Dump Trucks Are In the News Constantly
These trucks are many times the size and weight of an average 5-ton car or another vehicle.
Usually in a dump truck accident with a smaller vehicle, the other vehicle will break up or be crushed because the dump truck doesn’t give. Depending on the speed of one or both vehicles when the crash occurs along with other factors, the other car’s driver and passengers have a greater probability of sustaining serious, disabling injuries or being killed than of escaping uninjured or with minor injuries.
Causes of Dump Truck Accidents
Dump trucks are used to haul loose material like concrete, gravel, and sand. There are many kinds of dump trucks, and the weight they’re able to haul varies. A standard dump truck uses a hydraulic lift to tilt the cargo carrier and dump the load. Some like a super standard hydraulic cylinder dump trucks can haul 26 tons or more.
Dump trucks are taller than most other vehicles, and in a collision the other vehicle frequently goes under the dump truck, causing serious injury or death to those in the car. Dump truck drivers do not usually sustain injuries unless the truck flips on its side, goes down an embankment or the driver is not belted in.
These huge trucks have much bigger blind spots and some, like the semi-trailer dumper, are considered more dangerous. Because of a high gravity center on the dumper vs low weight of the truck’s trailer, there’s danger of imbalance causing the truck to move or even tip over.
Because dump truck loads weigh tons, if a dump truck tips onto another vehicle, or a mechanical failure or an accident cause the truck to dump its load prematurely and the load lands on another vehicle the weight of several tons of material like gravel or concrete will almost surely cause disabling injury to occupants of the other vehicle(s), should they survive. The danger of dumping the trucks contents prematurely and without warning not only put the cars behind the dump truck at risk but a Side Dump Truck empties its load from the side and not the rear so that it could even dump its load on a vehicle or vehicles in the next lane.
Also, dump trucks sometimes hit pedestrians, bicyclists, or back over other workers at construction sites. There’s almost always news of a dump truck accident somewhere in the United States, frequently with fatalities if there’s another vehicle or vehicles involved.
What to Do After a Dump Truck Crash
Chances are that if you’ve been in a dump truck accident and you’re still alive you won’t be able to do much until after you go to the hospital. If you are conscious and able to do anything, call 911 and ask for medical attention. In the unlikely event you don’t think you’re injured, call 911 anyway. You may be in shock and it’s a very good idea to go to the hospital and be checked thoroughly.
Do not talk to anybody at the accident scene but police and medical personnel. Above all, don’t say anything about how you think the accident occurred or what you were doing at the time of the accident and don’t apologize or admit fault. Chances are you don’t remember anyway because you may be in shock if you’re conscious. If you are fortunate enough to be able to move around, take pictures, or ask if possible someone else traveling with you if they are able to take pictures at the scene using your phone. These pictures might include:
- Pictures of the dump truck and all vehicles involved;
- Pictures of the accident scene showing the lay of the land and where the vehicles came to a stop after the collision;
- Skidmarks on the road and other tangible evidence;
- The company name on the side of the truck;
- Your injuries, if possible.
If you are able, then get names/contact information from any witnesses, and find out if they have video or pictures of the accident that they took. Take down the names and badge numbers of police who respond. Most police officers will give you a card with their name and contact information to let you know when and how to obtain the police report. Don’t lose it.
Know that the dump truck driver’s employer will probably be alerted to the accident and will call their insurance company immediately. Insurance company investigators, who may pretend to be trying to assist you, will want information from you that could help them to deny or reduce your claim.
Call a trucking accident lawyer immediately, if you can. You will need somebody at the scene as soon as possible before:
- Evidence changes or disappears;
- Witnesses forget what they saw;
- Somebody tricks you into saying the wrong thing.
With your trucking accident attorney there you can tell people to direct questions to your lawyer. When you tell the insurance company you have a lawyer, they must immediately stop talking and dealing with you directly.
Proving Liability in a Dump Truck Accident
Because dump truck crashes cause grave injury and death one crash could mean paying millions to settle a claim or claims. Insurance companies don’t want to do this; they are in business to make a profit. Their insurance company will be alerted as soon as a crash occurs, so they can send a team of investigators out to the accident site.
The insurance investigation team will arrive at the scene and begin doing what they can to avoid responsibility for paying a claim. They may discuss the collision with the police and even offer some “helpful and neighborly advice” to the police and point the police in your direction as the cause of the collision. This is why you need a good lawyer in your corner protecting you and your interests at a critical time of any investigation – the beginning.
If you are a victim of a negligent dump truck driver you need somebody at the scene to investigate and shield you from the dump truck company’s insurance team.
Chances are the dump truck driver has been coached by the company he works for on what to do in case of an accident. This can include to avoid talking to anybody but police after an accident and not to admit any wrongdoing which may have caused the accident.
Investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at an accident scene to gather statistics for a report on why truck accidents happen, reported that one driver, who claimed he wasn’t fatigued, then dozed off at the accident scene.
If you are able, it would be good for you to call an experienced Trucking Accident Law Firm from the accident scene. You need somebody out there who is experienced in truck accidents and who is on your side to protect you from further harm.
Can the Driver’s Employer be Held Responsible in the Accident?
If the driver is an employee, not a contract driver, the company can be held responsible for any negligent actions the driver commits while on the job under the doctrine of Respondeat Superior (let the master answer). Other ways the company can be held responsible are:
- Inadequate dump truck training for drivers
- Cutting corners on safety inspections
- Exceeding legal limit for dump truck weight with cargo
- Pressuring drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines for hauling cargo
A company that hires contract drivers may still be held responsible if they do any of the following:
- Provide trucks that do not meet safety inspection standards
- Use unskilled, under-trained drivers
- Pressure drivers to haul oversized loads
- Promote driver fatigue with unrealistic deadlines for hauling loads
- Require a driver to do something like texting, or talking while driving
The company can also be held responsible for the collision and the harms and losses you sustained because of:
- Negligent hiring;
- Inadequate training or guidance for their drivers; or
- Not maintaining the truck in safe and operable condition.
The above are a few ways other business owners and persons besides a driver can be held responsible, or held liable if damages exceed insurance coverage. Dump trucks are mechanically complicated, and there are many ways an accident can occur. The truck parts manufacturer may be held liable for malfunctioning parts, and there may be others liable, depending on what the investigation reveals.
Before filing your case or claim, somebody with experience in investigating these matters should obtain all the facts and evidence regarding the dump truck accident.
Call Isaacs & Isaacs Truck Accident Lawyers Immediately
If you or somebody you love has been injured or killed in a dump truck accident you will need somebody with skill, experience, and commitment by your side to fight this battle with you. The insurance company will do everything it can to mitigate the cost of your settlement, or to deny you payment. Investigating these accidents can be expensive, and the trucking company does not have to release their records to you until after you file a civil lawsuit and demand the records and evidence in the discovery phase of civil litigation.
The insurance company may send an adjuster to your home or hospital to make a settlement offer in exchange for which you will have to sign a release of liability. These early offers to settle are usually just a decision to save them the money they would have to spend to defend the claim in court. Sadly enough, insurance companies often refer to these inadequate settlements they try to get on the cheap as “nuisance” offers. Be warned, however, that once you sign the release, you will forfeit your right to recover any additional damages from their insurance company or your own company so that the check from the insurance company may then be the only money you get for your pain and suffering and other damages.
If your injuries are worse than you thought at first, this could mean ongoing and devastating financial loss for you and for your family. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, can lead to additional injuries which may not be apparent for weeks or months.
Isaacs & Isaacs Truck Accident Lawyers Are on Call Day & Night
Dump truck accidents can happen at all hours and the sooner your legal team begins investigating your claim, the better your rights are protected, and the more money you are likely to receive. When you call Isaacs & Isaacs we can start immediately. We will:
- Listen to your story;
- Send a team of investigators to the accident scene;
- Obtain police reports;
- Obtain the driver’s record;
- Determine who is/are liable;
- Talk to the insurance company;
- Advise you on what to do;
- Help you fill out any required reports.
Isaacs & Isaacs will represent you on a contingency fee basis. We will bear the cost of the investigation and we won’t get paid unless and until we settle your claim or obtain an award of damages. If necessary, we will file a civil lawsuit in order to obtain all the evidence and records from the other parties involved. The stronger your case is, the more money liable parties including insurers will offer to settle it.
In most cases, especially when there is a criminal or grossly negligent act and you have evidence to prove it, liable parties do not want to roll the dice with a jury trial. Civil juries have been known to award millions in punitive damages (to punish wrongdoers).
Darryl Isaacs, the founding partner of Isaacs & Isaacs, is known as The Hammer. A reason folks call him that is because he is relentless in demanding that his clients receive every penny they have coming for their injury. Big companies do not intimidate him, and Isaacs & Isaacs law firm is a team of legal pros who are just as aggressive and dedicated as Darryl.
Call us now at 800-800-8888. We are here to help you when you need us.