Cement trucks are important modes of transportation that keep city infrastructure booming. These trucks carry cement in their signature massive cylinders. Cement has many purposes, such as foundations, bridges, roads, and ports. You’ve probably seen these vehicles on the road or parked at construction sites. Unfortunately, these trucks also cause accidents.
If you or a loved one was injured in a cement truck accident, our thoughts are with you during this difficult time. We know you are facing challenges. Medical bills are piling up, and your income has probably decreased from the time taken off work. A cement truck accident lawyer at Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C. can help. If the accident was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation.
What Makes Cement Trucks so Dangerous?
Although they serve a vital role in the community, cement trucks are also very dangerous. New Mexico doesn’t track many specific cement truck accident statistics. But it does have statistics for heavy trucks, which include cement trucks. In 2021, the Traffic Safety Division of the New Mexico Department of Transportation reported almost 3,000 crashes involving heavy trucks (over 10,000 pounds). There were 85 fatalities. Although heavy truck accidents made up only 7.2% of crashes, they made up 17.6% of fatalities.
Here are common reasons cement trucks are dangerous:
- Easy to roll over. Because cement trucks can weigh almost 60,000 pounds, they are hard to manage. Because of this weight, it is common for them to roll over.
- Hard to stop. Cement trucks require longer distances to stop because of their massive size. If the truck is going too fast or has to stop suddenly, bringing the truck to a sudden stop is tough.
- Axels can break. The axles support the weight of the truck. They can fail if they are not fixed correctly or in poor condition.
- Cargo can escape. In an accident, the cement might spill out onto the roadway. This can cause devastating consequences for other cars.
Because of these dangers, parties responsible for the cement truck must take reasonable care. If they do not and an accident occurs, you may be entitled to compensation.
Which Parties Are Responsible for Cement Truck Accidents?
No two cement truck accidents are alike. However, common liable parties include the following.
Cement Truck Driver
The driver’s negligence is a common catalyst for cement truck accidents. Examples include violating traffic laws, driving under the influence, and distracted driving. Both federal law and New Mexico law mandate that the blood alcohol concentration for commercial truck drivers is no more than 0.04.
The truck driver’s employer can be held liable in two different ways. The first is vicarious liability. If the cement truck driver is an employee, the employer can be liable for the driver’s negligence. But the employer is generally not vicariously liable if the truck driver is an independent contractor.
The employer can also be directly liable. Failure to provide adequate training can trigger liability for the employer. If the employer pushes their employees to manipulate their hour logs, this also makes them liable. Federal law mandates truck drivers to stick to a specified hourly schedule.
Companies typically keep their cement trucks on schedule for routine maintenance and service. If the maintenance company fails to detect a problem or replace worn-out parts and the oversight causes an accident, they can be liable.
Truck or Part Manufacturer
Truck manufacturers have a duty to correctly build and design a truck or part of a truck. If they do not, then the manufacturer can be held liable.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover?
The compensation for a cement truck accident depends on the case’s individual facts. You can receive the following damages:
- Economic damages. These damages are measurable numerically, such as medical bills and lost wages.
- Noneconomic damages. On the other hand, noneconomic damages include damages that cannot be measured numerically. This includes pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
- Punitive damages. These damages are not meant to compensate you, the victim. Instead, their purpose is to punish the responsible party and deter future negligent behavior.
The best way to calculate the full damages to which you may be entitled is to consult with an experienced cement truck accident attorney near you,
How Do I Prove My Cement Truck Accident Claim?
Like all personal injury claims, a cement truck accident claim is based on the negligence doctrine. Negligence refers to the failure of a person to act with the ordinary care a reasonable person in a similar situation would have used. You must prove the following elements:
- Duty—you must prove the other party owed you a duty;
- Breach of duty—you must prove the other party breached that duty;
- Causation—you must prove the breach directly caused your damages; and
- Damages—you must have incurred damages (e.g., physical injuries, emotional distress, lost wages).
Your New Mexico cement truck accident lawyer collects the evidence to prove your negligence claim.
What Evidence Is Used in a Cement Truck Accident Claim?
Common evidence used by a New Mexico cement truck accident attorney to prove negligence includes:
- 911 report from the accident,
- Witness statements,
- Photos of the accident scene, and
- Medical bills.
You can also collect data from the black box if the truck company uses one. A black box records data during the drive. Depending on the type of black box, it may be able to record the truck’s speed, the use of brakes, or tire pressure. This can be used to explain how the crash happened.
Is There a Deadline to File a Cement Truck Accident Claim?
Yes. You must generally file a personal injury claim within three years of the accident date. A claim filed after this deadline will be dismissed.
Contact a Cement Truck Accident Lawyer Now
Being the victim of a cement truck accident can be emotionally traumatizing. And now you’re wondering how to oversee a lawsuit and recover from your injuries. Don’t worry. At Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., we understand that you are overwhelmed. We can take the lead with your cement truck accident claim. We will navigate the claim process with skill, respect, and compassion, so you can focus on your family and your recovery. Contact us now for a free consultation.