Dump trucks are large, heavy vehicles designed to haul construction materials, waste, and other items. The size, weight, and design of dump trucks make them particularly dangerous if they collide with passenger vehicles. These vehicles carry thousands of pounds of material that can spill onto automobiles in a crash.
If you have been hurt in a collision with a dump truck, the Corpus Christi truck accident lawyers at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., can help you seek just compensation for your injuries. Our legal team has more than 100 years of combined experience in injury law, and we’ve helped more than 20,000 clients. With our help, our clients have recovered millions of dollars to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and other losses from an accident.
Do you need to talk to a lawyer about a dump truck accident? Get your free initial consultation by calling our office or visiting our contact page.
Why Dump Truck Crashes Are So Dangerous
Dump trucks are much larger and heavier than most other vehicles on the road. Even when they aren’t loaded, these vehicles can weigh more than 10,000 pounds, which is more than double the weight of most passenger cars. When they’re full, dump trucks can weigh more than 50,000 pounds. This added weight means that a dump truck requires more distance to stop safely. If a dump truck collides with another vehicle, it’s striking with significantly more impact than other vehicles would have. More impact usually means more serious injuries for anyone hurt in the crash.
The size of dump trucks poses a hazard to smaller vehicles on the road. Because dump trucks sit much higher on the road, they hit smaller cars at a much more elevated and dangerous position. There’s also a chance that a car could end up fully or partially sliding underneath a dump truck in a crash in a catastrophic underride accident. About one of every 10 fatal large truck crashes involves a dump truck, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Finally, the cargo that dump trucks haul poses a risk to other vehicles. If the cargo isn’t properly secured and comes loose, it could hit another vehicle and cause an accident. Especially large pieces of debris or other objects can even break through another vehicle’s windows or windshield. It’s important to give dump trucks plenty of space and not follow too closely.
Some of the common injuries caused by dump truck accidents include:
- Bone fractures, with more than one bone being broken in many cases
- Damage to internal organs
- Crushed or severed limbs
- Damage to the spinal cord, including partial or full paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries
How Dump Truck Accidents Happen
There are many different causes of dump truck accidents.
Some of the common driver-related causes of dump truck accidents include:
- Drivers taking unnecessary risks – Many dump truck accidents involve speeding, taking turns too quickly, or running red lights. Dump trucks take more distance to stop because of their weight. Dump truck drivers who are speeding may be unable to stop if a traffic light turns red and run through the red light, causing an intersection accident.
- Blind Spot Accidents —Like many bigger vehicles, dump trucks have significant blind spots to the side and behind them. If dump truck drivers aren’t paying attention to the road and surrounding traffic, the driver may hit another vehicle located in a blind spot.
- Backing Up Accidents—Many dump truck accidents involve the vehicles going in reverse with the driver unable to see what is behind the truck. A dump truck may back over a construction worker who is standing in its path. Dump trucks are responsible for more fatal back over accidents than other types of large trucks, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A driver should always have a spotter to assist when backing heavy equipment in work areas.
- Drivers being intoxicated – Driving while intoxicated is especially dangerous when the impaired driver is behind the wheel of a large truck. Alcohol and narcotics can impair a driver’s judgment and reflexes, putting the driver at greater risk of causing an accident. A driver who is intoxicated may fall asleep at the wheel, causing them to drift into another lane or run off the road.
- Drivers not having enough experience – Driving a dump truck safely is much different from driving a typical passenger car. It requires extensive training to handle these vehicles. A dump truck driver who doesn’t have enough experience may make a driving error that causes a crash.
- Bad weather – Slick roads can cause a dump truck to lose control, especially if the driver doesn’t have a lot of experience. This can cause a dump truck to slide into another vehicle from behind or lose control while turning.
Not all dump truck accidents are caused by driver error, however.
Other potential causes of dump truck accidents include:
- Improperly secured cargo – Many dump trucks transport loose materials in open beds. If the truck bed isn’t properly covered, debris can fly out and strike nearby vehicles. Even if the debris doesn’t directly impact another car, it could cause another driver to swerve to avoid being struck and indirectly cause an accident in that way.
- Mechanical failure – Tires on a dump truck can blow out, causing a dump truck driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash. Many dump trucks elevate their beds to make it easier to dump their loads. If there is some kind of mechanical issue with the truck, the truck could end up dumping its load out on the road .
What to Do After Getting Hit by a Dump Truck
If you’ve been injured in a dump truck accident, it’s important to take the necessary steps to preserve your right to seek compensation. Here’s what you should do once you’ve seen a doctor for your injuries:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions – One-way insurance companies try to shift blame or minimize liability after a dump truck accident is to blame the accident victim for not following doctor’s orders. Follow your doctor’s orders and keep all follow-up appointments. Don’t give the responsible parties any excuse to blame you for your own injuries. If you feel like your medical treatment isn’t working, talk to your doctor before making any changes.
- Save all your medical records, pay stubs, and other documents – To maximize your potential compensation, you’ll need to make sure all your injuries are fully documented. Make sure you save all your medical records, medical bills, and keep a record of travel expenses to the doctor. You’ll want to hold on to any paystubs or other income statements from your recovery period so you can seek compensation for the economic harm you have suffered due to the accident.
- Preserve any evidence you have from the crash scene – It’s always a good idea to take pictures of an accident and your injuries if you’re able to do so. If you took pictures at the crash scene, be sure to save them for future use, as they could end up being critical pieces of evidence.
- Start a pain journal – It’s helpful to document how the pain from your dump truck accident injuries affects your life. The best way to show the pain you have suffered and its impact on your quality of life is to start a daily journal. Be as specific as you can be about the pain you are experiencing and how it affects your daily activities.
- Talk to a lawyer as soon as you can – Texas law gives you two years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury suit. Hiring a lawyer as soon as you can mean you won’t run into any problems with the statute of limitations.
How to Prove Fault in a Dump Truck Accident
An experienced attorney can help gather evidence to prove fault in a dump truck accident. The attorney can go through police reports, photos from the scene, medical records, and seek other evidence to identify all potentially liable parties in the accident. An attorney can also review the dump truck driver’s records, such as the driving history, employment history, criminal history, and so on. Your lawyer can look at the relationship between the dump truck driver and their employer to see if the company who hired them may share in the responsibility for the crash.
Contact a Dump Truck Accident Lawyer
Do you have additional questions for an experienced dump truck accident lawyer? Herrman & Herrman has a friendly staff that can assist you in English or Spanish. The firm has offices in Corpus Christi, McAllen, San Antonio and Brownsville. Our legal team at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., would be honored to answer your questions and discuss your rights to seek compensation after a dump truck accident. Get a free case review today by calling our office at (361) 882-4357 or by visiting our contact page. Call today!