As Texas becomes increasingly urban and congested, the sanitation needs of a growing population mean that there are more trucks than ever on the road hauling the refuse of modern civilization. To many people, garbage trucks are a part of the essential background noise of society, easily ignored as a part of the machinery of our lives. But the reality is that garbage trucks are large, dangerous machines—and getting into a car accident with one can be both painful and costly. Here’s how those accidents can happen and what you can do to avoid them, the damages you may be able to receive after an accident, and why you should get legal help if you’ve been hurt.
How Garbage Truck Accidents Happen
Accidents with garbage collecting trucks are surprisingly common. These huge, lumbering vehicles can be a real hazard on the road, and drivers need to be well-trained to avoid causing wrecks. There are several common scenarios where garbage trucks and their drivers can be held responsible for accidents, including:
- Unsafe maneuvers. Garbage trucks stop both fast and often and frequently make wide turns, so you should always be cautious around them. But the truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they don’t swing into another vehicle while turning, too.
- Maintenance issues. Garbage trucks are heavy-duty industrial machines, designed for constant punishment. Trash collecting companies and municipalities have a duty to ensure that the machines are well-maintained and free of mechanical issues that could lead to an accident, including brake problems, steering issues, and electrical issues.
- Visibility problems. Trash trucks have poor visibility due to many blind spots, including on both sides, the rear, and often in the immediate front, too. Be sure to give them a safe distance to operate, or the driver may not see you.
- Loose materials. Keep well back from garbage trucks, especially when you can see that they are loaded. Refuse can tumble out of the hopper and cause a road hazard.
Many accidents involving garbage trucks are completely preventable. There are times, though, that no matter how safe you are as a driver or a pedestrian, the operator of the truck negligently causes an accident that should never have happened.
Damage Awards in Garbage Truck Accident Cases
When a garbage truck driver causes a preventable accident that hurts someone else on the road, a personal injury lawsuit allows victims to recover damages suffered as a result of the crash. A lawsuit lets victims seek compensation for expenses such as:
- Emergency care and hospital bills
- Follow-up visits to the doctor
- Physical therapy or rehabilitation needs
- Repair or replacement of a damaged vehicle or personal property
- Lost wages from time spent away from work
- Loss of future earnings due to an inability to work
These types of expenses related to the crash are known as economic damages. The state of Texas does not place a cap on economic damages so that victims are able to receive compensation for the full costs associated with the accident.
Those who have been hurt may also be able to seek compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, anxiety and depression, or other losses that are harder to pin an exact dollar amount on. Texas places a cap on non-economic damages in many situations. Your attorney can fill you in on the exact details and what you may be eligible to receive based on the specifics of your individual case.
Get Legal Help Today
To get started with a legal claim against a garbage truck driver, sanitation company, or municipal garbage service, contact a personal injury attorney with experience handling truck accidents right away. Commercial trucking laws are complicated by both state and federal regulations that an experienced attorney will be familiar with, so your case can get moving quickly, before the statute of limitations runs out. If a municipality or other government agency is involved in the accident, the rules can get even more complex, and you may have even less time to act. Talk with an attorney to get your case started right away.
The attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP have been standing up for the rights of those who have been injured by accidents with garbage trucks and other commercial vehicles for decades, and we want to help you and your family get the compensation that you deserve in a court of law. Call us by telephone, use our online contact form to send us an email, or click the live chat box on this page to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced legal professional right away.