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Home » California Truck Accident Lawyer » Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer

Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer

Fatal San Jose Pedestrian Accident on Jackson Avenue Involving Garbage Truck

There are a lot of garbage trucks on the road in California. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Golden State employs more refuse and recyclable material collectors than any other state.

Unfortunately, more garbage trucks mean more chances for accidents to happen. If you’ve never considered how dangerous these trucks can be, learning more about them and what to do if you’re involved in a collision with one is essential.

How Often Do Garbage Truck Accidents Happen?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2020, there were 3,272 crashes involving garbage trucks. Sadly, 80 of those crashes were fatal. Garbage truck accidents accounted for almost 7% of all crashes involving large trucks.

When an accident with a large truck is fatal, it is rare for the truck driver to suffer the fatality — in fact, 83% of the time, it is someone else. Large trucks offer more protection in a wreck because of their size and weight.

What Makes Garbage Trucks Dangerous?

A garbage truck is one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road for a few reasons.

Garbage Trucks Are Very Large

A garbage truck is massive compared to a passenger vehicle. An average large truck weighs 32 short tons. It can hold up to 14 tons of waste before the driver empties it at the landfill. Your average 2-ton passenger car doesn’t stand much of a chance against a full 46-ton truck — or even an empty 32-ton vehicle, for that matter.

Garbage Trucks Stop and Start Continuously

The nature of the job requires garbage trucks to frequently stop and start as their drivers go from house to house. Most of the time, drivers move slowly and pull to the side of the road, but not always. A hurried or fatigued driver may go faster than is safe or try to save time by working without pulling over for cars to pass.

Garbage Trucks Operate in the Early Morning

Most waste management systems have their trucks on the road by early morning. It may still be dark when drivers begin their shifts. There is usually less traffic at this time of day, making it a little easier for trucks to get through neighborhoods.

However, it can be difficult for drivers to see well in the early-morning hours. They might not spot people jogging, walking their dogs or pulling out of their driveways. Additionally, drivers may be fatigued from starting early shifts, making them more susceptible to mistakes.

Garbage Trucks May Have Faulty Mechanisms

Like other vehicles, waste collection trucks may have faulty parts. Sometimes these mechanical failures can lead to an accident. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the company is responsible for ensuring vehicles are inspected regularly. Inspections must include, but are not limited to:

  • Suspension systems
  • Frame and frame assemblies
  • Wheels and rims
  • Axles and attaching parts
  • Steering systems

If the company cuts corners on inspections, it can lead to a system failure that causes an accident.

Drivers Can Make Errors

Like any driver, garbage truck drivers can make mistakes. Errors can result from poor judgment, recklessness or fatigue. Drivers may run a red light, drive too fast in foggy or icy weather, fail to check their blind spots or brake too quickly.

Drivers can also make errors because they don’t know any better. Perhaps they didn’t complete the required training, or the company didn’t offer it.

What Can You Do To Avoid a Garbage Truck Accident?

Preventing an accident is the best strategy. Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid a garbage truck collision.

Don’t Pass a Garbage Truck Until It’s Safe

California law states that drivers passing a waste service vehicle must do so safely and correctly while letting the employees do their job. Drivers must change lanes if one is available, keeping a safe distance and minding traffic laws. Otherwise, the driver must slow down to a reasonable speed.

Drive Defensively Near a Garbage Truck

Even the most careful garbage truck drivers have blind spots. Approach the truck with the assumption that the driver cannot see you. Reduce your speed and keep a safe distance between you and the truck. Keep in mind that the vehicle may suddenly stop. Watch for blowing or falling debris that could hit your car.

Leave Early on Garbage Day

Give yourself some extra time. If it’s garbage collection day in your neighborhood, or you meet a truck on your way to work every Tuesday, anticipate it by leaving early. When you’re less rushed, you’re less likely to try to pass in a hurry or use poor judgment.

What Should You Do After a Garbage Truck Accident?

Unfortunately, not all accidents can be prevented. There are steps you can take after a collision with a garbage truck.

Call 911

The most critical step following an accident is caring for injured parties. Call for help immediately if you or someone else is badly hurt.

Exchange Information

Exchange information with the garbage truck driver if possible. However, this step comes after you have verified that no one is seriously injured. Take care of accident victims first.

Document the Scene

Take pictures of the accident scene. Some things to document are:

  • Your vehicle
  • The garbage truck
  • Your location
  • Injuries you or anyone else sustained
  • Obstacles or road conditions that may have contributed to the accident

The time of day, traffic patterns and weather conditions are noteworthy following a crash. Any information you can document through notes or pictures can help if you have a claim.

Talk to Witnesses

If there are bystanders or witnesses, get their account of what happened. They may have seen or heard something you didn’t. If possible, get their names and phone numbers; their testimony may benefit you if you have a claim.

File a Police Report

The documentation in a police report helps involved parties understand the accident details. File a report as soon as possible to preserve the information you might not remember later.

Seek Help From a Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer

The aftermath of an accident can be confusing and overwhelming. You may need to figure out who to talk to and what you should say. An experienced California garbage truck accident lawyer can advise you. An attorney knows the state laws and can walk you through the steps following your accident.

The garbage truck company’s insurance group may contact you. It may attempt to extend a settlement. Insurance companies usually try to offer you an amount lower than your case is worth.

A law firm usually advises you to consult an attorney before speaking to anyone from the insurance company. An experienced garbage truck accident lawyer knows what your case is worth and will fight to ensure you get what you deserve after a wreck.

Talk To Johnson Attorneys Group After a Garbage Truck Accident

If you’ve had an accident with a garbage truck, you need someone you can trust with your claim. Johnson Attorneys Group understands the emotional and financial burden an accident can cause. The staff knows what to do following an accident and is ready to help you.

Johnson Attorneys Group offers a free consultation. You don’t have to worry about financial risk even if you are unsure whether you have a claim. Get in touch with us today and find out what we can do for you after a garbage truck accident.

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