Dump trucks can be involved in many of the most severe vehicle accidents. Due to their size and the way they’re built, if a dump truck gets into a collision with a passenger car, the smaller car will usually absorb most of the damage. A dump truck accident can often result in major damage to the car as well as serious injuries and even wrongful death issues.
What is a Dump Truck?
Dump trucks are specially designed commercial trucks used for hauling loose materials like sand, gravel, chunks of concrete, waste, and other items. A standard dump truck has an open-box back that carries the load. The box can be tilted using hydraulic lifts to deposit the materials, usually at a construction site.
A dump truck’s load typically weighs several tons — anywhere from 6.5 to 7.5 tons, or around 13,000 to 15,000 pounds. Some larger trucks can carry up to 25 tons or more. This gives you an idea of just how massive dump trucks are, how heavy they can get, and how difficult they can be to stop.
Dump trucks are unique because they can cause injury either through collisions or when the loaded materials spill onto the road. If you’ve been in a dump truck accident, there are several steps you can take to ensure that your accident claim is handled correctly.
Steps to Take After a Dump Truck Accident
If you’ve been in a dump truck crash, the first thing you should do is assess your health and seek medical attention, even if you think you feel fine. You may have sustained injuries that are not immediately detectable. These can get worse if left untreated.
While still at the accident scene, if possible, you should:
- Contact the police and file a report
- Gather contact info from the other party, including the name of the dump truck company
- Collect evidence if you can — this includes photos, videos, eyewitness statements, and any other important info
- Avoid discussing fault or liability
- Take note of the materials involved if the accident involved the dump truck’s load or haul
- Try to recall how the events unfolded and write them down as soon as you can
Contact an experienced dump truck lawyer at Fried Goldberg if you feel that you were injured due to the negligent or careless actions of the other driver. A damages award can help compensate you for costs like hospital bills and lost wages during recovery.
Dump Truck Crash Factors
Dump trucks have several features that increase the risk of a crash, even when compared to other commercial trucks like 18-wheelers. These unique factors can cause a dump truck crash, and may include:
- Height: Dump trucks are set higher off the ground than other trucks and vehicles. This puts them at higher risk for tip-overs, especially when the back is lifted. Accidents where a car slides underneath the truck are common, and can often be fatal.
- Weight: Dump trucks carry tons of materials, making them harder to stop and maneuver. Once they get moving, they can plow right through barriers and other cars.
- Driver visibility: Dump trucks have large blind spots, and drivers sometimes can’t see directly behind the vehicle. Visibility issues can lead to pedestrian accidents, back-up accidents, and blind-spot crashes.
- Driving formations: Dump trucks often travel in groups in a single-file line, occupying much of the roadway. This can increase the risk of an accident and can cause pile-ups as well.
- Merging issues: Failure to yield when exiting a construction site is a common cause of accidents. The “Trucks Entering Highway” signs that you see usually refer to dump trucks.
There are several different types of dump trucks, such as semi-trailer end dump trucks, transfer dump trucks, winter service vehicles, and other classes. These have different configurations depending on the exact tasks they are designed for. Accidents can vary depending on the type of dump truck involved. Garbage or trash trucks are often considered a type of dump truck.
Spilled Dump Load Accidents
Dump trucks are associated with road hazards that are highly specific to the loads they’re carrying. The materials in their beds can cause accidents and injuries even if the truck itself isn’t involved in a collision. Common dump load hazards include:
- Flying debris: The top of the dump box is usually open. Flying debris from the box can hit a car and cause damage to another car and can cause serious traffic accidents.
- Accidental opening or dumping: Dump boxes can spontaneously open or get dumped while the truck is in motion. Imagine the harm that several tons of gravel or rocks can do to the cars following behind.
- Side-opening failure: Certain dump trucks open on the side. If the dumping mechanism fails on these types of trucks, vehicles driving next to them can be hit in traffic.
- Bottom-opening failure: Other dump trucks release their loads from the bottom of the bed rather than the back. Materials spilled in this way can create skidding, sliding, and drifting hazards (especially with sand or gravel loads).
In many instances, a prematurely dropped haul can be the result of a mechanical failure or defect. So, depending on the circumstances, liability for injuries can be traced to:
- Truck manufacturers: If there are any defects with the hydraulic dump mechanisms
- Dump truck drivers: For instance, if they disregarded road rules or were negligent
- Dump truck companies: These can sometimes maintain poor safety standards for employees, or they may negligently hire drivers who have bad records.
Sorting out liability in a dump truck crash can be complicated and typically requires the assistance of a commercial truck accident lawyer.
Get in Touch with a Dump Truck Accident Attorney
Dump trucks perform many tasks that are crucial for building and construction. However, an accident with one of them can be catastrophic, and wrecks can frequently involve many cars. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash with a dump truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
Few attorneys and law firms have real experience litigating large commercial trucking claims, especially those involving dump trucks. The lawyers at Fried Goldberg have decades of combined experience litigating such cases. These have included an $8M verdict for a client involved in a motorcycle-dump truck accident, as well as a $641,000 verdict for a client who was injured by a broken-down dump truck.
Our team has the experience and resources needed to handle complex commercial dump truck lawsuits. Contact us today at (404) 591-1800 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We are here to listen to you and help you understand your options.