Garbage and recycling trucks are extremely dangerous to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. The combination of their giant construction, improper maintenance, and poor drivers can make them accidents waiting to happen.
These behemoths have caused many deaths and serious injuries in our area. Just a few months ago, another person died in a Fort Worth collision with one.
These vehicles are inherently dangerous for many reasons, especially their massive size. The average truck weighs over 60,000 pounds versus the average car’s weight of 3,000 pounds.
Garbage truck drivers must have a commercial drivers licenses and are held to a higher standard of care under transportation statutes. Unfortunately some fail to live up to the more vigorous rules.
Waste management is an enormous $100 billion a year industry and clearly has the resources to insure that safe trucks and drivers are on the roads.
Our law firm has handled all types of commercial truck collision cases in Dallas – Fort Worth for the past 37 years and understands their complexities. We are fighting for our clients in a substantial garbage truck case now and have successfully handled others in the past.
Reasons garbage truck collisions happen
We all get frustrated getting stuck behind a garbage truck slowly picking up trash. And if we want to pass, sometimes we can’t see around the massive vehicle to safely pass — and the driver might not see you either due to his multiple blind spots.
Waste management truck crashes happen when
- The truck driver fails to obey traffic laws
- The driver has restricted visibility
- The driver makes wide turns and stops suddenly
- The driver fails to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists
- The driver is texting or distracted
- The driver is fatigued
- The truck is improperly maintained
- Debris and trash is not properly secured and falls off
- The back-up alert system doesn’t sound
- Brake lights or tail lights are broken and other motorists rear end the truck
- Other drivers violate the traffic laws
Who is liable?
Fault depends upon how the crash happened, who owns the truck, and who employs the driver. The truck is usually owned by a private company. The largest ones in our area are
- Waste Management, Inc. (#1 in the country);
- Republic Services; and
- Progressive Waste Solutions (formerly IESI).
We pursue the negligent driver’s employer under the theories of respondeat superior and negligence. Respondeat superior literally means, “Let the master answer.” In other words, the employer must answer for its employee who has acted negligently while doing his job.
The employer may be held liable for negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention. We also see the company’s improper maintenance of the truck.
In addition, the City of Dallas Sanitation Services Department, Fort Worth Solid Waste Services Division, or other municipal agency may be liable for injuries caused during the pickup of garbage, hazardous waste, bulk items, lawn debris, or recycling. These cities contract with private companies to handle sanitation services, but can still bear responsibility for its choice in vendors and related policies.
Suing a local government agency comes with challenges, however. For one, you must abide by strict notice and procedural requirements. The city can also enjoy governmental immunity and is subject to damages caps.
Other important factors include who the driver was. Conducting research into his driver’s license status, driving history, length of time driving a garbage and other commercial trucks, previous collisions, prior job performance issues, criminal record, education, training, and other areas is essential.
How dangerous are trucks?
Very. These statistics are devastating:
— Over 4,200 people died in trucking accidents in 2016 in the United States.
— Almost three times as many people perish in truck collision as in all other transportation accidents combined.
— More than 28,000 companies operate their trucks with illegal safety violations.
Our law office is ready to help you with your accident
Our team includes an award-winning attorney, paralegals, investigators, and others who are trained in the investigation, pretrial discovery, trials, and negotiations of garbage truck collision cases. Our job is to get you the highest recovery that we can to compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and other damages.
Mr. Berenson is a member of many legal organizations, including the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys and American Association for Justice. He has served on the board of directors of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association for the past 10 years.
For more information about how a good personal injury lawyer can get the compensation you deserve, read this:
Commercial companies that own these trucks work immediately with their attorneys and crash response teams after a crash to get their trucks and secure evidence, both good and bad. You need to act quickly.
We can review your garbage truck claim and explain your options for recovering damages during a free case evaluation. Call or email our office to set up your first meeting or phone conference.