Garbage trucks are a necessity in most parts of the country. In many areas, garbage collection is a routine procedure to clear trash away from houses and apartment buildings. In cities, dumpsters need to be emptied frequently to keep garbage from collecting, creating unhealthy conditions in our streets.
Unfortunately, emptying dumpsters and collecting trash often requires using large, heavy trucks that employ increasingly more complicated and dangerous machinery to collect trash. Many of these truck’s systems pose a danger to other cars, pedestrians, and their operators. On top of this, garbage trucks often need to drive on dangerous or crowded roads to get to their collection routes. This means that on rural roads and city streets, where maneuverability is tight, trucks may injure bystanders or other drivers.
If you have been hurt in an accident with a dump truck, contact our truck accident attorneys immediately. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Call the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team for a free consultation, today.
How Garbage Truck Accidents Happen
Operating garbage trucks often means moving the truck from place to place while collectors walk around the truck. This often means that the driver is very aware of pedestrians and movement around the truck, but not always. There is always a risk, especially on crowded city streets or back roads with low visibility, that a truck will not be able to see a pedestrian.
Further, since these trucks make frequent stops, they may create road dangers. Most drivers do not expect to turn a corner and have to stop for a garbage truck. Because garbage trucks often need to work in tight environments, they may block traffic, ignore traffic signs, and even drive on the wrong side of the road. These kinds of driver errors are wholly inappropriate in many situations, and cause unnecessary risk.
Aside from this, garbage trucks of the typical variety, as well as larger tractor-trailers are used to transport garbage longer distances, or to larger, regional dumps. Any time a truck is on the road, it has the potential to cause a standard traffic accident. The size and weight makes garbage trucks difficult to control. Moreover, any large truck has an especially high accident risk due to the driver’s low visibility. Tractor trailers additionally offer a high risk of swerving, jackknifing, or flipping due to improperly loaded cargo. Garbage trucks are at a special risk for this, since the loading and packing of the truck is less methodical and planned than typical truck loading.
Unsafe Garbage Truck Operation Injuries
There are dozens of types of dump trucks, all of which carry garbage or dumpsters in different ways, for different purposes. The standard “dump truck” most people may recognize as the kind used for collection routes is typically a large truck with a rear door. These doors often contain a large space for the collectors to place garbage, and a hydraulic press that flattens garbage. Other common garbage trucks have large spikes attached to the top or front, used to lift and dump dumpsters into a top-loaded container.
More and more commonly, garbage companies are using more mechanical trucks to collect trash and recycling. These trucks often use large garbage cans, which the truck lifts from the side via a mechanical arm. Similar designs may be used to lift dumpsters and other trash containers.
These moving parts are a risk to anyone near the truck – including the operators themselves. People walking on the sidewalk or anywhere near the vehicle are at risk from these vehicles, which could drop heavy garbage bins or dumpsters, could hit people with the moving arms (whether loaded or empty), or could throw garbage from the bin if operated improperly.
For garbage truck workers, the risks may be even higher. Putting your hands, arms, or head near some of these moving parts as part of your job could be a huge risk. If any of these parts fail, malfunction, or catch on your person, you could suffer severe injury. Since many of the mechanical parts on newer trucks are operated from the cab, you may not have the ability to control the truck from the outside. This means relying upon other truck operators to keep you safe. Moreover, you run the simple risk of being hit by your own coworkers driving the truck.
Garbage Truck Injury Attorneys
No matter how you were injured, whether it was in a traffic accident or because of negligent garbage truck operation, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Many times, the owner of the truck, the garbage collection company, or even your local city or municipality may be responsible for injuries caused by garbage trucks. If you are an employee of that garbage company, you might have other claims you can make against your employer and negligent coworkers.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a garbage truck accident, talk to a truck accident attorney today. The lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team have helped clients recover compensation for their injuries, and may be able to help you, too. Call (215) 246-9000 today for a free consultation.