While they often go unnoticed, garbage trucks are a part of our everyday lives. No matter where you live, work or play, a garbage truck could be just around the corner at any time. Unfortunately, because of their size and limited visibility, when garbage trucks are involved in accidents with cars, motorcycles, or pedestrians, they can be deadly.
What is considered a garbage truck accident?
A garbage truck, sometimes called a waste collection vehicle (WCV), is a truck designed specifically to pick up waste and dispose of it in landfills or treatment facilities. Any crash where a garbage truck collides with another vehicle is considered a garbage truck accident.
Many of the alleys and streets that garbage trucks must service require them to back up once the trash is loaded. Unfortunately, many garbage trucks aren’t equipped with backup cameras, limiting their visibility and increasing the likelihood that garbage truck drivers will hit cars or people in their blind spots. Garbage truck blind spots are even larger than for other vehicles because of the loading arms that can obstruct a driver’s view.
The loads that garbage trucks carry also increase the danger they pose. Some trash will contain flammable or hazardous materials that can make a collision even more deadly. Additionally, garbage trucks are top-heavy, which can cause them to tip when making turns.
Should I contact my insurance company after a garbage truck accident?
Yes, you should contact your insurance company after a garbage truck accident to report the incident. Most car insurance policies include mandatory reporting provisions that require you to inform them of any crashes you are involved in, regardless of whether you are at fault.
Any time you’re involved in a traffic accident that involves property damage or injury, you should contact your insurance provider to inform them about the accident. However, you should not give a statement to the other party’s insurance company without first consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Can I sue someone for a garbage truck accident?
Yes, if you are injured in a garbage truck accident, you may be able to sue for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, the liable party could be the garbage truck driver, a private waste company, the garbage truck company, or an insurance company. Sometimes the at-fault party is crystal clear, but often, it’s a lot more cloudy. Since every situation is different, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer about the specific details of your accident to determine the best course of action for your case.
What is the typical settlement after a garbage truck accident?
There is no “typical” settlement after a garbage truck accident. Every case is different, and the settlement you can receive depends on the injuries you’ve suffered and other damages you incurred as a result of the accident. In personal injury cases, including garbage truck accidents, you usually can receive the most compensation for medical expenses incurred treating injuries from the accident, lost wages from when you are unable to work because of the accident, and your pain and suffering, which is compensation for the pain, discomfort, and disruption to your life caused by the accident.
You can also receive compensation for the following:
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and personal property
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries from the car accident impair your ability to make money in the future
- Additional compensation for injuries that result in scarring and disfigurement
In some cases, you may also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are additional compensation that goes above and beyond reimbursing you for your injuries and is meant to punish someone for their unacceptable behavior. If the truck driver was drunk, high, speeding excessively, or otherwise criminally negligent in causing the garbage truck accident, you might be entitled to receive punitive damages. You could also receive punitive damages if another party is liable for the accident and engaged in this type of behavior.
You could also be entitled to compensation if your loved one was killed in a garbage truck accident through a wrongful death claim. You can be reimbursed for the financial and emotional losses you suffered as a result of your loved one’s death, such as funeral expenses and the loss of earnings, emotional support, and companionship.
Do I need a garbage truck accident lawyer near me?
If you’ve been involved in a collision with a garbage truck, you should consult a knowledgeable garbage truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Garbage truck accidents are different from typical car crash cases and come with their own set of challenges, so it’s essential to find an attorney with a history of successfully handling these cases. Partnering with a garbage truck accident attorney who is familiar with the complex investigation process, liability issues in these types of cases, state laws, and federal regulations can increase the likelihood of recovering the compensation you are owed.
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