Philadelphia’s fleet of garbage trucks have been involved in about 2,000 accidents in the last five years. Surprisingly, this rate is even higher than New York City’s. The vast majority of these accidents were determined to be the fault of the driver. Dump trucks are also frequent contributors to accidents, resulting in death and serious injury. A garbage truck accident can throw your life into chaos. Who pays the medical bills? How will you provide for your family? Cooper Schall & Levy is here to answer those questions and provide you peace of mind while you recover. If you or a loved one were involved in a garbage truck or dump truck accident, turn to us.
Why Do Garbage Trucks And Dump Trucks Crash?
Large trucks are by nature more difficult to control and more likely to cause a serious accident. Every case is different, but these are some of the most common reasons these trucks get into wrecks:
- Size. A large vehicle like a garbage truck or dump truck is simply more difficult to maneuver and takes more effort to slow down and stop. When significant weight is added, these factors become even more problematic.
- Frequent stopping. Garbage trucks in particular stop at one house after another. This impedes traffic and makes it more likely that an inattentive driver will get into a wreck. But constant stopping also puts wear on the truck’s brakes, making it more difficult to stop.
- Poor maintenance. Dump trucks and garbage trucks are required to have frequent inspections. Heavy loads put severe strain on brakes and tires, so improper maintenance will increase the risk of an accident.
- Massive blind spots. All drivers are required to check their mirrors before changing lanes or turning to ensure they can do so safely. But large trucks have huge blind spots that make it far more difficult to see other vehicles around it.
- Poor weather. Like any other vehicle, poor weather can make it difficult to see and safely drive. However, the risk is far greater for dump trucks and garbage trucks, especially given the significant weight they haul.
- Objects falling from trucks. Drivers are required to secure their loads so objects don’t fall off during driving. When they don’t, a falling object can cause a serious and even fatal accident.
- Lack of training or experience. Driving and operating a dump truck or garbage truck is unlike driving an automobile. An untrained or inexperienced driver is likely to get into a wreck.
An injured victim has the burden of establishing that a garbage truck or dump truck driver was somehow negligent. That starts with explaining the causes of the accident, like those above. That’s why it’s important to share all relevant details of your accident with a knowledgeable attorney.
Who Are The Victims Of Garbage Truck And Dump Truck Accidents?
If you are one of the following parties injured in a garbage truck or dump truck accident, you have the right to file a lawsuit:
- Drivers and truck employees. Although the drivers and operators of large trucks are usually responsible for the accident, this isn’t always true. If you’re a driver or other employee who was injured, you need to speak with an attorney.
- Other motorists. Trucks typically get into wrecks with other vehicles, including other trucks. Our firm is here to help if you’ve been injured.
- Pedestrians, bicyclists, and others. If you were struck while legally crossing the street or riding a bike, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Other potential victims include neighborhood residents, their children, or patrons injured by a truck at a business.
Who Is Responsible For a Garbage Truck Accident?
Another difference between dump truck and garbage truck accidents, and those involving automobiles, is the number of potential defendants in a lawsuit. The driver, as well as the driver’s employer, the truck company, or even a city government, could be responsible for your injuries. If there were defective or improperly maintained parts, a garage or parts supplier could be liable as well.
Holding the employer responsible could be necessary to obtain the maximum damages you need, since truck companies generally have more assets than the drivers. The employer may be responsible if it failed to conduct a proper background check or did not train the driver. If the company allows or encourages its drivers to overload their trucks (to maximize profits), it could also be liable for the accident.
Special Rules Where The Government Is A Defendant
If a municipality, such as Philadelphia, shares some of the blame for the accident, liability limits will apply. The municipality’s exposure will be capped at $500,000 of damages, which is likely not going to be enough to cover a serious accident. However, an attorney can determine whether other defendants shared blame for the accident and can therefore be brought into the case.
Suing a city government also requires that the plaintiff files a notice of personal injury claim. This notice has to be specific and properly filed, generally within 180 days of the accident. If you overlook this step or don’t do it correctly, you could jeopardize your ability to recover from the government.
Contact Our Experienced Garbage Truck Accident Attorney Today
After a garbage truck or dump truck accident, you need skilled legal representation. Our dedicated team will investigate the details of what happened and make sure all responsible parties are held accountable. We understand Pennsylvania automobile accident law and we know what it takes to pursue a successful legal claim. If necessary we will call upon expert witnesses who can provide valuable testimony and establish the defendant’s fault.
Cooper Schall & Levy is ready to go to work for you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.