’t help yourself when reading stories like this.)

  • What caused the wreck?

Of course, it’s not exactly clear what caused the wreck in the first place. Was anyone “at-fault”? What were the events or conditions that led to a tank truck dangling off a bridge with a car crashed into its back? The circumstances of the wreck can be major considerations when it comes down to the insurance claim.

  • How long will it take the trucking business to get back to running at full capacity?

When a trucking business is down a truck, they can’t exactly run their business as they usually would. They’re missing one of their vehicles, which impacts the business and the fleet. Is there coverage for the business to have a rental vehicle while they work on replacing the truck? How long will it take for them to get that rental vehicle, or to get a new truck?

  • Was the driver operating under their own authority?

Whose authority was the driver operating under? Who owns the tank truck? Who was responsible for getting insurance for the vehicle, and what coverages did they select – and with what limits? (Sorry – this was a one question led to another which led to another sort of thing.)

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  • Was there environmental damage?

Did the accident cause any environmental damage? If so, would the trucking business be liable for cleaning it up? Wrecks can get messy, and someone has to be responsible for cleaning up the environment and covering the costs of un-polluting nature.

  • Was there worker’s comp coverage for the truck driver?

We don’t get a lot of information about how the truck driver is doing other than the fact that there were no serious injuries. If the truck driver did end up needing medical care as a result of the accident, is there workers’ comp coverage for him or her?

What coverages would be helpful?

There are a few coverages that could help a trucking business recover from a wreck like this one.

  • Physical damage:

This is the coverage that can help a trucking business get a vehicle back on the road ASAP if there’s a covered loss.

    • Collision coverage: This can help a trucking business repair or replace a vehicle if it’s in a wreck or if it’s involved in, well, a collision with something.
    • Comprehensive coverage: This can help a trucking business repair or replace a vehicle if it’s damaged by something other than a collision, such as a fire, vandalism, a falling object (i.e. a tree), or an animal strike. It can also cover theft.
  • Liability insurance:

This coverage can help a trucking business cover their legal obligation to the other driver in an at-fault accident. It can also help them cover their legal expenses.

    • Bodily injury liability: This can help cover the other driver’s medical bills and pain and suffering if a truck driver is at-fault in an accident.
    • Property damage liability: This can help cover the repairs or replacement of the other driver’s car if a truck driver is at-fault in an accident.
  • Workers’ comp:

If a worker is injured while they’re on the job, workers’ comp can help cover their medical expenses and give them a portion of the wages they lost while they were recovering from the accident. If the tank truck driver was hurt in the accident, workers’ comp or occupational accident insurance could help them cover their medical bills.

  • Cargo:

Cargo insurance can help cover the cost of lost cargo due to losses like theft and collision.

  • Pollution:

Pollution insurance can help a trucking business with their legal obligation to clean up the environment after a crash. Environmental clean-up can become very expensive very quickly, which is why pollution insurance can be extremely helpful.

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