If you were injured in a vehicle accident caused by someone else, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for your damages, which include medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and pain and suffering due to the wreck. If you’re unable to obtain a fair settlement through the insurance claims process, you may file a personal injury suit and take your case to court.
Garbage Trucks Cause Serious Damage When They Crash
If you happen to be struck by a garbage truck while you’re in a smaller passenger car or SUV, you’re likely to suffer worse property damage and more serious injuries than you would if you were hit by a vehicle of a size equivalent to yours. If you’re a pedestrian who’s hit by a garbage truck on the street or sidewalk, you could suffer catastrophic or life-threatening injuries. In either case, your insurance claim will be an expensive one that the truck driver’s insurance company will try to dispute or deny in order to save money. For this reason, your chances of receiving fair compensation for your damages are significantly better with the help of an experienced lawyer than they are without one.
Types of Garbage Trucks
Modern refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) include:
- Grapple trucks
- Roll-off trucks
- Compost trucks
- Hazardous waste trucks
- Recycling trucks
- Rear-, side-, and front-loading garbage trucks
- Pneumatic collection trucks
All these models are huge and heavy, weighing about 30,000 pounds empty and capable of holding 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of waste. Their size, weight, complexity, and big blind spots make them hard to handle. They are permitted by law to drive on the wrong side of the street and to idle in the middle of the road. They stop and start abruptly and continually throughout the day, sometimes traveling in reverse. For these reasons, they require trained and experienced drivers for safe operation. Even minor negligence on the part of a driver could lead to a serious accident resulting in catastrophic injuries for the victim.
Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nearly one-third of garbage truck accidents result from failure to properly check blind spots, “blind” reversing, and insufficient warning sounds or signals. Other causes of crashes include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver fatigue
- Speeding or reckless operation
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Defective equipment
- Poor truck maintenance
- Weather and road conditions
To determine what caused your accident, an experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate your case thoroughly, sometimes with the help of an accident reconstructionist. Your lawyer can also obtain crucial data from the truck’s “black box recorder,” dashboard camera, and other onboard recording devices. Your attorney can then take appropriate action against one or more possible defendants who could share liability for your damages.
Potential Defendants in a Garbage Truck Crash
Defendants in a garbage truck accident might include one or more of the following:
- The garbage truck driver
- A private waste collection company that employs the driver and/or owns the truck
- The truck’s manufacturer or a manufacturer of replacement parts
- A mechanic or repair service that maintains the truck
- A government agency if trash collection is provided by a municipality
Some municipalities hire private trash collection contractors, while others own garbage trucks and provide trash collection directly to residents of the city or town. In the latter case, the agency providing trash collection could have governmental immunity to prosecution for injuries or damage it causes. Such immunity can make it hard for you to file a successful claim for compensation even if the garbage truck driver or owner is clearly at fault. The conditions of liability for government agencies are laid out in the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). Your attorney will be familiar with the TTCA and determine whether and how to go about seeking compensation from a government agency for your damages.
What to Do If You’re Struck by a Garbage Truck
If you’re physically able to do so immediately after a garbage truck wreck, you can protect your damage claim and help your lawyer help you by calling 911 to report your accident, taking photos of the truck and the accident scene, exchanging insurance, and contact information with the truck driver, getting contact info from any witnesses, seeking medical attention immediately, notifying your own insurance company, and contacting a truck accident attorney. Do not apologize or admit any fault to anyone, and do not communicate with the truck driver’s insurer. Refer all calls and messages to your lawyer.
Have You Been Injured in a Texas Garbage Truck Crash?
Consulting an experienced truck accident attorney is your first step toward justice. Contact us online, start a chat, or call us at 281-688-6880 to schedule your free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.