Below is an introduction to construction truck accident cases. Without knowing what a specific client wants to learn about these accidents, there is too much to cover on this topic on one page. If your question is not answered in this article, you are invited to contact our law office for a free consultation.
The following is a short-list of different trucks that quality as construction trucks:
♦ Dump Trucks
♦ Cherry Pickers
♦ Cement Mixers
♦ Semi-tractor trailers
Common Construction Truck Accident Types
Below are some of the most common vehicle accidents that OSHA and other legislative bodies aim to control:
These type of accidents are quite common in situations where a sizeable constructive vehicle is involved. These usually occur because of a lack of attention and unsafe driving methods. They are incredibly lethal or dangerous, especially to the drivers and workers present inside the vehicles if they are not protected. On collision with smaller vehicles, even more, significant damage can be inflicted with what are referred to as crush injuries.
When the cargo is unsecured, it can fall out or spill from the vehicle, posing a considerable threat on all those present near the vehicle. When this happens on the highway, multiple party injuries may result, which will cause unique insurance policy limit issues.
These accidents involve striking a pedestrian who is kneeling, standing, or walking behind the vehicle. Such accidents usually occur when the drivers are unable to identify a pedestrian in the blind-spots or check their surrounding area before operating the vehicle.
Some drivers leave the vehicles in motion inadvertently. In this way, a pedestrian present on the ground or in the surrounding area can, unfortunately, be pinned between the construction truck vehicle and another object. These cases are often worth more due to more serious injuries which result from them.
Construction truck vehicles, especially dump trucks, are higher off the ground. This increases the probability of these trucks to top-over, mostly when its back is lifted from the ground.
Construction trucks are heavy, and even more heavy when they carry large loads. This weight makes it difficult for them to stop, and increases their braking distance, which can result in rear-end accidents. However, truck drivers should know this and account for this information. If they do not, it is likely they were negligent in the operation of their truck.
Many construction trucks have substantial blind spots. This makes it challenging for drivers to see anything directly behind the vehicle. The decreased visibility can cause various pedestrian, blind spot, and back-up accidents. It can also impact the truck driver’s decision to make a sudden stop, which can cause a car to be crushed underneath the rear of the truck.
Such an accident occurs if the tire experiences excessive heat, eventually causing the threads on the rubber tires to worn down. Extended use without proper tire changes can cause this, which would be a classic case of negligence.
This occurs in case the cargo is loose, unfastened, or improperly secured. Excessive speed of the vehicle or rough road condition can also cause this type of accident.
When the trucks are used extensively, or the accumulated mileage is relatively high, the trucks may require frequent and even expensive maintenance. However, it might not always be economical to complete this maintenance. Skipping maintenance to save money is negligent, and if this happened in your case your case is likely of high value.
If the dump box from the truck is open, then debris or any other material can fly off and hit your car. This should not happen, because regulations control and require that trucks carrying loose debris are covered with professional grade tarps. Even if a tarp was on the truck, a question remains as to whether it was properly utilized at the time of your accident.
State & Federal Regulations
Both the truck drivers and the trucking companies must follow the state and federal government regulations.
The federal regulations are monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). That body is responsible for dealing with truck driving, such as hours of service, the vehicle makes, and maintenance.
In the situation of a vehicle accident, if it is determined that the truck driver did not follow federal or state safety laws, then the failure to comply with the regulations can be strong evidence of negligence.
Researching the construction truck company’s history, and prior violations, can be critical in proving failures at the corporate level, and proving that can substantially improve the value of your case. Make sure to discuss this angle with your construction truck accident lawyer.
Construction Truck Accident Injuries
Truck accidents cause severe damages. By no means an exhaustive list, but the following are common injuries for accidents with large commercial construction trucks:
Commercial truck accidents almost always result in combination injuries, where you injury multiple body parts and in multiple ways. This will always increase the average value of your settlement and case worth.
Construction Truck Accident Case Preparation
Although both the rate of the deaths per truck mile of passenger vehicle occupants and the rate of deaths per mile of the large truck occupants have decreased since 1975, the problem is far from being resolved.
f involved in one of these accidents, you and your lawyer will want and need certain information to help your case. A shortlist of that information is below.
What to Do After a Construction Truck Accident
In case you are still at the scene where the accident occurred or if someone else was involved in the accident, here’s what you should do after a construction truck accident:
♦ Contact the police or any relevant authority to file the report.
♦ Gather information regarding the other party, such as the name of the vehicle’s company
♦ Collect evidence if possible. This may include eyewitness statements, photos, and other tangible evidence. However, if police are called and arriving to the scene, do not disturb any evidence or its location before the police arrive.
♦ Avoid discussing liability or the fault with the construction truck driver or anyone else at the scene.
♦ Make a list of the materials that might be involved in the accident, such as the haul or load of the construction truck vehicle.
♦ Try to recall the events that occurred before and after the accident. Make sure to REMEMBER them as best as you can but do NOT write them down. Why? Because it will be discoverable evidence that could hurt your case. Call a construction truck accident lawyer first, and send that lawyer notes or an email. That information will be protected by attorney client privilege.
What Does A Lawyer Want To Know When Investigating The Scene?
In investigating this type of collision, a construction truck accident lawyer will want to know:
♦ The safety features in the construction truck, such as backing and warning signals
♦ If the area near the truck was safe for maneuvering
♦ If the construction truck driver had proper training regarding how the vehicle operates
♦ If the construction truck driver had proper safety training
♦ If the safety systems like steering, braking, and warning alarms all were in adequately working condition
There is of course a lot more to a full investigation, but these are some key issues. We have special discovery requests we use for commercial truck cases – literally hundreds of specially crafted interrogatories, document requests, and requests for admissions, we use for commercial truck accident cases. The goal of these requests is to conduct a formal investigation and flush out all the evidence that can help maximize the value of your case.
Alcohol and Drug Testing
Under federal law, the FMCSA has made drug and alcohol testing mandatory on all the operators of commercial vehicles. The test can identify alcohol, cocaine, opiates, PCP, marijuana, and amphetamines. This test might occur during the following scenarios: suspicion, random testing, pre-employment, and post-accident.
Your lawyer will work to subpoena the records related to, and results for, this post accident testing. This can be a goldmine of helpful evidence that could win your case.
Construction Truck Identification Markings
FMCSA also makes vehicle markings mandatory, especially for construction truck vehicles. These may include the legal name of the company and the motor carrier identification number. These markings should be easily located during the daylight hours from 50 feet and should be in sharp contrast when compared against the background. If possible, collect this information from the construction truck at the accident scene.
Shared Liability in Construction Truck Accident Cases
This depends upon the situation and the overall case. The court will be interested in determining how much you were at fault. For instance, under comparative negligence, your responsibility in the accident is determined by comparing the driver’s carelessness with yours.
The degree to which you are liable for the accident will determine how much you have to pay in damages, or how much your recovery is discounted. Your state’s laws play a huge influence on the outcomes of the case, because different jurisdictions have different rules on comparative and contributory negligence.
What information do I need to tell my insurance company after the accident?
Here is a list of likely information an insurance adjuster will request following a construction truck accident:
♦ The time and date of the accident
♦ Any photographs or notes you might have regarding the incident
♦ The weather and road conditions if they are relevant to the incident
♦ The damages that have occurred, such as personal injury
♦ The extent of the injuries, as well as the cost you have paid in medical bills
However, it is worth repeating as we do in other pages that you should not be speaking with an insurance adjuster. That is a trap, and the adjuster will win that conversation 99% of the time. You should use a lawyer as a buffer between you and the insurance adjuster.
Construction Truck Accident Q&A
Are accidents involving construction trucks serious?
Yes, accidents with construction trucks are usually far more serious because of the size of the vehicle that you get into an accident with compared to the size of your own car. This means more force, more movement, and worse injuries.
Who do I hold accountable for my accident with a construction truck?
You can hold accountable the driver of the construction truck as well as the owners and operators of the truck company.
Why do I need an attorney for my construction truck accident case?
Construction truck accident cases involve big players in terms of insurance, defendants, and adjusters. These are not low-level auto adjusters from GEICO. These are sophisticated negotiators and litigators. They will fight claims on liability and damages, and they are effectively impossible to resolve fairly without a good lawyer.
Can I get a large settlement for my accident with a construction truck?
Accident cases involving construction trucks can cause serious injuries, and the more serious the injuries the more you get in your settlement payout, on average. There is also an intrinsic bias against large construction trucks, and a savvy lawyer can craft that to your advantage to increase your settlement payout.
What causes dump truck accidents to take place?
Some of the most common causes of dump truck accidents are a lack of training for the individual who is driving the truck as well as the potential for malfunction in the truck itself. Both of these help you establish liability. The latter (malfunction) may implicate additional defendants, including parts manufacturers, which can open the door to bigger insurance policies. All of this should be investigation in your construction truck case.
Can I hold the manufacturer of the truck liable if it is found the truck was defective in some manner?
Yes, you can hold the truck manufacturer liable if it can be shown the truck malfunctioned or was defective. This is because there are specific guidelines for safety and laws to protect consumers from defective products and this extends to trucks and the companies that make them. If you suspect this, contact a lawyer immediately so preservation steps can be initiated to make sure the truck’s condition is not altered after the accident.
What is the average settlement for a dump truck accident?
While this is not an easy question to answer without specific details about your injuries, many accidents involving large trucks like dump trucks lead to settlements that are well over $100,000.00 dollars. The instances where large truck settlements have been less than that have generally involved soft tissue injuries and side swipe collisions.
Does my case with a construction truck need to go to trial to be a fair settlement?
No, your construction truck accident case will not necessarily go to trial. Most cases are settled out of court and do not require any time spent in a trial. However, in our experience, you will need to push the ball pretty close to that finish line (trial) to get a fair settlement. If you settle early, you often times settle cheap. This is not a hard and fast rule – specific case evaluation is needed to figure out if this may be true for your case.
Los Angeles Construction & Dump Truck Accident Lawyers
If you need a dump truck or construction truck accident attorney, we invite you to call us for a free consultation. Whether your truck accident was in California, Texas, or Florida, you have nothing to lose by utilizing this free call.
We have recovered millions for injured victims, including multiple $1M+ recoveries. Our Los Angeles attorneys will fight to do the same for you, even if you are outside of Los Angeles.
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