Is That Covered? Tanker Fire

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On May 9, 2013, a tanker truck carrying thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, overturned and caught on fire on a ramp near Interstate 81 and route 322 in Harrisburg.

Early reports are that the damage to the road may cost more than $10 million to repair and cause the shutdown of the interchange for months.

Is the owner of the tanker truck potentially liable for the damages caused to the road? Does insurance potentially cover the liability of the owner of the tanker truck?

Of course, there has been no determination that the truck driver was negligent, nor do we have any information about specific insurance coverages applicable to the accident. But, the answer to both of the above questions is likely YES.

The driver of the tanker truck may be liable for negligence in causing the tanker truck to overturn. The owner of the truck, likely the employer of the operator, is generally liable for the negligence of the operator.

Commercial trucking companies, like the one involved here, are required by federal law to carry specified amounts of insurance coverage. In carrying diesel fuel, the trucking company likely has at least $1 million of liability coverage.

Liability Insurance covers both bodily injury and property damage resulting from a truck accident.

So, generally speaking, there should be insurance coverage available to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help cover the costs of repairing the road.

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