Dump trucks are a common sight at construction sites, work zones, and on the highway as they race between jobs. These trucks were designed to haul material, such as torn out debris from a home reno or gravel to be used as the foundation for a driveway. Dump trucks are such a common sight that many people might not know they are dangerous. At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we are prepared to help anyone hurt in an accident with a motor vehicle, including a dump truck. Our Atlanta truck accident lawyer provides some basic information about these cases in this article.
How Dump Trucks Work
Dump trucks have a large “box” in the back which carries raw materials like gravel or sand, or else gets filled with debris. The box can be lifted by activating a hydraulic system. Lifting the box serves a basic purpose: it allows gravity to pull the material out of the back.
Dump trucks are short and squat, but when the box is lifted their center of gravity shifts. A dump truck operator should ensure the truck is on level ground and stable before lifting the box, otherwise the truck could roll onto its side. Any material stuck in the box can also lead to imbalance.
A key concern with dump trucks is ensuring the material doesn’t blow out of the back. The box almost never has a built-in cover or lid. Instead, the operator usually ties a tarp over the material in the box so that debris doesn’t go flying as the truck races at high speed along the highway.
Common Dump Truck Accidents
An accident could happen almost anywhere, including construction zones or job sites, but even out on the road while the truck is traveling to a location.
These are some common accidents we see:
- Collisions. A dump truck could collide with another vehicle on the road or even strike a pedestrian. Backing-up accidents are a real risk, because the driver can’t see immediately behind the vehicle. There is a sizable blind spot back there, and the truck might not have a rear camera. Many collisions are the fault of negligent truck drivers, who are distracted or in a hurry to reach their destination. Consequently, they crash into unsuspecting motorists or pedestrians.
- Rollovers. A dump truck is prone to rolling over when the box is lifted. When material gets stuck, the truck could become incredibly unstable, landing on someone working near the truck.
- Flying debris. When there is no tarp (or a tarp is negligently placed over the box), then debris goes flying all over the road. Large pieces of debris could smash through a car window and impale a driver. Debris can also force a driver to take immediate defensive action, leading to multi-car pileups.
- Accidental spills. A worker or other individual could get under and buried under material if the trucker opens the box too soon.
Injuries Are Serious
Dump trucks are large and heavy, and they carry dangerous cargo in the back. We aren’t surprised that many victims suffer horrifying injuries, such as:
- Crushed limbs or organs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries
Although minor injuries might heal on their own, many victims need surgery and several nights in the hospital to recover.
Who You Can Sue
These accidents are expensive. Many victims immediately call our firm to ask if they can pursue a claim for compensation. We are happy they called us. Our firm can jump in and review the facts. If someone was negligent, or if the truck was defective, you have a basis to sue.
Based on our analysis, we might negotiate a settlement with any of the following:
- The dump truck driver. Many accidents stem from negligence, such as speeding, failure to observe surroundings, distraction, and dangerous behaviors. A dump truck driver should have a commercial driver’s license, but many of them lack experience. They also face pressure to get jobs performed quickly, which leads to mistakes.
- The trucker’s employer. The truck driver is probably employed by a construction company. We can typically sue an employer when their worker injures someone on the job. That means we can negotiate with the employer’s liability insurer.
- The owner of the truck. A different entity might own the truck. If the vehicle is defective or dangerous, we might sue them for allowing it to be driven.
- Truck manufacturers or mechanics. Defects also cause accidents. As an example, the hydraulic lifts on the box could fail, causing a rollover. In that case, the trucker probably did nothing wrong—it’s a mechanical defect which is to blame. We might sue a mechanic for failing to make repairs or the manufacturer if the truck was defective right off the assembly line.
What Steps to Take after an Accident
Someone buried in gravel might not be able to do anything. With luck, they are pulled out before they suffocate. But if you can move around following an accident, please remember to:
- Call the police and report the incident.
- Take photographs of damage to your vehicle or the truck lying on its side.
- Document the truck’s license plate number if debris comes flying off a truck and the trucker doesn’t stop.
- Swap personal information with any trucker who stops after a crash.
- Receive prompt medical care by going to the emergency room and following through with all recommendations, including physical therapy.
- Avoid giving any type of recorded statement to a trucking company or its insurer until you have spoken to an attorney.
Call an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney
Accident victims benefit from experienced legal help following accidents with dump trucks. At Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, we can share information about how to document your injuries and pain, which increases the likelihood of receiving a fair settlement. We will also gauge the strength of your claim, and whether your own negligence in any way will reduce the size of your settlement.To schedule a consultation, please call us at (404) 529-3476 or contact us online.