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Dump & Garbage Truck Accidents

by | Nov 30, 2021 | Blog, Truck Accidents | 0 comments

Garbage trucks can be dangerous to everyone else on the road. These trucks weave in and out of traffic to make their pickups, with frequent turns and lane changes. Garbage and dump trucks are massive vehicles with limited visibility for the driver. The operator often focuses on the stops that they need to make as opposed to safety.

These are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road. In addition, there is cargo that can fly off these trucks, such as rocks from a dump truck or small pieces of debris from a garbage truck. If someone else was to blame for your accident injuries, you can recover financially for the harm that you suffered.

Despite the Dangers, We Need Garbage Trucks

Financial Recovery Dump & Garbage Truck Accident

It often seems like garbage trucks are a necessary inconvenience. The tradeoff that we make for timely pickup of garbage is the danger that these large trucks pose to everyone else on the road. Dump trucks present unique risks, especially because many of these trucks are either poorly maintained or loaded.

The trash collection companies may not have properly screened or trained the drivers of these large trucks. The result injures thousands of people each year in accidents with garbage or dump trucks. When these trucks are at fault for the accident, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation. First, you need to call an experienced truck accident attorney.

The Different Trucks on San Antonio Roads

There are numerous types of garbage and dump trucks on the road these days. Of course, residential trash gets picked up by San Antonio once each week.

Besides that, you may see these trucks on the road:

Garbage trucks can work in four primary ways:

  1. Front loader garbage trucks
  2. Side loader garbage trucks
  3. Rear loader garbage trucks
  4. Roll-off trucks

The average garbage truck can weigh 50,000 pounds, and that is before they carry any waste. They can haul loads of waste between 20,000-30,000 pounds. Fully loaded, these trucks weigh the same as a tractor-trailer. In addition, they have large blind spots on their sides. The chances are that these are far more primitive vehicles than tractor-trailers, and they lack some of the sophisticated accident avoidance technology that other roadworthy trucks have.

Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents

Here are some common causes of garbage and dump truck accidents:

  • Inexperienced drivers who do not know how to handle such a large truck on city streets
  • Truck drivers cutting off and hit other drivers when they pull over to make a pickup
  • Inattentive drivers who have other distractions behind the wheel, such as texting
  • Distracted drivers who do not know where they are going
  • Equipment failure on the truck because of a faulty part or poor maintenance
  • Poor visibility because truck drivers cannot see into their very large blindspots
  • Tired drivers because they work shifts with very early hours

Common Types of Garbage and Dump Truck Accidents

Garbage truck accidents can happen in many ways.

Here are some common types of garbage or dump truck accidents:

  • Debris can fall off the dump truck or garbage truck and strike a car. This is especially dangerous when it hits the driver’s windshield. Dump trucks often have loose gravel and rocks that can crack or break a windshield, causing a driver to lose control of their car.
  • Trucks can clip or hit vehicles when they are making a turn to pick up garbage.
  • Garbage trucks may stop short when they realize that they need to make a pickup and can rear-end cars in front of them.
  • Garbage trucks often change lanes, and every lane change can be a possible accident, depending on how well the driver sees.

For dump trucks, the truck itself can be overloaded and tip over.

Garbage and dump trucks are large vehicles. When you have been in an accident with them, the chances of serious injury are the same as in any truck accident. The chance of severe injury is greater when they are traveling at a higher speed. Based on 2017 federal government statistics, you have a greater than 50 percent chance of being injured in a garbage truck accident.

How to Recover Financially for a Garbage Truck Accident

Recovery in a garbage truck accident case is complicated. This is not because it is difficult to prove that someone else was responsible for your injuries. It is more because you need to know the proper entity to sue in your case. Numerous entities collect garbage in San Antonio.

The city has a municipal garbage collection system. Unlike many other cities, San Antonio does not outsource its garbage collection services. Instead, the San Antonio Solid Waste Management Division provides garbage services. In addition, various trash haulers serve residences and businesses in the city.

Special Rules for Suing the City of San Antonio

When you have suffered an injury in an accident with an SWMD truck, special rules apply to your case. SWMD is a municipal division, so you are suing a government agency. Cases against government entities in Texas do not work the same as if you are suing a private plaintiff. There are special rules that apply to your lawsuit, and if you do not know them, you can lose the right to sue.

You can file a lawsuit against the government when they commit a tort. They do not get away with injuring people through their negligence. However, there are certain protections that the government has in a lawsuit.

The Texas Tort Claims Act governs all lawsuits against governments in the state. The TTCA will apply to cases against the SWMD. This law allows you to file lawsuits for auto accidents with vehicles from government entities.

You must meet two requirements to file a lawsuit against SWMD for a garbage truck accident:

  1. Their employee was acting within the scope of their employment.
  2. Had the employee committed the act as a private individual, they would be liable.

The TTCA requires that you give the city of San Antonio notice of the claim. You have six months from the date of the accident to give notice. You file a lawsuit in state court in Bexar County. When you are suing a municipality, there are damage limits that apply. You can recover $250,000 per person for bodily injury, or $500,000 per occurrence (meaning that two people can recover up to $250,000 each, or multiple people can recover less than that).

City lawyers see claims against San Antonio. They are often highly skeptical of claims. If they do try to settle the case, they can operate like any insurance company in terms of underpaying your settlement. They may also use similar tactics as insurance companies, such as trying to contact you to force a statement or pressure you to accept a settlement.

Suing a Third Party Hauler for Your Injuries

Other jurisdictions in the surrounding areas will contract out with private trash haulers to pick up the garbage. You can sue waste disposal companies. If you have suffered an injury in an accident with a private trash hauler, there are no such special rules or damage limits. You will proceed as if you were filing a lawsuit against any trucking company. The company itself will be legally responsible for the actions of its drivers.

You can anticipate a large corporate insurance policy against which you can recover financially. Since injuries in these accidents are usually not minor, you can count on a larger settlement if the truck driver was at fault.

Dump truck accidents present unique considerations and concerns. These are large trucks that are often coming to and from construction sites. They may injure or kill construction workers on the job site, or a worker may have been negligently loaded some of their cargo from the worksite. Dump truck drivers may not always follow safety regulations.

Filing a Lawsuit for Garbage or Dump Truck Injuries

Several plaintiffs can file garbage truck or dump truck cases. The most common plaintiff is another motorist and their passenger where a garbage truck hit their car. In addition, sanitation and hauling workers have also been injured or killed in these accidents. Sometimes, Their own trucks run them over.

In these cases, the usual rules about suing employers and filing workers’ compensation claims apply. If the company has workers’ compensation insurance, then the only remedy in almost all cases is to file a workers’ compensation claim. However, workers’ compensation is not a legal requirement in Texas, and many large companies do not have policies. Then, an injured employee can sue their employer, and they can receive damages for things like pain and suffering and full lost wages.

Possible Defendants in a Garbage or Dump Truck Accident

Besides the sanitation company, the other possible defendants in garbage and dump truck accident cases include the manufacturer of the truck or truck part that caused the accident. Injured motorists can file a product liability lawsuit against the truck manufacturer if the vehicle was defective.

Regardless of whether the accident was with a municipal or corporate truck, each claim needs extensive investigation before you can be in a position to file it. Given the tight deadlines, this investigation will need to conclude in a short time. This is why you need to call a lawyer right after your accident.

The Evidence Your Lawyer Will Use to Prove Your Case

There are so many things that can cause garbage or dump truck accidents, from driving errors to more systemic failures, such as poor training. The key is that your attorney needs to hone in on the cause of the accident quickly to put you in a position to recover. They must also quickly figure out who owns the truck.

To investigate the accident, your lawyer may:

  • Review any available camera footage of the accident
  • Obtain the driver’s records to see if they have a poor safety record
  • If there is a company involved, investigate their corporate practice and safety compliance
  • Speak to people who witnessed the accident and record their recollections
  • Hire accident reconstruction experts who can recreate the crash
  • Forensically investigate the accident damage to see how the impact happened

What to Do After a Garbage or Dump Truck Accident

If you have been injured in a garbage or dump truck accident, you need to do two things. The first is to get the medical care that you need to both diagnose and treat your injuries. Even if you did not suffer injuries that required emergency and extensive treatment, you should still see a doctor. Without a diagnosis, you cannot recover financially for your injuries. You should have documentation of your diagnosis and course of treatment to present with your claim.

You should also call a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. This started you on the legal process, so you can get the money that you deserve more quickly. Left to your own devices, you may make a mistake that can harm your claim. Not only is your attorney your advocate, but they are also your protector when someone’s actions threaten your legal rights. Finally, important accident evidence can get lost if you do not act quickly to investigate the accident.

Your case is too important and your claim too valuable to not do everything that you can to protect it. Calling a lawyer will not cost you anything because the consultation is free, and we do not collect payment unless you win your case. Reaching out as soon as possible is vital to preserve evidence and give you leverage against the trucking company and its insurers.