Garbage truck accidents can cause serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a garbage truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, losses, and damages. An experienced garbage truck accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and options.
What Causes Garbage Truck Accidents?
There are several potential causes of garbage truck accidents:
- Driver error – Garbage truck drivers may drive negligently by speeding, tailgating, running red lights, ignoring traffic signs, or driving while distracted or fatigued.
- Mechanical failures – Brake failure, tire blowouts, steering issues can cause the driver to lose control. Lack of proper maintenance may be to blame.
- Blind spots – Garbage trucks have large blind spots around the truck that make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists.
- Backing up accidents – Since garbage trucks make frequent stops to collect trash, they have to backup often. This increases the risks of back up accidents.
- Hazardous waste – Improperly secured hazardous materials can leak, spill, or explode and cause an accident.
- Load shifts – Shifting garbage loads can affect the balance and handling of the truck.
Common Garbage Truck Accident Injuries
Garbage truck accidents can cause:
- Head and brain injuries – Concussions, skull fractures, traumatic brain injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries – Paralysis due to spinal cord damage.
- Broken bones – Fractures, dislocations, crush injuries.
- Internal organ damage – Lung damage, organ lacerations, internal bleeding.
- Amputations – Limbs can become crushed under tires or compactors.
- Death – Accident victims may be fatally struck or crushed.
- Psychological trauma – PTSD, anxiety, depression.
Liability in Garbage Truck Accidents
- Driver negligence – The garbage truck driver’s actions like speeding or distracted driving.
- Trucking company negligence – Failure to properly train, supervise drivers, or maintain vehicles.
- Government liability – If a city garbage truck is involved, they could be liable for driver negligence or truck maintenance issues.
- Manufacturers – If a mechanical defect or failed part caused the crash, the truck or part manufacturer may share liability.
Damages in Garbage Truck Accident Claims
You may be entitled to the following damages:
- Medical expenses – Bills for hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation.
- Lost wages – If injuries prevent you from working.
- Loss of future income – If disabilities are permanent.
- Pain and suffering damages.
- Property damage – Repairs or replacement for damaged vehicle.
- Wrongful death damages – Funeral costs and loss of companionship.
Garbage Truck Accident Lawsuit Process
If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, the process typically includes:
- Investigation – Gather police reports, safety records, maintenance logs.
- Identifying liable parties – Drivers, companies, manufacturers who may be at fault.
- Calculating damages – Medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering amounts.
- Negotiation – Your lawyer will first try to negotiate a fair settlement.
- Filing a lawsuit – If no settlement is reached, your lawyer will file a lawsuit.
- Discovery process – Collecting evidence like testimony, documents for trial.
- Trial – If no settlement is reached before trial, your case will go before a judge.
- Settlement or verdict – Case is resolved by settlement or jury verdict.
Why Hire a Lawyer for a Garbage Truck Accident?
It’s highly advisable to hire an experienced garbage truck accident attorney. Here’s why:
- Determine liability – Lawyers have resources to investigate who’s at fault.
- Deal with insurance companies – Lawyers can negotiate with insurers.
- Calculate damages – Lawyers determine the full compensation you deserve.
- Follow laws and procedures – Lawyers handle the complex legal process.
- Prove negligence – Lawyers must prove the other party was negligent.
- Examine evidence – Lawyers determine what evidence will support your claim.
- Represent you in court – Lawyers handle litigation and trial if necessary.
How to Choose a Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer
When choosing an attorney for a garbage truck accident case, consider these tips:
- Specialization – Look for lawyers focusing specifically on truck accidents.
- Experience – Choose a lawyer with extensive experience handling similar cases.
- Resources – Select a law firm with the financial resources to undertake your case.
- Record of success – Ask about the lawyer’s track record obtaining settlements and verdicts.
- Personal rapport – Make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer.
- Fee structure – Find out if they work on a contingency fee basis.
- Reputation – Research reviews and references. Choose a respected attorney.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the garbage truck driver always liable in an accident?
A: Not necessarily. While in many cases the truck driver is at fault due to negligence like speeding or distractions, other factors like mechanical failure or hazardous road conditions may play a role. A full investigation determines liability.
Q: Can I still pursue a claim even if I was partially at fault?
A: Most states follow comparative negligence rules, meaning you can still recover damages even if you were partially responsible. Your compensation amount would be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
Q: What key evidence should be preserved after a garbage truck accident?
A: Witness statements, photos of the accident scene, video footage if available, police reports, truck maintenance records, and your medical records. Your lawyer will preserve evidence.
Q: How soon after the accident should I hire a lawyer?
A: As soon as possible. Lawyers need time to investigate trucking companies, compile evidence, and start settlement negotiations before deadlines. Delay could negatively impact your claim.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a garbage truck accident lawyer?
A: Most work on a contingency fee basis, meaning legal fees are deducted from any settlement or award you receive. You pay nothing up front. If no recovery is obtained, you owe no fees.
Q: How long does it take to resolve a garbage truck accident lawsuit?
A: It depends on factors like negotiations and the court system. But typically these complex cases take 1-2 years to resolve. Your lawyer will work as quickly as possible.
Q: Can I pursue compensation from someone other than the driver?
A: Yes, compensation can also be sought from the trucking company that employed the driver if their negligence contributed to the accident.
- Garbage truck accidents often inflict severe, life-changing injuries.
- Multiple parties like the driver, truck company, manufacturer or government may share liability.
- Experienced truck accident lawyers can prove negligence, maximize compensation and handle negotiations, trials and complex legal procedures.
- Never assume an accident was « unavoidable. » Consult a qualified attorney to protect your rights. With legal help, you can obtain the best possible outcome.