Both dump trucks and garbage trucks work to keep communities functioning. However, these trucks are also very large, heavy commercial vehicles that pose inherent dangers to other drivers. This is especially true when the operators of these vehicles do not drive carefully and cause collisions with other motor vehicles that are on the road.
Dump truck and garbage truck accidents can lead to serious and possibly catastrophic injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by the driver of a dump truck or garbage truck, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer can investigate your accident case and help you pursue monetary compensation from the at-fault driver and the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Dangers Associated With Dump Trucks
Dump trucks are necessary vehicles in the community. Construction companies, landscapers, and other service providers use dump trucks to deliver and carry various materials that are necessary for doing important infrastructure projects. However, these large vehicles can pose serious risks to workers and to other motor vehicle operators—especially when their drivers do not operate them safely and carefully.
Some of the most common dangers inherent to dump trucks include the following:
- They operate in and around construction zones – As if construction zones are not dangerous enough, the presence of a dump truck in a construction zone makes for an additional hazard. These commercial trucks often need to back up, turn around, and make sudden stops to pick up or deliver the various goods that they carry regularly. The constant movement of these vehicles in and around construction zones significantly increases the chances of a motor vehicle collision there.
- They transport loose materials and heavy loads – The kinds of materials that dump trucks transport, including dirt and other loose materials, are very heavy and have a tendency to offset the truck’s already high center of gravity. As a result of this imbalance, dump trucks are more prone to rollovers than other vehicles, and when a rollover occurs in the middle of the roadway a serious accident can occur.
- Their cargo can slip off (or out of) the truck – When drivers and companies do not properly secure cargo inside a dump truck, the cargo may slip off the truck—or may leak out—resulting in road hazards to other motor vehicles.
- They transport materials that may remain on the sides of the truck – Even after a dump truck driver has arrived at his or her destination and dropped off the load, some of the cargo load may remain on the sides of the truck, leading to a load imbalance that may ultimately result in a truck rollover.
Dangers Associated With Garbage Trucks
Garbage trucks, like dump trucks, are essential vehicles in the community that provide a useful service. However, not all garbage truck drivers operate their vehicles safely. Moreover, there are certain inherent dangers associated with garbage trucks that are concerning. Being that these trucks are one of the more common trucks on the road these dangers can put anyone at risk.
Some of the most important dangers associated with garbage trucks include the following:
- Garbage collection timing – Depending on the community, garbage trucks are often out and about during the morning hours. Unfortunately, morning garbage collection times often coincide with morning commute hours, when individuals are on their way to school or work.
- Road hazards – Just as with dump truck cargo, trash sometimes falls out of a garbage truck, creating a hazard for other drivers who are on the road at that time.
- Blind spots – Because garbage trucks are typically large vehicles, they usually have several blind spots. Consequently, garbage truck drivers (especially those who are distracted) may not be able to see or appreciate other drivers or pedestrians walking on or near the road. Drivers may also have difficulty spotting bicyclists and motorcycle operators.
- Fewer drivers – Whenever there is a shortage of garbage truck drivers, this can cause problems, as the individuals who are driving will likely have to hurry to get to their destinations. They may also operate their vehicles in an unsafe manner if they are rushing. Unsafe driving can include driving on the wrong side of the road to save time or hurrying to a final collection point.
- Collection areas – Individuals who drive garbage trucks often have to operate their vehicles on narrow streets with sharp curves, creating hazards for joggers, walkers, and other nearby pedestrians.
- Distractions while driving – Garbage collectors often have to handle dispatcher communications, paperwork, and other distractions while they operate their trucks. As a result, they can easily become distracted while operating their vehicles, resulting in serious accidents.
Specific Causes of Dump Truck and Garbage Truck Accidents
Dump trucks and garbage trucks present hazards simply due to their large sizes and heavy loads. In many accident cases, however, driver negligence is the primary cause. For example, the driver may be driving the truck too fast for the weather and road conditions at that time. They might also overload the vehicle, making it harder to drive and maneuver. Finally, the driver may not be following the rules of the road, such as by running a red light or stop sign, resulting in a collision with another vehicle.
In the case of negligent driving, the accident victim can usually file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent truck driver. If the driver was in the scope of his or her employment at the time of the accident, the injured accident victim may also be able to file a claim or lawsuit against the company that employs the driver.
In other instances, the cause of a garbage truck or dump truck accident may not involve driver negligence at all. Instead, the accident may result from improper truck maintenance or defective truck parts. In those instances, the accident victim may be able to bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the maintenance facility or the parts manufacturer/distributor, depending upon the circumstances.
Why You Should Seek Legal Assistance
An experienced truck accident lawyer in your jurisdiction can help you determine the responsible person or entity and help you promptly file your claim or lawsuit. Learn more about what to do after an auto accident by watching Ram Fletcher of Bohn & Fletcher, LLP discuss some of the most important steps to follow after a serious auto accident.