Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. Articles What Texas Truck Accident Lawyers Should Know About Dump Truck Crashes

What Texas Truck Accident Lawyers Should Know About Dump Truck Crashes

By Christopher K. Fletcher  May. 13, 2020 7:25a

The dump truck industry is a 17 billion-dollar industry that employs over 95,000 people. A study of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Research File showed that between 1992 to 2007, 829 workers were killed in accidents involving dump trucks in the United States.* An accident with a dump truck can be catastrophic. With all this in mind, a truck accident lawyer in Houston, TX needs to be aware of the subtle differences between these and other commercial motor vehicle cases.

Why Dump Truck Accidents Are So Severe

Different dump trucks come in different sizes. The smaller ones may weigh 20,000-30,000 lbs. A Super Dump truck has a gross vehicle weight of 80,000 lbs. Even the small ones outweight the average car by 4-6 times when not loaded. Add a load of gravel or sand or chipped concrete and you might as well be colliding with a brick wall. Your car is going to come out on the losing end along with the occupants.

Causes of Dump Truck Accidents

There are many reasons that dump truck accidents may occur. Some of the reasons for dump truck accidents include:

  • Driver inattentiveness
  • Distractions while driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Failure to stop at intersections
  • Failure to maintain the dump truck brakes
  • Speeding to get the next load
  • Overloaded and overweight vehicles
  • Vehicles tipping due to dumping on uneven surfaces
  • Accidental dropping the trailer while maintaining the vehicle
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Backing when unsafe
  • Spilled or lost loads

Dump Truck Accidents Due to Losing Loads

One type of accident more common among dump trucks that other trucks is an accident caused by the truck losing its load. Improperly contained loads can blow and spill out of the back of open tops and poorly secured doors. You may have seen the signs on the back of trucks that warn you of falling debris. They often say something like: "Warning. Not responsible for broken windshields." Ever wonder if that sign is valid? It is not.

Texas law requires that all vehicles including dump trucks "shall be equipped and maintained …to prevent loose material from escaping by blowing or spilling." Texas Transportation Code 725.021. Failure to secure a loose load with a tarp, lid or other containing device can result in a fine of up to $500.00 in addition to civil liability. A dump truck company can no more disclaim their obligation to comply with this law than they could disclaim their obligation not to commit murder. Thus, if a dump truck loses its load and causes damage to person or property, they are responsible. However, it is your burden to prove that the damage came from their dump truck. And this may not be easy if the dump truck driver refuses to accept responsibility.

Talk to an Attorney

If you have been injured due to a dump truck accident, whether it struck your vehicle, hit you as a pedestrian, or lost its load causing someone injuries, get a free consultation with a truck accident attorney regarding your case. Most will offer a free consultation and many work on a contingency fee basis so that you do not pay anything unless the attorney makes a recovery for you.

*Reference: Mccann, Michael & Cheng, Mei-Tai. (2012). Dump truck-related deaths in construction, 1992-2007. American journal of industrial medicine. 55. 450-7. 10.1002/ajim.21028.

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