Construction Truck Accidents & Legal Considerations
Traveling through or near a construction zone often means that drivers must share the road with dump trucks, bulldozers, backhoes, forklifts, cranes, and other specialized vehicles and equipment. When a construction truck strikes a passenger car, even at a low speed, the occupants may suffer catastrophic injuries due to the size and weight of the construction truck.
Operating a construction truck requires specialized training, as well as careful attention. These cumbersome vehicles may not easily come to a stop or change direction. Reversing a construction truck may pose challenges due to problems with the line of sight. In general, these vehicles have relatively large blind spots, for which a driver must account. Failing to check a blind spot can be especially devastating when construction workers or other pedestrians are in the vicinity. Other construction accidents may arise from factors not involving the operation of the truck, including:
Errors in the production or design of the vehicle or equipment used to operate it
Imbalanced or excessive loads, which may lead to rollovers or falling cargo that strikes other vehicles or causes secondary accidents as drivers swerve to avoid the hazard
Pursuing Compensation After a Construction Truck Accident
Many accidents involving these vehicles result from dangerous behaviors by a driver. They may get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, for example, or they may succumb to distractions such as cell phones. Drivers also may operate construction trucks while they are overly fatigued after working excessively long hours. Any actions that show a lack of reasonable care under the circumstances can lead to liability.
In other cases, a driver may lack the proper training to operate a construction truck, and their employer should not have hired them for this job. A trucking company may be liable to an accident victim if it hired a driver who was unqualified or inadequately trained, or who had a record of serious safety violations. The company also may be liable for inadequate maintenance or improper loading of the vehicle. (A victim might be able to sue a third-party maintenance company or cargo loader as well.) Even if only the driver was at fault, though, a victim still could hold the trucking company liable if the driver failed to use reasonable care while they were on the job. This can improve the chances of recovering full compensation for serious injuries.
If a construction truck accident injures another worker at the construction site, they probably cannot sue the driver or the company for damages. Instead, they could recover workers’ compensation benefits, in addition to potentially bringing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.
Damages in personal injury lawsuits may account for economic and non-economic harm. A victim can get reimbursed for the costs of treating their injuries, as well as future medical costs that will be reasonably necessary. Damages also cover lost income and earning capacity, vocational rehabilitation, household services, property damage, and any other out-of-pocket expenses. In addition, a victim can receive compensation for their pain and suffering and emotional distress. If their injuries prevent them from pursuing activities that were important to them, they may recover damages for lost enjoyment of life.
Generally, a victim should not settle their case too soon. Many trucking companies and their insurers offer a quick but low settlement in an effort to resolve the matter efficiently. This may not provide fair compensation, especially since the full scope of the injuries may not have been determined. Before taking a settlement offer, anyone who has sustained catastrophic injuries should set up free consultations with truck accident lawyers in their area. Talking to experienced attorneys can help a victim assess the strength and value of their claim.