How Accident Cases with Cement and Concrete Trucks Work
To build our roads, foundations, and buildings, efficient and timely transportation of concrete is crucial. However, when drivers of concrete trucks drive carelessly, it can spell disaster for any motorists nearby. We at Grossman Law Offices recognize the importance of these vehicles, but we will not let negligent truckers or their employers deny their responsibility to those they harm.
In the following article, we will discuss the unique factors involved in crashes with cement trucks, including each potential defendant you would not otherwise see in a typical trucking accident. By knowing this information, you may not only handle the challenges ahead with greater ease, you will also be able to make the most informed decision regarding your options for legal help.
Questions Answered In This Article:
- What kind of compensation can I get after a cement truck accident?
- How are accidents with concrete trucks unique?
- Who is liable after an accident with a concrete truck?
- How can an attorney help me after an accident?
What Makes Cement Truck Accidents Unique
Cement trucks can experience the same types of accidents that an 18-wheeler would in a "normal" trucking accident, such as roll-overs, exploding fuel tanks, severe damage to all other vehicles involved, etc. Yet there are some distinguishing characteristics of cement truck accidents that make them, in many ways, worse than other incidents. These include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
- Uniqueness of the cargo being carried
- Exceptional ease of roll-overs due to the high center of gravity
- Need for exceptionally skilled drivers
Starting with the first point, we must understand that inside a mixer, concrete can harden within an hour and a half of being loaded. For this reason, concrete trucks are often speeding to and from locations, creating a potentially hazardous situation on the highway. Also, this risk can lead to some very dangerous situations should the concrete leak out of a damaged truck. Given its liquid state, it could cause vehicles to become covered by the mixture, forcing one's car to an almost immediate halt. In a hardened state, motorists could have a possibly lethal obstacle in their way. We've even seen some extreme examples in which the cement or concrete poured down onto another vehicle, trapping or even smothering the passengers inside.
To learn more about accidents caused by trucks carrying other kinds of hazardous material, check out this article: How Accident Cases Involving Hazmat Trucks Work
Leaving aside the risks of its contents, the cement truck itself presents no small threat in a collision. Weighing as much as 70,000 pounds when it is fully loaded, a collision with one of these vehicles is more than enough to injure someone for a lifetime. Due to the vehicle's design, it could get even worse than that. Both the shape and weight distribution of a concrete truck make roll-overs exceptionally common, and truckers have been known to turn over going less than 10 miles per hour. Because they have a high center of gravity - that is, a great deal of mass being elevated at a high location - the concrete truck's mixer could come crashing down with great velocity. Thus, concrete truck accidents are especially dangerous.
To handle such hazardous vehicles, the truckers in charge of these trucks are expected to be especially capable commercial vehicle drivers. Many of the skills expected of truckers--such as careful turning, controlling, and alertness--need to be that much greater when they are controlling cement trucks. Although one would like to believe that the commercial license exams are enough, trucking companies must also be sure that only their best agents are taking on such an enormous responsibility. If they fail to do so and a wreck results, the company could find itself shouldering the enormous costs of the injuries or deaths that result.
Nevertheless, the trucking company is not always solely liable for a plaintiff's losses. As the next section will explain, cement truck accidents in Texas or anywhere else can have their fair share of co-defendants, or perhaps other solo defendants.
When there is an accident, who is liable?
Unlike 18-wheeler accidents, the chain of command when it comes to a cement truck accident lawsuit are much more ambiguous. As we suggested earlier, the trucking company itself could be footing the bill, but due to all of the various companies involved in a cement-hauling trip, your legal situation after a cement truck crash will most likely be more complex than simply suing the owners of the truck.
First off, concrete trucks are almost always on the road due to business involving construction. Because of this, the trucker handling the vehicle could be under the direct employment of a construction company. Under the rules of the common law doctrine respondeat superior (Latin for "let the master answer"), the employer of an at-fault truck driver must shoulder the liability of their employee's careless acts. Normally, this would apply to a trucking company, but because construction outfits are usually the ones in charge of cement trucks, they would become the liable parties in cement truck accidents.
Some construction outfits anticipate this sort of liability, however, so what they might do to skirt past a possible lawsuit is hire the trucking staff on contracted status. If this applies to your case, suing the construction company could be out of the question if it can hide behind its contract, since contract workers don't share liability with their clients. Be that as it may, the contractor that hired the driver may still bear liability, so we at Grossman Law Offices will do what we must to make sure that the right employer answers for your personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Finally, a construction company or contractor might not be the only one liable. Instead, a product manufacturer could share the burden with one or both of them. Some concrete mixers on the backs of cement trucks are known to spin even when full, potentially spilling out their contents as a result. In other words, the "on" button is activated perpetually - even when the vehicle is in motion. In such instances, the manufacturer may find itself being sued under a product liability claim, but simply alleging a defect caused your injuries won't be enough. In either mediation or trial, your attorneys must prove that the mixer was both malfunctioning and caused your damages at least partially.
However, if you or a loved one were injured or killed by a cement truck with a malfunctioning concrete mixer, yet the mixer's malfunction didn't directly contribute to your loss, a product liability suit is out of the question. Chances are, though, that there is causation tied to that correlation, and you can be sure that our attorneys at Grossman Law Offices will put two and two together.
How can an attorney help after an accident?
In addition to the emotional pain and suffering you must be going through, the prospect of suing someone without an assurance of victory might make legal action seem like an overwhelming struggle, a even bigger financial burden, or perhaps an impossible goal. But with Grossman Law Offices, we can assure you of one thing: that you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses, and will not have to pay us anything unless we win. This gives us the drive and incentive we need to treat your case with the care, consideration, and attention it demands. In fact, this is a major reason why we win so often: our interest is in your victory.
Knowledge is power, and we hope that you are now armed with the power you need to pursue action against the liable parties in your cement truck accident. Get in touch with us at (855) 326-0000: our number is toll-free, and there is no fee for our initial consultation. Get Grossman Law Offices on your side and get started obtaining compensation for your losses today.
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