I Was Hurt in a Dump Truck Accident — What Now?
Dump trucks: they’re everywhere on construction sites, usually hauling waste, stones, and other debris. Many people don’t realize that dump trucks, with their unusual designs and loose, heavy loads, are highly dangerous and prone to causing devastating dump truck accidents. And when a passenger vehicle gets in a crash with a dump truck, the passenger vehicle always takes the worst of the impact.
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident with a dump truck and the truck driver or trucking company was responsible, an attorney may be able to help you receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Dump Truck?
Dump trucks are different than other large trucks. They’re uniquely designed to haul loose materials like gravel, sand, or chunks of concrete. The back of the truck is an open box and can be raised or lowered using hydraulics. Depending on their design and the load they’re carrying, dump trucks can weigh upwards of 15 tons — a weight 12 times as heavy as the average passenger vehicle.
A dump truck’s lack of maneuverability and instability create a unique hazard on a roadway. Dump trucks can cause wrecks either by colliding with other vehicles or spilling their heavy, dangerous cargo. And getting in a crash with a dump truck often causes serious injuries.
Common Causes of Dump Truck Crashes and Who Is Responsible
Many different factors can cause a dump truck crash. Examples include:
- Dump truck design: A dump truck’s load sits higher off the ground and can be extremely heavy, which makes the vehicle difficult to maneuver. These issues can overwhelm inexperienced drivers. In extreme cases, dump trucks can tip over, spill their contents, and cause severe damage to nearby vehicles and pedestrians.
- Driver error: Dump trucks are bulky vehicles with many blind spots, and dump truck drivers frequently cause accidents due to inattentive mistakes, distraction, or fatigue. For example, if a driver isn’t paying attention, it’s easy for them to cut off a small car when merging on the highway.
- Driving under the influence: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea, and the dangers become even more extreme when the vehicle you’re driving weighs 15 tons. When dump truck drivers choose to get behind the wheel while drunk or drugged, they can cause devastating collisions that injure or kill other drivers.
- Accidental dumping: Dump trucks vary in design, and the open box dump bed may open from the back or side depending on the design. When these mechanisms malfunction, the truck can dump its load when the driver did not intend to — sometimes all over the road, causing catastrophic damages to surrounding vehicles.
- Defective components: Defective parts can cause trucks to crash, break down, or lose the heavy cargo they’re hauling. However, uncovering signs of defective parts is a complex process. Finding a defect and showing how it caused a wreck usually requires the expertise of a truck accident lawyer.
- Dump truck company negligence: Sometimes, dump truck companies hire drivers and then fail to provide adequate training or instruction. When this happens, the company is liable for injuries that result.
- Flyaway debris: When debris flies off the top of a dump truck, the flying rocks, trash, or concrete can cause thousands of dollars in damage as well as injuries to nearby drivers.
What to Do After a Dump Truck Crash
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a crash with a dump truck, there are steps you can take to protect your future and make sure you have the financial resources you need to recover. Here’s what to do:
Call First Responders
After a crash, call 911 right away. If you’re unhurt and don’t need to go to the hospital, make sure everyone is out of harm’s way and then wait for the police. When the police respond to your call, they’ll create a police report, which will document the police officer’s opinion about what caused the accident. This report can provide vital evidence if you decide to file a truck accident claim.
Get Medical Attention
Even if you didn’t need emergency treatment and don’t feel like you’re hurt, you should still go to the doctor after a crash. Some injuries, like back injuries or injuries to the brain, don’t present symptoms right away but start to become more severe over time. Tell your doctor about the crash, ask them to give you a full examination, and make sure to mention any pain or new sensations you’re feeling.
Preserve the Evidence
After the crash, take as many pictures as you can of your car, the scene of the crash, and any injuries. Even a simple cell phone picture is enough to help your attorney better understand exactly what happened.
Later, write down everything you can remember about the crash. The facts of what happened may seem clear now, but you’ll forget details over time, so it’s best to record them before your memory fades.
While it helps to preserve any evidence you can, it’s also normal to feel unsure about what you should look for after a crash and what can make for evidence. That’s why trying to gather and preserve evidence yourself is no substitute for an investigation from an experienced truck accident lawyer. The best approach is to just document as much as you possibly can and let your attorney go through everything.
Get the Police Report
Most likely, you will have to follow up with the police department that responded to the crash to get a copy of the police report. If you haven’t done this yet or aren’t sure how, your attorney can help you.
Call a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
The sooner you contact an attorney, the stronger your claim will be and the better your chances are to get compensation for your injuries and losses. A fast investigation is critical for truck accident cases since evidence can disappear over time.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
After a dump truck crash, you’ll likely hear from a representative for the dump truck’s insurance company. These conversations usually lead to lowball settlement offers for dump truck crash victims. If the insurance adjuster pressures you to accept a settlement or sign anything, don’t do it without consulting an attorney first. Once you have an attorney, tell the insurance company that you’re represented and that they should contact your attorney for any questions or information.
RELATED: 7 FAQs About Truck Wrecks and Victims’ Rights
How to Choose a Dump Truck Accident Attorney
Dump truck crashes aren’t like other types of vehicle accidents. The vehicles carry heavy, loose loads and have a unique design. If you’ve been hurt by a dump truck, you need a lawyer with experience and understanding of the trucking industry as well as the tenacity to explore every option when pursuing justice on your behalf. The attorney should be able to listen to your story and then answer your questions about how they handle dump truck cases and what they recommend in your specific case.
Seattle Truck Law Is Ready to Fight for You
If you’ve been injured in a dump truck accident or other large vehicle crash, please call the Seattle Truck Law team at (866) 580-4878 or use our online contact form to set up your free initial consultation with our attorneys today. When you choose us to handle your case, you won’t pay any fees or expenses unless we get you compensation for your injuries.
Please don’t delay in contacting us. Time is of the essence in a personal injury case, and the sooner you contact our attorneys, the greater advantage we will have in gathering evidence, investigating your claim, and advocating on your behalf.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.