Dump trucks are a common sight around Winchester, transporting materials to and from construction sites. Anyone doing a major home repair will probably see a dump truck pull up to take away debris. Because of their size, these vehicles can seriously harm anyone caught in their way. If you were injured in a dump truck accident, call Correll Law Firm to speak with our Winchester truck accident attorney. You quite possibly can sue for compensation.
What Are Common Dump Truck Accidents in Winchester?
Dump trucks are very squat with a low center of gravity. But when they extend the box, the center of gravity suddenly shifts upwards, and they are more prone to tipping over.
The purpose of raising the box is to allow gravel or sand or debris to pour off the truck. Gravity does the work. But some material could be stuck in the box and not pour properly. When that happens, the truck becomes very imbalanced, and it is prone to tipping backwards or onto its side and crushing someone standing nearby.
A rollover is like a tip-over but happens when the vehicle is in motion. When the box is filled, dump trucks become very top heavy. That creates problems for dump trucks which are turning. If the driver goes too fast, the vehicle can slide onto its side and land on nearby motorists.
When a dump truck is moving at high speeds, debris can come flying out of the box. That happens sometimes when a truck is carrying broken boards or trash from a home. The debris can strike a car on the road, damaging the vehicle. Other motorists will quickly take defensive action not to get hit—and end up slamming into other motorists, possibly setting off a chain reaction.
Some dump truck operators are in a hurry to get to their destination or to the dump. They might run a red light or fail to yield. Intersection collisions include:
Rear end crashes: A speeding dump truck can slam into the back of your car as you wait for a light to change.
T-bones: An operator who refuses to yield could crash into the side of your car.
Overrides: In this horrifying accident, the truck rides onto your smaller vehicle, often crushing occupants and destroying the vehicle.
Backing Up Accidents
Dump trucks have large blind spots behind them. A trucker who is backing up cannot see anyone immediately behind the vehicle, like a pedestrian trying to get by. Most dump trucks make a sound when the vehicle is in reverse. This alarm is a warning to pedestrians to get out of the way. Unfortunately, some truckers will run over a person.
Injuries Associated with Dump Truck Accidents
Motorists and pedestrians can suffer significant injuries:
- Concussions or whiplash. Accidents generate incredible force, which can whip a person back and forth, leading to these injuries.
- Fractures. Motorists might break a bone in their arms, legs, or ribcage. Rib fractures cause many complications, including organ damage.
- Back injuries. Common injuries include fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, and spinal cord or nerve damage.
- Crush injuries. A heavy weight landing on a limb can damage tissue, nerves, and bones. Sadly, damaged skeletal muscle can result in a life-threatening condition called “crush syndrome” or rhabdomyolysis, which occurs when toxins released from the muscle tissue impair the kidneys.
- Amputation. Many people lose a limb due to crush injuries, which can cause serious psychological trauma.
Who is Responsible for a Dump Truck Accident?
If you were injured in a dump truck accident, you’ll want to know if you can sue anyone for compensation. These accidents often send people to the hospital for surgery or the intensive care unit. Our clients typically seek money for damage to their cars, hospital bills, pain and suffering, and income loss.
If the dump truck operator is at fault, you can sue the driver and their employer. In Virginia, an employer will have automatic liability whenever their employee negligently hurts someone while working.
Many dump truck operators are at fault because they were:
- Driving while distracted
- Failed to use mirrors
- Improperly loaded the box
- Negligently raised the box
- Failed to use a tarp to cover material in the box
In other accidents, the dump truck owner has sole responsibility because the truck was unsafe to operate. As an example, the hydraulic lifts on the truck could be in disrepair, which makes raising the box unsafe and leads to a preventable tip-over.
Protect Yourself after a Dump Truck Accident
Anyone injured in an accident should do the following:
1. Report an accident promptly to the police department. An officer will create a police report for the crash. This report is especially important if multiple vehicles were involved in a crash due to flying debris.
2. Avoid saying anything that sounds like you accept responsibility. Virginia remains one of the few states allowing contributory negligence as a defense. You can lose the power to get any compensation if you are even a little at fault for your accident. For this reason, don’t say anything which sounds as if you are accepting blame.
3. Ensure you receive proper medical care. If you need a lift to the emergency room, call 9-1-1 and request help. Otherwise, go to the hospital as soon as you are finished at the scene of the accident.
4. Avoid negotiating with a trucking company on your own. The dump truck company, or its insurer, could contact you to discuss settling the accident. They have no incentive to make a fair offer. Instead, they often dangle a very small settlement and hope you are desperately in need of cash. Hire a lawyer to review a proposed settlement before agreeing.
Call Correll Law Firm Today for a Consultation!
Our firm is always eager to hear from accident victims. We understand how confusing the claims process can be, and our Winchester truck accident attorney will explain what to expect in a consultation. To set one up, please call us today at 540-535-2005 or submit your information online.