Dump trucks are often used for cargo that includes loads of sand, gravel or even construction debris. Unfortunately, these vehicles have unique crash risks that create a high risk of injury to pedestrians, bicyclists, construction workers and occupants of other vehicles.
At Anderson & Cummings, we explain how dump trucks are different from other commercial vehicles and discuss some of the key risks they pose. We also provide tips on how you can avoid being injured by a dump truck, garbage truck or other utility vehicle.
Injured in a crash due to truck driver negligence? Our experienced Fort Worth truck accident lawyers are prepared to help. It is important to note that the lawyers for trucking companies often show up at the crash scene. Hiring an attorney as soon as possible helps to ensure you have someone fighting for you and protecting your rights.
We charge nothing to discuss your situation and determine if you have legal actions. There are also no upfront costs or fees to pay.
Request your FREE case review today. Call (817) 920-9000
What Are Common Causes of Dump Truck Crashes?
Dump trucks are not like other commercial trucks. They are still heavy and large, which means the damages they cause are greater, but there are many different types of dump trucks. Some are larger and heavier, like semi-trailer dump trucks. Others, like side dump trucks, are often used for site prep, excavation and construction purposes. Regardless of what type of dump truck is being used, they have unique characteristics that can make a crash more likely.
The most common causes of dump truck crashes include:
Increased Risk of Tipping
Due to their size and shape, dump trucks have a high center of gravity. The taller, narrower shape makes it easier for these vehicles to tip over. When the truck exceeds the recommended load capacity, the risk of a dump truck tipping is even greater. Even if a dump truck is not overloaded, it can tip if the cargo has been improperly loaded.
Operating or overturning on uneven terrain or sloped surfaces creates another tipping risk for dump trucks. Their top-heavy weight makes them much safer when operated on flat surfaces.
Bigger Blind Spots/Poor Visibility
Due to the way these trucks are built, drivers often have poor visibility, especially when they are reversing. Even if the vehicle has a backup camera, there are larger blind spots. The driver’s lack of visibility could result in the truck hitting a person, cyclist, vehicle or other object that gets in its path.
Inexperienced Drivers/Inadequate Training
Improperly trained drivers, or those with little experience, are more likely to cause a crash. Taking a turn too fast in these top-heavy vehicles, for instance, could cause them to tip.
Drivers need to understand:
- How the size and weight affect the vehicle’s ability to maneuver
- Industry safety regulations regarding the use of heavy machinery
- Proper operating procedures to reduce the risk of tipping
- Extra precautions that are needed when operating these vehicles
Not Accounting for Safety on Uneven Roads and Slopes
Dump trucks are more safely operated on flat surfaces. Being on uneven terrain, especially while loading or unloading cargo, increases the risk of tipping. Overturning on an uneven or sloped surface could also cause a dump truck to tip over.
Driving With the Dump Body Raised
The dump body lifts in order to position the container to dump the gravel, sand or other cargo. If the truck is driving with this dump body in a lifted position, it further increases the risk of tipping.
Dump trucks, like any vehicle, need proper maintenance to ensure they can be operated safely. For instance, failing to maintain a dump truck’s tires. Like any vehicle, exceeding the recommended load weight impacts the traction and stability of a dump truck. This is especially true if the vehicle is carrying cargo. Not maintaining the recommended tire pressure or replacing worn or damaged tires could result in a blowout. The sudden imbalance could cause a dump truck to tip.
Other vehicle parts of a dump truck that require regular maintenance include the following:
- Hydraulic system
- Dump body
- Suspension system
- And more
Who May Be Liable for Damages From a Dump Truck Crash?
As with any type of truck crash, there may be multiple parties who are liable for your damages. Often driver error plays a significant role in a dump truck crash, such as:
- Being distracted by texting or something else
- Ignoring proper safety regulations
- Failing to account for weather or poor visibility
- Being impaired by alcohol, drugs or even prescribed medications that cause drowsiness
- Operating the truck while drowsy
That said, the driver may not be the only party liable for your damages. In a dump truck crash, other liable parties may include:
- The truck owner or trucking company
- Those responsible for maintaining the truck
- The crew responsible for loading the truck
- Truck inspectors
- And more
Should I Talk to the Trucking Company or Their Lawyer?
If the trucking company’s lawyer shows up at the crash site, do not speak with him or her. After any accident, crash victims are still in a state of shock. In this situation, injured victims may end up saying something that could hurt their claim.
With a truck crash especially, trucking companies may often call their lawyers to the crash site even before the wreckage is cleared away.
If the attorney for the truck driver is at the crash scene, they will be hoping you make statements that may sound like an admission of fault. For instance, you might say things like:
- I’m sorry
- I probably should have been paying attention
- I meant to stop sooner
You will have to give a statement to the responding police officer but be sure to keep it short and stick to the facts. Let the crash scene investigators do their job and determine fault.
Can I Pursue Compensation if I Was Hit By a Dump Truck?
You may be eligible to seek compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and other damages after a dump truck crash. However, as the injured victim, you have the burden of proving negligence occurred and how that negligence caused you harm and resulted in damages. These crashes are extremely challenging and you will also likely be up against the trucking company’s attorneys.
At Anderson & Cummings, we strongly recommend seeking legal help. Our firm has been helping injured victims for decades, including those injured in dump truck crashes. We know how to gather evidence that builds a strong case on your behalf. We also know all the potential parties who could share liability for your damages.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Dump Truck Injury Claim?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a dump truck crash claim, or any other car accident claim, is two years from the date of the collision. However, you should not wait to call an attorney for several reasons:
- Crash scene evidence gets cleared away pretty quickly
- Camera footage, if available, may get overwritten in days to weeks following the accident
- Building a strong case involves a thorough investigation, which also takes time
- Negotiating for full and fair compensation for your damages also takes time
Contact Our Law Offices to Discuss Your Dump Truck Crash Injuries
Dump truck crashes can leave victims with catastrophic injuries they may never fully recover from. In addition to the physical and emotional damages, victims also face the unexpected financial burden of mounting medical costs.
Contact our law offices to discuss your situation today. If we represent you, there is nothing for you to pay up front or out of pocket. We only get paid if you do.
Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call: (817) 920-9000 today.