In 2019, 51-year-old trucker Cornelia Marie Wilson was killed when she veered off the road, rammed into a tree, and her truck erupted in flames. It was later determined that Wilson had no serious injuries upon collision with the tree The culprit? A Los Angeles Superior Court explained that the side-mounted fuel tank on the driver’s side was punctured by the truck’s axle during the crash, resulting in a spray of diesel fuel and an extensive fire that caused Wilson’s death. In the end, Wilson’s three children were awarded $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck’s manufacturer, Daimler Trucks North America, LLC. While this may sound like an extreme accident, post-collision fires are incredibly common and incredibly deadly. I’ll tell you more about these types of accidents below, and when a New York truck accident lawyer may be of help.
The Problem with Side-Mounted Fuel Tanks
We often think the moment of collision itself is the cause of severe injuries and deaths during an auto or truck collision. While collisions certainly can and do cause death, a far more dangerous and lethal scenario occurs once fire enters into the equation.
The wrongful deaths of Cornelia Wilson and many others could have been prevented if tractor-trailer and other truck manufacturers prioritized safety in designing these vehicles. Instead, they continue to position huge, 150-gallon aluminum gas tanks on either side of truck frames underneath the driver’s and passenger’s side doors. The tanks’ precarious positioning and the relative thinness of the aluminum makes the tanks incredibly vulnerable to being pierced or punctured during a collision. As fuel leaks or sprays, it often makes contact with sparks from a damaged battery or other component, resulting in enormous fires. Unfortunately, our New York truck accident attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates have seen far too many accidents like these.
In an ideal world, fuel tanks would be carefully positioned to prevent serious problems during a crash. But if the tanks are defectively designed or poorly positioned, they create this serious hazard. Tens of thousands of truck fires happen each and every year.
Why Truck Crash Accidents are Complicated
Although a truck accident might seem straightforward, in reality the litigation is significantly more complicated than a car accident. For one, these accidents are almost always far more devastating than accidents involving everyday motor vehicles. Large trucks moving at high speeds and the potential for fire mean that disabilities, severe injuries, and deaths result from these types of accidents. In addition, multiple parties are often responsible for the accident, including the driver, the manufacturer of the truck, and the trucking company. Working with an experienced truck accident lawyer in New York is essential to receiving the compensation you need to fully recover from these serious injuries.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
At Buttafuoco & Associates, we have decades of experience in product liability lawsuits and specialize in motor vehicle and truck accidents. We understand how life-altering burn injuries can be, and will take care of the difficult work of proving your case and speaking with insurance companies so you don’t have to.
While filing a lawsuit may seem difficult, our team treats each and every client like a member of our family. It is always our goal to hold manufacturers of defective parts accountable and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today at 1-800-NOW-HURT.