Garbage trucks provide a crucial residential service. Unfortunately, garbage truck accidents can and do happen in California and throughout the United States. Most garbage trucks weigh between 15 and 32 tons, over seven times the weight of a passenger vehicle. When small passenger vehicles collide with a massive garbage truck in an accident, the passenger vehicles often become crushed, resulting in severe injuries or even death. Pedestrians are particularly at risk in garbage truck accidents. Additionally, garbage truck drivers themselves can become injured from defectively designed or negligently maintained trucks or when a negligent passenger vehicle collides with their truck.
If you or your loved one have suffered an injury in a Los Angeles garbage truck accident, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Our lawyers represent individuals and families who’ve suffered financial and emotional losses from California garbage truck accidents. The sooner you speak to a lawyer about your case, the better. We have the experience and resources to investigate your case and advocate for your rights. Whether you plan to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, we will assertively represent your best interests throughout the process. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.
Garbage Truck Accidents Are More Common Than We Realize
Nobody anticipates being involved in a garbage truck accident. Garbage trucks are far too common in neighborhoods all over California, and garbage truck accidents are far more common than most people realize. In 2018, a train carrying Congress members collided with a garbage truck, resulting in one fatality and several injuries. In 2017, a garbage truck accident occurred in Tempe, Arizona, resulting in serious injuries involving three young children.
According to the Solid Waste Association of North America, there has been an unprecedented uptick in fatalities related to recycling and garbage truck accidents. In 2017, over 100 people died, and over 1,400 people became injured in garbage truck accidents. Garbage truck accidents are far more deadly than passenger vehicle accidents, and 25 percent of those seriously injured or killed in garbage truck accidents were sanitation workers. Investigators reported that municipal and city-owned waste management trucks seem to operate more safely than private garbage truck companies.
Common Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents
Due to the slower speed of garbage trucks, passenger vehicles may let their guard down and try to drive around parked or slow garbage trucks. Additionally, garbage trucks move unpredictably, making frequent stops as they drive. Bicyclists, children, pedestrians, and other drivers are at an elevated risk of colliding with a garbage truck, especially in residential neighborhoods. Garbage trucks are among the most dangerous commercial trucks because they are often driving very early in the morning in dark conditions. When drivers see a garbage truck, they often stop in the middle of the road instead of pulling over in an attempt to save time. Stopping in the middle of the road is dangerous, especially when distracted garbage truck drivers fail to stop in time and rear-end the stopped car. In addition to accidents caused by the height and weight of the garbage truck, several other factors contribute to garbage truck accidents, including the following:
- Distracted driving
- Defective or malfunctioning vehicle parts
- Driver errors
- Driving while intoxicated from drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy and fatigued driving
- Inexperienced driving due to a lack of training
- Poorly maintained garbage trucks
- Defective, missing, or damaged back-up alarms
- Failure to monitor surroundings
- Refusal to yield to bicyclists and pedestrians
- Malfunctioning brakes
- Equipment failure related to the dumpster loader
Garbage truck drivers are required to follow California traffic laws. They cannot go down the wrong way on a one-way street, cross over into bicycle paths, or take up over half of the road. When garbage truck drivers violate traffic laws and cause accidents, they are liable for the injuries caused by the accident. Garbage truck accident victims can file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. When the garbage truck is city-owned, the victim may file a claim against the city for his or her injuries.
Sanitation Worker Injuries
Sanitation workers are in a vulnerable position. They often work early in the morning when it’s dark outside, and they are always at risk of being injured by distracted drivers. People are more likely to be jogging, walking their dogs, gardening, or leaving for work or school when garbage trucks are on the road, increasing the likelihood of a dangerous accident. When sanitation workers become injured due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. According to the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA), there are many different ways sanitation workers can become injured on the job, including being:
- Crushed by the garbage truck compactor
- Trapped between the garbage truck and another vehicle
- Run over by the garbage truck
- Crushed by the bed of a dump truck
- Struck by a garbage truck driver who is backing up
- Injured after falling off a garbage truck
- Crushed between the hydraulic hoist cylinder and tank
- Crushed by the hydraulic door
- Crushed after falling beneath the wheels of a garbage truck
- Crushed between a garbage truck and a trash dumpster
- Thrown from the back of the garbage truck
- Struck by an elevated dumpster
- Crushed by the mechanical arm of the dump truck
- Struck by a passenger vehicle
Contact Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers Today
If your loved one has been injured or killed in a garbage truck accident, you may be wondering what you should do next. You will need to prove that the negligence or wrongful conduct of the at-fault driver caused your injuries. If a garbage truck driver caused your injuries, you might be able to bring a lawsuit against the city or company that employed the driver. The most important thing you can do is speak to an experienced lawyer who will advise you of your legal rights. Contact SoCal Injury Lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation.