Dump trucks provide an important service to the manufacturing and construction industries. Their rugged open truck bed, which is often operated with hydraulics, is specially designed to efficiently transport and dump materials like sand, gravel, woodchips, and rocks.
But just because it’s a useful and well-designed commercial vehicle doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with dangers when on the road. In fact, some of the unique features that make it such a boon on construction sites and industrial environments also make it a special threat when on the roads.
At Max Meyers Law, we are all too familiar with the common types of dump truck accidents that occur in the outlying Seattle area as well as across Washington State, and we’re committed to helping victims of these crashes get the compensation they need and deserve.
Below, we’ve collected some general information about WA dump truck accidents that may help you or your loved one better understand if you should speak to a lawyer.
4 Main Reasons Why Dump Truck Accidents Happen
Why are dump trucks so dangerous to other vehicles on the road? There are several different reads that can add up to disaster.
- Dump trucks are large and heavy. While a standard car might weigh around 3,000 pounds, these trucks can weigh up to 60,000 pounds when fully loaded. The result is that when a passenger vehicle and a dumper collide, the truck always wins, often resulting in significant damage even at low speeds and in simple fender-benders.
- Loose or excessive cargo. The deep bed of a dump truck is filled with various materials that can shift during transport, causing a rollover accident. Various debris might also fly out of the truck and into the road or onto other vehicles, causing serious hazards. Some operators might also overload the cargo bed, which is illegal.
- Dump trucks are difficult to maneuver. They have a lot of blind spots and a wide turning radius. It’s often difficult for an operator to avoid collisions, especially when backing up.
- Proximity to other motorists. Finally, unlike large commercial semi-trailers, you’ll find more dump trucks in environments with smaller roads and denser populations, including residential areas. This creates more opportunities for accidents, especially involving cyclists and pedestrians.
Here’s a more comprehensive list of some of the more common types of dump truck accidents in Washington State:
- Overloaded trucks or unbalanced loads
- Unsecured loads
- Blind spots and back-up accidents
- Maintenance issues and mechanical problems
- Wheel-off incidents
- Rollover accidents
- Faulty brakes
- Distracted drivers
- Unlicensed or untrained drivers
- Reckless driving and speeding
- An operator driving under the influence
- An operator who’s tired or falling asleep at the wheel
Common Dump Truck Injuries
As stated, the size and weight of a dump truck result in more serious accident injuries and more property damage than passenger vehicle crashes. Because of this, individuals involved in dump truck crashes may face serious consequences that not only include extensive hospital bills, significant lost wages, and long rehabilitations, but also pain and suffering, long-term disability, and changes in quality of life.
Some of the more common injuries sustained in dump truck accidents include:
- Concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and nerve damage
- Fractures and broken bones
- Neck and back injuries
- Blunt force trauma
- Damaged or punctured organs
When dump trucks collide with bicyclists or pedestrians, the outcome is often catastrophic and even fatal.
Who’s at Fault for Your Dump Truck Accident?
Accidents can happen fast. And if your life was in danger, it can be extremely difficult to recall or understand what happened, especially if you experienced a serious injury during the incident.
On top of that, the at-fault party or parties in your dump truck accident may not even be present. It could be the company that trained or hired the driver, the employer of the driver, or the owner of the truck. Never assume who was at fault for an accident without first looking into the whole story.
The at-fault party of your dump truck accident could be:
- The dump truck driver
- Their employer or the truck owner
- The company that maintains the dump truck
- The construction company using the vehicle
- A parts manufacturer
- The municipality responsible for road design or maintenance
- Another driver involved in the collision
In a dump truck accident, it’s also possible there’s more than one at-fault party. The best way to better understand it all and who is responsible for the subsequent damages is to speak to a Washington State accident attorney about the specific details of your case. At Max Meyers Law, our team delves deep into investigating all angles of commercial vehicle accidents.
Possible Damages for a Dump Truck Accident and Injury
If you were injured in a dump truck accident because of another party’s negligence and those injuries incurred losses that affect your finances and way of life, you may be owed compensation. In our evaluation of your case, we include all related economic and non-economic damages, such as:
- Medical bills, including future medical bills
- Lost wages, including the inability to work in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages
If a dump truck accident resulted in the loss of a loved one, Washington state law allows certain family members to make wrongful death claims against negligent persons.