As a driver, you must share the road with many other vehicles, including large trucks that use the same routes through cities and towns every day. At 80,000-pounds, tractor-trailers endanger other drivers. Although they do not weigh as much, dump trucks and garbage trucks also can cause serious accidents and injuries.
You may deserve significant financial compensation if you or a loved one suffered an injury in a garbage or dump truck accident.
First, you must prove that the driver was to blame for the accident, and their employer must pay you for your total damages, assuming the driver was working when the crash occurred. Even proving liability can create a major hurdle, however, especially if you are dealing with severe injuries.
You have too much at stake in a truck accident case to handle matters independently, so hire an experienced truck accident attorney to maximize your financial recovery. Never delay consulting a trusted lawyer near you about your truck accident and the compensation you might deserve.
Dump trucks are often on the road, hauling supplies or debris when they go to and from construction sites. A dump truck weighs between 25,000 and 30,000 pounds and can weigh tens of thousands more when adding a heavy load.
Unlike a commercial truck, the dump truck cannot secure and fasten its load and must follow tarping regulations, which vary from state to state. Even if they do not weigh as much as commercial trucks, dump trucks endanger you more than a tractor-trailer.
First, driving dump trucks requires specialized training that many drivers lack. Second, the debris from these trucks can spill onto the road or cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. Finally, while most tractor-trailers have numerous safety technologies to help the truck driver remain safe, most dump trucks do not have the same features to keep the driver from endangering the public.
Dump Truck Dangers
Dump trucks present several dangers to other drivers and their passengers:
- The dump truck itself can tip over and spill its debris on the road
- The shifting center of gravity can cause the driver to lose control of the truck
- An inexperienced driver may not know how to control the truck
- The dump truck driver often cannot see into their blindspot when changing lanes
- The dump truck may be too wide for narrow lanes on the road
- The load in the dump truck may cause too much pressure on the tires
These are only some of the many dangers dump trucks present when driving alongside smaller passenger vehicles.
Dump Truck Accident Statistics
According to the Federal Motorcycle Carrier Safety Administration, dump truck accidents are rising, and there are over 8,000 dump truck crashes each year where the damage is so severe that an emergency vehicle is necessary to remove the truck.
The rise in dump truck accidents follows the overall sharp increase in serious truck crashes throughout the country in recent years. The current building boom and increased infrastructure spending have led to more dump trucks on the road.
At the same time, dump truck drivers receive less training because there is an overall shortage of truck drivers. Construction companies may want to avoid paying the prevailing wage, so they opt for less experienced drivers. The result is that you bear the risk any time that you drive.
Defendants in a Dump Truck Lawsuit
In a dump truck case, you may pursue compensation from the company that owns the truck and employs the driver, often a construction company hauling debris to or from a site. However, the construction company may have outsourced the job to a third-party trucker, and in that case, you can sue the third party in a truck accident lawsuit. You can also sue a construction company if they negligently hired or retained an independent contractor in the face of a poor safety record.
Your attorney will investigate your accident to help determine responsible parties and file a lawsuit. The goal is to maximize your financial compensation for your injuries.
Garbage trucks also bring specific dangers to the road. The obvious hazard is that these trucks weigh tens of thousands of pounds, even before they pick up trash.
Then, garbage truck drivers frequently weave in and out of city traffic as they make their stops, often pull over on short notice without always signaling their intentions, and pull out into traffic without drivers seeing them.
Further, the trash itself is also a hazard. It can fly out of a truck and strike another car or cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle.
Private trash haulers present their own unique set of dangers. News story after news story details a culture of cutting corners and a near-complete lack of regulation of the industry. Drivers working at odd hours and under intense pressure. While cities look to save money and outsource a vital function, they endanger you by doing business with unscrupulous companies that will do anything to make a dollar.
Garbage Truck Accident Statistics
In a recent year, 107 people died due to garbage truck accidents, and not all of the accident fatalities were other drivers on the road. Roughly one-quarter of the people who lost their lives in garbage truck accidents were sanitation workers. Numerous others have suffered severe injuries, which can be life-changing and result in significant financial costs.
Defendants in a Garbage Truck Lawsuit
Many different companies or entities can handle garbage collection services, including:
- The city, or a municipal authority, may be responsible for trash collection in its environs
- The municipality may have contracted out to a third party, who is responsible for trash collection
- A private entity may have called a trash hauler to make a pickup
Different rules apply to suing a governmental entity:
- The requirement to notify the governmental agency of a potential claim in advance to give them a chance to negotiate a settlement
- A shorter statute of limitations that will force you to act much sooner after the accident
- Possible caps on damages and a prohibition on punitive damages
Fewer limitations will come into play when suing a private third-party defendant. Corporations can face lawsuits just like anyone else, even if they act as contractors on a governmental entity’s behalf, and no caps apply to damages outside of what you ordinarily find under state law.
Your attorney will assess the best case strategy and advise you on what to expect, depending on the liable parties in your specific situation. Seek help from an attorney with extensive experience handling complex truck accident claims for your best chance at a successful outcome.
You Can Negotiate a Settlement
No matter what liable party you are dealing with, you do not have to accept the first offer from the government or an insurance company.
The government has the same motivation as an insurance company – to save money. The insurance company will always try to settle your case for a fraction of what it is worth, if they even offer you anything, which has been their modus operandi since the beginning.
Nothing says that you must accept an offer, and your lawyer can go on the offense and fight them throughout the legal process for the full amount you deserve.
In any truck accident settlement, the most important word you can say is no. You are not obligated to accept an unfair settlement offer; it is your legal right to get total financial compensation in any way you can.
You can expect to turn down a series of offers that do not pay you what you deserve. The insurance company knows what your claim is worth but will only offer you that amount if you fight for it.
Your lawyer will keep demanding what you deserve and pressure the defendant and insurer to raise their offer. If you cannot settle your case, your attorney may file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf.
Why You Need a Dump Truck or Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer
Too much money is involved in these cases to leave anything to chance. When you suffer damages, you and your family will need to cover those expenses, both now and in the future. If you get too little for your case or even nothing, it will dramatically affect your life.
When you hire an experienced truck accident lawyer for your case, you get a proven fighter who has delivered results for clients in a similar situation.
A truck accident lawyer can do the following in your case, among many other things:
- Investigate your accident to gather proof showing someone else was to blame
- Research the entities involved to join as many defendants as possible in the lawsuit
- Review your situation to learn more about your damages and how much money you should seek in a claim or lawsuit
- Deal with the insurance company, which has to defend its policyholder in any lawsuit
- File the necessary claim or lawsuit on your behalf
- Negotiate with the insurance company as you seek to reach a settlement that fairly pays you
- Take your case to court if you fail to reach a settlement
Fighting for your legal rights takes time and skill. The insurance company notices who is on the other side of the case, so you want an attorney with a track record of success. The right legal representation can go a long way in obtaining a favorable settlement after a dump or garbage truck crash.
Financial Concerns Should Never Prevent You from Hiring a Truck Accident Attorney
When you have suffered an injury in a truck accident, you have many things that can keep you awake at night, from medical bills to household expenses to your professional future.
You needn’t worry about paying for a lawyer.
Truck accident lawyers do not work for you for free, but they do not charge upfront or hourly fees like many other attorneys. They work on a contingency fee and only receive fees if they win your case, and their payment comes from the proceeds of your settlement or award. Thus, you do not need to write them a check from your limited funds to hire them, and there is no risk to you seeking help from a truck accident attorney.
You should seek a free, no-obligation case evaluation with a trusted lawyer near you as soon as possible. Once you hire a New York personal injury lawyer, they can begin preserving evidence and building a strong case in your favor. Your health and future are too important to leave to chance.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.