The Risks Associated With Dump and Garbage Trucks
February 3, 2022 | Truck Accidents
Dump and garbage trucks play important roles in our communities. However, when these immense and complicated trucks are involved in traffic accidents, they tend to be as dangerous as their claims are challenging. If a dump or garbage truck driver leaves you injured in an accident, don’t wait to contact experienced truck accident attorneys for help as soon as possible.
Dump trucks are those massive vehicles with deep, wide, and open beds at the back that are so familiar to road construction and construction work of all kinds but that can show up anywhere. Dump trucks are workhorses that can take on extremely heavy, large, and unwieldy loads because of their open and cargo areas.
Dump trucks are very well suited for the work they do because:
- Their vast beds hold the massive debris that is common to construction.
- Their beds lack covers, allowing them to carry odd shapes and sizes of cargo
- These truck’s heavy-duty frames and outsize tires leave them well prepared to breeze through construction sites and get the job at hand done.
The factors that make dump trucks so convenient and well suited for the heavy work they take on, however, also make them more likely to cause dangerous accidents on our roads.
The dump truck driver might have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and ample experience. Unfortunately, they may just fill in for someone-or they happened to jump in to do the job.
Dump trucks’ sheer size alone makes them challenging to drive safely, and when a novice is behind the wheel, the risk factor rises.
Garbage trucks are excellent at what they do, which is compacting and moving trash. While these immensely heavy trucks travel our roads, the compactors at the rear are busy crushing nearly unbelievable amounts of trash. This allows these behemoths to stick to the work without the constant interruption of unloading. Garbage trucks employ packer blades to get the job done.
This is only one factor that prompted the National Safety Council’s Safety and Health to publish, “It’s pretty dangerous to be a garbage man.”
Unfortunately, it’s also pretty dangerous to share the road with garbage trucks-but we all do so from time to time. When they injure us, we can seek compensation.
The Unique Risks that Dump and Garbage Trucks Pose
Dump and garbage trucks pose unique dangers on our roadways because:
- Their immense size helps ensure that any accidents dump and garbage trucks are involved in are extremely dangerous (if not deadly).
- Their size and weight mean that dump and garbage trucks require far greater stopping distances (that increases with increased speed, the effects of inclement weather, and/or with the effects of poorly maintained roads generally. When their drivers fail to account for these facts, it can lead to life-threatening rear-end accidents.
- Dump trucks are closely associated with flying debris, and garbage trucks can throw content as they are loaded.
- Because of the kind of work they do, dump and garbage trucks frequently stop and start, which can play an instrumental role in traffic accidents of every kind.
- The loads these sturdy vehicles carry often include hazardous and/or combustible contents, which greatly increase the risk of burn injuries in the event of crashes.
- These exceptionally heavy, large, and unwieldy vehicles have large blind spots along each side, which significantly decreases their driver’s views. When the person behind the wheel of a dump truck or garbage truck fails to take these blind spots into careful consideration-especially when backing up, entering or exiting traffic, or changing direction-other motorists on the road can pay the ultimate price.
The Statistics Don’t Lie
The Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts put out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shares the following grim statistics regarding exactly how dangerous dump and garbage truck accidents are:
- Dump trucks represented about 8 percent of all the large trucks involved in fatal traffic accidents. These numbers put dump trucks in fourth place in terms of overall danger.
- Dump trucks were responsible for a full 10 percent of all injury-causing accidents (again coming in at fourth place).
- Garbage trucks represented between 2.2 and 2.5 percent of all the large trucks in fatal traffic accidents. This rate easily landed them in the top 10 types of trucks involved in fatal crashes.
Never underestimate the danger posed by the dump and garbage trucks that share the roads with you.
If you have suffered injuries because of the negligence dump or garbage truck driver, the losses you suffer are very likely to be immense. In addition to property damage to your vehicle, these losses will fall into three basic categories.
Your Medical Bills
The medical costs associated with accidents of the magnitude of those caused by dump and garbage trucks tend to be ongoing and can include any combination of:
- Emergency services
- Surgical care
- Hospital stays
- Medical care from doctors and specialists
- Medical treatments, tests, and procedures
- Pain management
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Chiropractic care and other holistic treatment options
- Adaptive physical devices
- Adaptations to home and vehicle
- Home health care
- Prescription medications
These are just a few examples of the medical expenses you may face after truck accident. An attorney can help you go through your situation and make sure you account for all of them.
Your Lost Income
While you tend to your physical and emotional recovery after being injured by someone else’s negligence in a dump or garbage truck accident, you can expect to miss a considerable amount of time on the job, which means a lot of lost income.
If your injuries are serious enough, you may be unable to work, and your hard-earned career may come to an early end. Such losses in earning potential can be financially devastating. The fact that our careers are often closely tied to our identities helps to ensure that this category of loss can have a strong emotional component.
Your Physical and Emotional Pain
The physical and emotional pain associated with being seriously injured by someone else’s negligence in a violent and terrifying accident involving a massive dump or garbage truck is difficult to capture in words. The effects can include a loss of enjoyment in life, loss of consortium (or loss of family relationships), and more.
Furthermore, many victims of such accidents experience PTSD-like symptoms that can include:
- Difficulty getting back behind the wheel
- Terrifying flashbacks to the truck accident
- Severe mood swings
- Difficulty connecting with others and/or a tendency to push others away
- A tendency to self-isolate
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances that can include night terrors and/or insomnia
- Difficulty focusing
- Severe mood swings
- Problems with depression
- Increased irritability
One of the most difficult aspects of this emotional component is that it can serve to keep members of your support system away, just when their love and support would be most beneficial.
How an Experienced Dump and Garbage Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
If you’ve suffered injuries in a dump or garbage truck accident, you’re no doubt overwhelmed by your physical, financial, and emotional losses, and you may not know where to turn for the help you need.
The good news is that a dedicated dump and garbage truck accident attorney can:
- Gather all the evidence relevant to your claim, including interviewing eyewitnesses
- Locate and hire expert witnesses in defense of your claim
- Build the strongest claim for your rightful compensation
- Communicate with the insurance company on your behalf
- Negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that represents your claim’s optimal outcome
- Help you better understand the claims process and make the best decisions for yourself throughout the process
- If necessary, file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and represent you in court
Having an experienced dump and garbage truck accident attorney in your corner can significantly enhance your ability to obtain just compensation that allows you to pursue your most complete recovery.
Paying for an Experienced Attorney
You’ve suffered severe injuries and are dealing with substantial financial consequences, which may make affording a seasoned dump and garbage truck accident attorney seem completely out of reach.
Fortunately, you will not have to pay out of pocket for legal help. Most reputable personal injury attorneys, including those who handle dump and garbage truck accidents, work on contingency. Working on contingency means that your lawyer’s pay will depend upon (or will be contingent upon) your claim’s settlement (or court award).
If your claim settles (or proceeds to court and receives a court award), your attorney will receive a prearranged percentage of the total. However, if your claim does neither, you will have no responsibility to pay.
This arrangement ensures that you won’t have to burden yourself with any financial risk when retaining a lawyer to get you the compensation you deserve.
Taking on the Insurance Company
While it’s natural to think that the insurance company should simply cover you for the losses you’ve incurred-because that’s what we pay them to do-it’s not quite this simple. The insurance company is a business enterprise like any other, and as such, it is motivated by profits. This fact means it will do what it can to keep settlements like yours as low as possible, and toward this end, it has several handy techniques it may employ.
Making Early Settlement Offer
If the insurance company gets right back to you with an early settlement offer, it should give you considerable pause. Such an offer is very likely an attempt to finalize your claim before you’re aware of just how serious your legal damages are. You’re well-advised not to sign off on a settlement before you’ve discussed the matter with an experienced dump and garbage truck accident attorney who is familiar with your claim.
Early Claim Denial
If the insurance company denies your truck accident claim right out of the gate, you can feel exceptionally discouraged, but keep in mind some important points. First, this is likely a gambit to get rid of a claim while the claimant (you!) is too overwhelmed to fight back. You are well-advised to leave the fighting back to your attorney and to remember that the law-not the insurance company-will ultimately determine the validity of your claim.
Pressuring You to Provide a Recorded Statement
The insurance company may pressure you to give them a recorded statement. They may say that it will help them get your claim processed more quickly or result in getting you more compensation. The reality is that they want a recorded statement so they can ask you questions that they have designed to get you to say something that will hurt your case. Only talk to the insurance company with your lawyer present.
An Artificially Lengthy Claims Process
Another trick the insurance company may pull out is making the claims process more complicated and lengthy than it already is. The insurance company knows there are plenty of claimants out there who simply don’t have the patience to keep going. The law prohibits such practices. Your attorney knows how to remind the insurance company of this if they start giving you the runaround.
Consult a Truck Accident Attorney Today
Their immense size and weight help ensure that any accidents dump and garbage trucks are involved in are excessively dangerous. A well-respected truck accident lawyer can recognize how important your claim is to your recovery and dedicates their practice to helping clients like you prevail with just compensation covering their full range of losses. To learn more about how an attorney can help, please don’t wait-reach out today.