Understanding Dump Truck & Garbage Truck Accidents

Mar 30, 2024 | Pierre Prialé
Understanding Dump Truck & Garbage Truck Accidents

When a collision involves a dump or garbage truck, there are some unique factors to consider. First, serious and catastrophic injuries are more likely because of their size. Second, liability is more complex in these cases than in most traffic accidents. 

Seeking immediate medical attention after an accident, regardless of the severity of injuries, is essential for getting the treatment you need and documenting any potential legal claims.

Once your injuries are stable, a Fairfax truck accident attorney can help you identify the liable party and pursue compensation to pay for your medical care and other damages.

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Why Do Dump and Garbage Truck Accidents Cause Serious Injuries?

Understanding Dump Truck & Garbage Truck Accidents

When dump and garbage truck drivers collide with other vehicles, the occupants of the much smaller passenger vehicles can experience a range of injuries.

This depends greatly on:

  • The speed of the collision
  • How the crash occurred
  • The size and weight of each vehicle
  • Safety features such as seat belts and airbags

When a garbage or dump truck hits a passenger vehicle at a moderate or high speed, serious injuries are likely.

This could include:

Many victims of these collisions require hospitalization, surgery, long-term rehabilitation, and ongoing support and monitoring. They often also experience psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. Even witnessing a serious crash can have long-lasting emotional effects.

In the most tragic cases, dump and garbage truck accidents result in fatalities. The size and weight disparity between these large trucks and small, light passenger vehicles can lead to devastating consequences.

Surviving family members, represented by the estate’s executor, may pursue wrongful death actions under Virginia law to hold the liable parties accountable. 

What Are the Most Common Causes of Dump and Garbage Truck Accidents?

Garbage trucks and dump trucks have unique features and uses that could cause or contribute to collisions. To mitigate these dangers, companies that employ drivers must provide proper training, adhere to safety protocols, and regularly inspect their vehicles.  

Some contributing factors to accidents involving dump, garbage, recycling, and other similar trucks include: 

Blind Spots

Due to their size and design, these trucks have large blind spots. These blind spots can make it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles, and smaller vehicles.

Unless the driver takes additional precautions to clear the adjacent lane, this could increase the risk of accidents when changing lanes or making turns.

Backing Accidents

Dump and garbage trucks often have to reverse or back up while collecting or dumping waste. This increases the risk of colliding with pedestrians or other vehicles, especially in congested areas or tight spaces.

Uneven Road Surfaces 

These trucks may need to drive on uneven and unstable surfaces on construction sites or in landfills. This can increase the risk of shifting cargo, rollover accidents, and other similar concerns.

Overloaded or Improperly Secured Loads 

Garbage and dump trucks often carry massive loads of waste, debris, or materials. If operators do not properly secure these loads or allow them to exceed weight limits, they can shift during transit. This causes loss of control, cargo loss, rollovers, and other serious road hazards.

Hazardous Materials

Sometimes, these large trucks transport hazardous materials or substances. This could include biohazard waste, chemicals, or construction debris. When an accident causes a spill or leak, it can pose environmental and health risks to those involved and the nearby community.

Driver Fatigue

Dump and garbage truck drivers often work long hours, often starting early in the morning and working late into the night. Fatigue can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

High Turnover Rate 

Driving dump and garbage trucks is tough work. Due to the demanding nature of the job, the turnover rate for drivers can be relatively high. This may mean inexperienced drivers are operating these large vehicles, increasing the crash risk.

In general, driver negligence is the most common cause of dump truck and garbage truck accidents. The reasons these drivers violate traffic laws and cause a collision are varied. However, it is often possible for victims to show that negligence occurred and hold the liable parties responsible. 

This allows them to recover compensation for their medical care and other damages. Our truck accident attorney can help you navigate this process if you were hurt in one of these crashes.

Recovering Damages Based on a Garbage or Dump Truck Accident

Recovering Damages Based on a Garbage or Dump Truck Accident

When occupants of other vehicles suffer injuries in a crash caused by a professional driver behind the wheel of a dump truck, they have a right to seek fair compensation. This is most commonly done through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.

When our attorneys fight for a payout for our clients hurt by a truck driver, we pursue money for the expenses and losses they incurred. This often includes:

Economic Damages

The current and future expenses and losses our client experienced comprise their economic damages.

Examples could include: 

  • Medical care costs to date
  • Future medical treatment, care, and support
  • Income losses
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Car repairs and other property damage
  • Related expenses with receipts

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are the intangible losses experienced by an accident victim because of their collision and injuries.

Examples include: 

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Wrongful Death Actions

When a crash victim dies from their injuries, their personal representative—the executor of their estate—can file a wrongful death case and seek compensation for their heirs. You could discuss your options with a wrongful death lawyer from our team if you have questions or want to get started today. 

Who Is Liable in Dump and Garbage Truck Accident Cases?

Who Is Liable in Dump and Garbage Truck Accident Cases

Determining liability in a dump or garbage truck accident can be complex.

Fault and liability depend greatly on factors such as: 

  • The specific circumstances of the accident
  • Applicable traffic laws
  • The truck driver’s actions 
  • The relationship between the driver and their employer

Each case is unique, but some of the liable parties in a truck accident could include:

The Truck Driver and/or Their Employer

If the truck driver was negligent, they might be held liable for the accident. However, we usually pursue a case against their employer instead. Under a legal theory known as respondeat superior, companies are often liable for the actions of their employees. 

If the accident occurred while the driver was performing work duties within the scope of their employment—such as driving a dump or garbage truck—the employer could be held vicariously liable for their negligence.

This allows us to file a claim based on the company’s large corporate liability policy, which could be important if you have long-term or catastrophic injuries.

A Truck Maintenance Provider

If the accident occurred because of a mechanical failure or parts defect in the truck, the company responsible for maintaining or servicing the vehicle might be liable. This could be the company that owns the truck or another party.

The Truck Manufacturer

If a defect in the truck’s design or manufacturing caused the accident, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the defective components could be liable.

Determining liability in dump and garbage truck accidents often requires a thorough investigation into the accident.

Our truck accident attorneys handle this process, including:

  • Interviewing eyewitnesses 
  • Obtaining police reports and vehicle inspection records
  • Seeking video of the crash
  • Demanding preservation of the evidence held by the truck’s owner
  • Analyzing the relevant medical records
  • Working with medical expert to understand prognosis and future care needs
  • Documenting damages

Managing a Dump or Garbage Truck Accident Case Is Difficult on Your Own

Most crash victims struggle to manage their cases on their own. This is especially true for those hurt by commercial truck drivers, such as garbage and dump truck operators.

Some of the factors that make this particularly challenging include:

  • The complexity of liability in these cases
  • The tactics employed by insurance companies to minimize payouts
  • Insurance carriers that dispute liability, undervalue claims, or deny coverage altogether
  • Difficulties identifying, documenting, and valuing damages
  • Time, knowledge, and resources necessary to investigate, gather evidence, and develop a compelling case
  • Managing communication with the insurers and other parties
  • Undergoing medical care and rehabilitation at the same time

If a dump or garbage truck accident hurts you, you need to focus on healing from your injuries. If you try to manage a collision case on your own while still recovering, you will not get the best possible outcome in your case. 

Insurance adjusters make getting a fair settlement challenging, particularly when you can’t recognize their tactics and strategies. Without strong negotiation skills and accurate estimates of the value of your claim, you might settle for a low payout.

In cases when the liable party disputes fault or their insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement, a lawsuit might be necessary. When this occurs, you want an attorney on your side. Without legal knowledge and experience with similar cases, you cannot properly follow procedural rules, prepare legal documents, build a strong case, or represent your rights throughout this process. 

How Will an Accident Lawyer Handle My Dump or Garbage Truck Collision Case?

How Will an Accident Lawyer Handle My Dump or Garbage Truck Collision Case

When you hire a truck accident lawyer, they will know how to manage your case and pursue the best possible outcome for you. They have the knowledge and experience to navigate the complexities of truck accident cases.

They understand the relevant laws, regulations, and legal precedents that determine liability and how to support your case with compelling evidence.

Some of the steps your lawyer will likely take while managing your case include: 

Investigating the Accident

Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation into the accident, gathering evidence such as police reports, eyewitness interviews, and medical records. They may also work with accident reconstruction experts, medical experts, and other professionals to build a solid case for compensation.

Determining Liability

Establishing liability in dump and garbage truck accident cases can be challenging. An attorney familiar with commercial trucking accident cases can identify all potentially liable parties and hold them accountable for their negligence. Your lawyer will determine who is legally responsible for your crash and injuries.

Maximizing Compensation

Dump and garbage truck accidents often result in significant physical, emotional, and financial harm.

Your attorney can help you: 

  • Assess the full extent of your damages
  • Document your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future rehabilitation costs
  • Pursue fair compensation to cover your losses

Negotiating With Insurance Carriers

Dealing with insurance companies can be daunting. They frequently try to minimize payouts or dispute liability in an attempt to pay less. Your attorney will handle all communications with insurance adjusters on your behalf. You can count on them to advocate for your rights and negotiate for fair compensation based on your case facts.

Representing Your Best Interests

Throughout the legal process, your attorney will represent your best interests and fight for justice. This is especially necessary if your case requires litigation.

If necessary, your attorney will file a personal injury lawsuit and take your case to trial. They will prepare and present compelling arguments to the judge and jury, call upon expert witnesses, and advocate for the compensation you deserve. 

Discuss Your Truck Accident Injuries With Our Team for Free

Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side can greatly improve your chances of securing a favorable outcome in your case. Our dump truck and garbage truck accident lawyers are here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve and protect your rights throughout the process. 

Injury lawyers at Right Path Law Group , provide free consultations for truck accident victims and their families in our Fairfax and Manassas, VA, service areas. We will assess your legal options and help you understand your next steps. We represent all clients based on contingency. You will pay no upfront fees. 

Call (703) 637-9999 to reach our team in Fairfax, VA, today.

Pierre Prialé Author Image

Pierre Prialé

Founder and CEO

Over the course of his career, Prialé has handled approximately 2,000 criminal defense and traffic cases, including DUI, reckless driving, weapons charges, and personal injury cases. His dedication to helping clients in difficult and desperate situations has earned him a reputation for being a committed and knowledgeable attorney.

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