Dump trucks are a common piece of construction equipment. Unlike cranes, bulldozers, and backhoes, dump trucks are often completely street legal, and even drive on the highways. Commonly used to transport dirt, rocks, and rubble, the cargo these trucks carry can be extremely heavy and very loose. This can lead to injuries when the debris falls from these trucks and causes an accident, or when these large, heavy trucks hit other vehicles. People who work around dump trucks and dump truck operators are also at risk for injury due to the moving machinery and falling debris.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident with a dump truck, talk to an attorney. Especially if you lost a loved one to a dump truck accident, it is important to talk to an attorney to see what compensation you might be entitled to. In the case of a lost loved one, the damages from a wrongful death suit may be able to keep your family going.
Dump Truck Accident Causes
Dump trucks are most frequently used for construction, mining, or delivery purposes. These trucks often carry dirt, sand, stone, coal, or demolition debris to and from construction sites, mines, and power plants. This loose material can fall out of a truck bed if it is not properly secured by a tarp or if the truck is overfilled. This means that the dust, dirt, or rocks could fall off the back of the truck. At highway speeds, even smaller stones can cause severe damage to a windshield. Larger pieces of falling debris could punch straight through a windshield, injuring the occupants. Even if the damage is minimal, the driver could be scared into swerving, causing a severe accident.
Dump trucks are also extremely large, extremely heavy vehicles. This means that the driver’s sight is limited to what he can see through the front and side windows and with the side-view mirrors. With no rear windows to check the blind spots and no rear-view mirror to check behind, dump trucks are nearly blind to most of the road. The sheer weight of these trucks means that, in an emergency, they cannot turn as well or stop as quickly as a car. A large truck can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds on many roads, meaning its stopping distance could be up to around 20-times the normal stopping distance of a car.
Some dump trucks carry a dump trailer, which is much like a typical tractor-trailer’s trailer, but with the utility of a dump truck. This means that the truck faces the same dangers as a big rig due to the joint between the cab and the trailer. If the trailer fishtails, it can be difficult to control the vehicle. If the trailer folds against the cab, the truck could easily crash, drawing other vehicles into the pileup.
With roadside construction, the back of dump trucks often have signs warning of sudden stops. These stops are often made far too quickly, and without signaling. This can put drivers behind the truck in a tough situation where they have two choices: slam on the breaks and hope not to crash or be crashed into, or swerve around the truck and hope not to crash. These are unacceptable risks.
Finding Compensation for Dump Truck Accidents
Most large trucks on the road are owned by trucking companies. The US government and state governments create strict regulations for trucking companies, dictating maintenance schedules, limits on how long drivers can stay on the road, required weight limits, and other rules. Many trucking companies intentionally or negligently violate these rules, putting unsafe trucks and truck drivers on the road. These drivers become fatigued from driving too long, or their trucks break down from improper maintenance. If this is the cause of your injury, you might have a case against the trucking company.
When dump trucks are used for construction, the construction company may own the dump truck and hire its drivers, rather than a trucking company. These construction companies often carry insurance for accidents that occur during their construction operations. This insurance might extend to accidents caused by their dump trucks and other equipment. If not, the truck will still carry insurance that may be able to compensate you in case of an accident.
Construction workers and dump truck operators are also at risk for serious injury because of the moving parts and heavy materials in a dump truck. If you were injured by a coworker’s negligence, talk to an attorney about how you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
Experienced Trucking Accident Attorneys Ready to Help You Fight
The trucking accident lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm work throughout the country to help injured truck accident victims get compensation for their trucking accident injuries. For a free consultation on your case, talk to our attorneys today at (215) 709-6940 or contact us online.