What to Do After a Car Accident With a Dump Truck
Every auto accident has the potential to cause lasting physical harm. In fact, these events can also leave lingering psychological scars. This is especially true when dump trucks are involved. Dump trucks weigh more than the average vehicle. They can also have large protrusions and heavy, ill-balanced loads at their exteriors. Although few people consider dump truck traffic accidents, attorney Matt Boulton has investigated a number of these cases in Indianapolis and neighboring cities. The following is everything you need to do if you’re in an accident with a dump truck.
Always Call 911 After an Accident With a Dump Truck
After every auto accident, it’s best to call 911. This is incredibly important to do when larger vehicles are involved. Making this call will give you the benefit of both emergency first responders and an official police report. If you’re able to, you can also take steps to document the scene of the event while waiting for the authorities to arrive. This can include:
- Taking photos of the accident with your cell phone
- Collecting the names and contact information of all firsthand witnesses
- Jotting down the details of the crash and the events that preceded it
The more evidence that you collect and preserve, the easier it will be to file and pursue your claim. Although the details of a dump truck accident might seem crystal clear right after the collision, these details fade with time. Jotting them down as soon as you’re able will allow you to remain consistent in your answers during future depositions and when speaking with attorneys or claims adjusters.
Never Admit Fault
When operated correctly, dump trucks should always travel and complete their lifting and dumping operations at fairly slow speeds. The recommended maximum operating speeds for these vehicles account for their large sizes and the dangerous, weight-bearing activities they complete. Whether slowing, stopping, or actually emptying waste bins, these trucks issue visual and audible alerts. This way, motorists know not to attempt passing them, traveling in their blind spots, or taking any other unnecessary risks.
However, a lot can go wrong when dump trucks become overloaded. Dump trucks can malfunction. Dump truck drivers can fail to adhere to important protocols. Among some of the most common causes of dump truck accidents are:
- Defective dump truck components
- Dump truck driver errors
- Imbalanced loads
- Malfunctioning lift equipment
- Automotive malfunction
Given their typically slow speeds and the audible and visual warnings they provide, accident victims assume responsibility for collisions. However, just like private motorists, professional drivers can make mistakes too. Dump truck drivers may be guilty of operating their vehicles while under the influence. They may be responsible for driving while distracted or operating their vehicles aggressively. Given the unique design of these vehicles, drivers make countless errors if inexperienced, tired, or ill-tempered. As such, until the accident has been assessed by professionals and an official report has been written, you should never admit fault to anyone. You may be surprised to discover that you’ve been hit by a dump truck with faulty brakes or other defective components.
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Seek Help From an Attorney
When you have an attorney assisting with your personal injury claim, this professional will consider all potential causes of your accident, including factors that you might not think of looking for. These can include:
- Non-compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations
- Insufficient underride protection or lack of underride protection programming
- Insufficient driver training
An attorney can additionally ask for a forensic crash investigation to determine whether critical truck components or systems were working properly at the time of the event. These and other assessments may show the other party as clearly at-fault. Unfortunately, if you hastily admit fault immediately after a dump truck accident, you will have already verbally undermined your claim.
Don’t Try to Shake Off a Dump Truck Accident
The relatively low traveling speeds of dump trucks don’t always mean that no injuries exist. In fact, given the weight of these vehicles and the massive impact forces that they have, you definitely want to receive medical care. Even if you’re sitting in a parked car when hit by a dump truck, the resulting rocking motion of your neck and head can cause serious physical injuries. No matter how minor your collision initially appears, always visit the emergency room right away.
Accidents that occur at slow speeds are often responsible for latent injuries. These are injuries that can take several hours or even several days to make themselves known. Keep in mind that shock and adrenaline can keep you from experiencing the pain of sprains, soft tissue injuries, and many serious musculoskeletal problems right away. Moreover, emergency room personnel focus on ruling out broken bones, deep cuts, or other life-threatening injuries. Thus, you should always follow up with your regular doctor.
You should also be seen by a chiropractor in the following days. Stiffness, soreness, and difficulty moving can develop several days after an accident with a dump truck. A chiropractor examines the health and alignment of your spine. Then, they perform comprehensive tests for detecting whiplash or other forms of joint dysfunction. Chiropractic care following a dump truck accident is one of the best ways to learn whether you have slipped discs, compressed discs, or pinched/compressed nerves.
Consider Your Mental Health
As an injury victim, you have the right to receive all the care you need for returning to your pre-collision condition. Surprisingly, this includes treatment for any mental health issues that your accident may have caused. If you find that you startle easily at loud sounds, have difficulty focusing or sleeping, or that you’re no longer able to comfortably operate an automobile, schedule an appointment with a mental health professional. You may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Much like your physical injuries, treat this issue before reaching any settlement.
Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers
It is the goal of claims adjusters to limit settlement amounts as much as possible. With dump truck accidents, they often cite the slow speeds of these vehicles. Thus, you may receive pressure to settle quickly. However, it’s important that all of your injuries have been diagnosed and treated before settlement negotiations begin. Latent injuries that arise after an early settlement offer has been accepted can result in additional time missed at work and additional medical bills. Worse still, once your case has been settled, you cannot request additional funds to cover these new costs.
Learn More About What to Do if You’re in an Accident With a Dump Truck
The best way to deal with aggressive claims adjusters after a dump truck accident is by referring them to your attorney. At the Boulton Law Group, we’ll make sure that your settlement accurately reflects the true value of your losses, damages, pain, and mental suffering. We have extensive experience representing dump truck accident victims. We know how difficult it can be to prove fault in cases like these, and we know how demanding insurance companies can be. Lastly, we take all necessary actions to hold the responsible party accountable. Best of all, we’ll handle all communication with insurance adjusters so that you can place your full focus on healing.