Our clean homes, neighborhoods, and cities rely on efficient waste removal systems, and garbage trucks are a significant component of that system. Every day in the United States, an average of 179,000 garbage trucks navigate the roadways, serving over 75 million homes, and millions more businesses and government agencies. With each truck weighing between 33,000 and 51,000 pounds, these heavy-duty metal trucks pose a significant danger to others sharing the roadway. We may think of garbage trucks as harmless, lumbering motor vehicles performing a critical service, but garbage and recycling trucks were responsible for over 1,400 injuries and 107 fatalities in a single recent year. 

Common Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents

Garbage trucks have a wide wheelbase, short front end, extended rear, and other attributes that make them challenging to maneuver, especially for new or inexperienced drivers. They’re typically out before dark making frequent stops and starts, all of which contribute to high numbers of accidents. Common causes of garbage truck accidents include the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Unbalanced or overloaded cargo
  • Poor vehicle maintenance
  • Blind spots/unsafe lane changes
  • Inadequate driver training
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances
  • Dropped debris
  • Mechanical failures
  • Driver error

Garbage trucks navigate narrow streets and move in and out of neighborhoods and congested areas. They make many stops and move slowly, blocking traffic and evoking frustration, sometimes resulting in accidents caused by third-party drivers unsafely passing a garbage truck. These large vehicles also have leeway to disregard some traffic laws, including driving on the wrong side of the street or the wrong way on one-way streets. Finally, garbage truck drivers must rely on workers on the back of the truck to signal when it’s appropriate to move forward or reverse, increasing the chances of an accident.

What Types of Injuries Can Occur In Garbage Truck Accidents?

Standard passenger vehicles are significantly smaller and lighter than large, unwieldy garbage trucks, putting motorists at great risk of injuries in an accident with a garbage truck. Common injuries in car vs. garbage truck accidents include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries

Injuries in garbage truck accidents range from mild to catastrophic, often resulting in temporary financial hardship or long-term disability. 

How Can a Truck Accident Lawyer Help?

Navigating an accident claim after a garbage truck accident is challenging. Deadlines and other legalities are different when filing a claim for compensation against a city or county government agency compared to typical delivery truck accidents or even bus accidents. Proving liability may also be difficult in this type of accident due to multiple parties that could be at fault or share fault for the accident. This includes the driver, the agency, or third parties such as maintenance agencies, defective truck part manufacturers, or third-party drivers. A truck accident attorney thoroughly investigates the accident to determine liability and documents the evidence. Then they present a compelling case to the appropriate insurance company to secure maximum compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Call the Cherry Hill truck accident lawyers at Cuneo & Leonetti today so we can begin a strategy for your recovery.