Dump truck accidents are no joke. These large vehicles carry a heavy load of materials that can cause serious road hazards if they spill. Being involved in such a collision can cause damage to your car and devastating injuries. This is why it is important to know what to do if you find yourself in a situation with an overturned dump truck and how an experienced Houston truck accident attorney can help.
Common Causes of Texas Dump Truck Accidents in Texas
While all commercial vehicles are a risk on the road due to their sheer size and weight, dump trucks are especially dangerous because they carry loose debris that can make a mess on the road that cannot easily be cleaned up. They also carry heavy loads—sometimes up to 50 tons—and cars that happen to be in the way if one overturns will not come out unscathed.
There are several possible causes of dump truck accidents. First, drivers are often working under stressful conditions that may compel them to use poor judgment. In Austin, for example, many dump truck drivers are self-employed. This means that the more loads they haul, the more income they bring in. A driver that is rushing to log more loads might not take the time to practice basic safety precautions, including:
- Following load weight limits
- Properly securing the truck loads
- Driving too quickly or carelessly
Some other causes of dump truck accidents include:
- Not allowing enough time to properly stop, resulting in a rollover
- Distracted driving due to feeling rushed or fatigued
- Reckless driving
- Poor training or negligent hiring of dump truck drivers who work for a trucking company
Injuries From Dump Truck Accidents
Injuries sustained in dump truck crashes are often severe. Some injuries that may occur if you are in a collision with one of these large vehicles include:
- Burns. A car can easily catch on fire if the impact is strong enough. Also, some of these trucks carry flammable liquids or materials that can cause a fire in a collision
- Broken bones. The impact of the accident can cause broken arms, legs, clavicles, noses, and more.
- Internal injuries. Internal bleeding and unseen injuries are not uncommon in such accidents.
- Crush injuries. Some victims of dump truck accidents become trapped in their cars due to the vehicle crushing in around them.
- Spinal cord injuries. This is a common and life-altering injury, often requiring years of rehabilitation and a lifetime of support.
- Amputations. Although terrifying to think about, limbs are sometimes severed in car accidents or need to be amputated after the fact due to severe injury or infection related to the accident.
- Death. Unfortunately, people can and do die in dump truck collisions due to both impact and hazards of the overturned cargo
What to Do After a Dump Truck Accident
If you are involved in a dump truck accident, you will likely feel overwhelmed and afraid. However, there are still important steps that must be taken to ensure your safety and preserve your case, should it go to court. If you are involved in such a collision, try your best to:
- Call the police. A police report should be filed for any accident.
- Get medical help. Go to the ER as soon as you leave the scene of the accident, even if you feel the collision wasn’t severe.
- Take photos of the accident scene. Your car, the dump truck, any debris on the road, or any other cars involved should be documented.
- Get witness information. Exchange information with any witnesses or those involved in the accident. Record statements on your phone if you are able to.
- Call an attorney. This is the most important step you can take, as it will save you time and stress while also ensuring you are financially protected.
Important Evidence in Dump Truck Accidents
Dump truck accidents are a bit unique because they involve huge amounts of often loose cargo and also because the drivers are often self-employed. Here are some of the questions your accident attorney will ask to help win your case:
Was the vehicle being operated correctly and responsibly?
Many cargo drivers feel rushed and overworked because they are paid per load and by the weight of their load.
Did the employer of the truck driver act irresponsibly?
If the driver is employed by a trucking company, that company is responsible for proper training, vehicle maintenance, and ensuring their employees are not overworked. Unfortunately, some employers actually encourage their drivers to drive too quickly and carry too many items.
Which insurance policies are involved?
When you are dealing with self-employed drivers, trucking employees, and your own insurance, it can get pretty hairy. It can be very difficult to determine whose insurance is liable for what coverage. This is why it is essential to get a lawyer involved.
While a dump truck accident can be a terrifying experience, there is hope on the horizon when you partner with a proven Texas accident attorney.