Garbage Truck Accidents in Charlotte, N.C.
Garbage trucks keep our homes and streets clean, but they also present a serious hazard to the public if an accident occurs. Garbage trucks weigh as much as 50,000 pounds — around 10 times heavier than the average SUV. They also have massive blind spots and need to stop frequently, which creates a dangerous situation for anyone in the vicinity.
A garbage truck accident case differs from a standard car accident claim. While the trash truck driver could certainly be held liable, there are other parties (such as the driver’s employer) that may also be held accountable. Understanding these differences is important so that accident victims are fully compensated for their losses.
If you’ve been injured in a garbage truck crash or dump truck accident in North Carolina, talk to a truck accident lawyer in Charlotte at Stewart Law Offices today. Our law firm has successfully obtained top-dollar verdicts and settlements for injured people for more than 30 years. Let us help you pursue the justice you need and deserve for your losses.
Call or visit our contact page today for a free initial consultation.
Types of Dump Truck and Garbage Truck Accidents
Dump truck and garbage truck accidents have some similarities to other commercial vehicle crashes. But there are also some distinct differences.
For example, all large trucks are difficult to maneuver and have limited visibility. But unlike most long-haul commercial trucks, garbage trucks and dump trucks are found throughout residential areas with narrow streets, driveways, and more pedestrians and bicyclists in the area. This can be a recipe for disaster if the truck driver is not paying close attention to his or her surroundings.
Dump truck and trash truck accidents often happen when:
- The truck collides with other vehicles on the road.
- The garbage truck sideswipes another vehicle as the driver attempts to pass.
- A dump truck strikes a pedestrian or cyclist on a road or sidewalk.
- A driver fails to check his/her blind spots.
- A dump truck backs into another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist as it picks up a load.
- The driver fails to see someone coming out of an alley or driveway.
- The truck’s load is not properly secured, sending trash or flying objects onto the road.
North Carolina personal injury law allows people who are hurt due to another’s wrongful actions to pursue compensation for their injuries. If you were hurt in an accident with a dump truck or garbage truck in Charlotte, get a no-nonsense lawyer from Stewart Law Offices to fight for the money you deserve.
How Common Are Accidents with Trash Trucks?
While garbage truck accidents are not the most common type of truck accident nationwide, they are capable of severe harm to private citizens and waste workers alike.
According to a 2020 report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 325 fatal crashes involving trash trucks in the U.S. between 2016 and 2018. In 2018 alone, there were 124 fatal garbage truck accidents and 1,471 crashes that resulted in injuries.
These statistics come as the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) reported a “surge of fatal incidents involving solid waste personnel and vehicles,” with 17 people dead in the first 22 days of January 2019 alone.
Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents in Charlotte, N.C.
Garbage trucks can be deadly if they’re not handled with care. Common causes of garbage truck accidents include:
- Inattention: Distracted driving can have disastrous consequences. But a driver behind the wheel of a multi-ton waste truck must take special care to avoid an accident. Glancing away for an instant could turn into tragedy.
- Failure to check blind spots: Trash trucks have much larger blind spots. Drivers are trained to check these spots carefully to avoid collisions, but a failure to exercise reasonable care could result in backover accidents, sideswipe collisions, and accidents that crush pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and waste workers themselves.
- Driver fatigue: Garbage truck drivers are often required to work long shifts at odd hours, starting and ending when it is still dark outside. If drivers aren’t well-rested, their judgment and reaction times may be impaired. This can lead to an accident if a driver fails to notice someone in their path or doesn’t react quickly enough to avoid a collision.
- Failure to yield: Like all motorists, solid waste workers in Charlotte are expected to follow the rules of the road. When drivers fail to yield the right of way to others, a garbage truck accident could result in life-threatening injuries or even death.
- Backup warning system failure: The reason large trucks like garbage trucks have backup warnings systems is because they can injure people even at relatively low speeds. If the backup warning system isn’t functioning properly, a nearby car, pedestrian, or cyclist may not hear or notice the garbage truck in time to avoid an accident.
- Garbage bin loader arm equipment failure: Garbage trucks rely on large loader arms to lift trash cans off the ground and empty the refuse into the truck. If the loader arm fails in some way, the trash bin can crash down and hit a nearby car, cyclist, or pedestrian.
- Malfunctioning brakes: If the brakes on a garbage truck fail, it may not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident, even at low speeds.
- Lack of blind spot cameras: Many waste-removal companies and city/county governments have blind spot cameras in their trucks to improve safety, but those that don’t or have malfunctioning cameras can leave others at risk when a garbage truck turns or must stop short.
Who Is Liable After a Garbage Truck Accident?
While the garbage truck driver is the most obvious party to look at after an accident, they may not be the only ones who are liable for the crash. Some potentially liable parties in a garbage truck accident include:
- Truck driver: If a driver is fatigued, impaired by alcohol or drugs, distracted, or otherwise negligent they have failed in their legal responsibilities and can be held liable for your injuries.
- Waste disposal company: The companies who employ garbage truck drivers and handle the various routes are also responsible for minimizing the chance of an accident. They need to make sure drivers are properly trained and ensure that drivers aren’t taking risky shortcuts or engaging in dangerous driving behaviors. If an accident happened while the truck was on a scheduled route, the company can be held liable for a driver’s actions.
- Local government and municipalities: Garbage trucks may be under the supervision of city and county governments. Cases against the government are especially time-sensitive, with a shorter statute of limitations and difficult channels to navigate. Contacting a trash truck attorney right away can protect your rights to compensation.
- The vehicle’s manufacturer: If mechanical failures cause a garbage truck accident, the manufacturer of the truck may be held liable for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured in Mecklenburg County or the surrounding cities or communities, a Charlotte garbage truck accident lawyer can investigate your case and fight for the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After an Accident with a Dump Truck or Garbage Truck
To protect your health and your legal claim, take these steps after a dump truck accident:
- Seek medical treatment: See a doctor as soon as possible after the accident to prevent making injuries worse or missing undetected injuries. Delaying treatment may jeopardize your chances of recovering full and fair compensation.
- Follow doctor’s orders: One common tactic that insurance companies and waste disposal companies may try is to shift blame onto accident victims for not following their doctor’s instructions. Follow whatever treatment regimen your doctor provides precisely.
- Keep all accident-related documentation: Save your medical records, medical bills, receipts, pay stubs, accident photos, police report, and any other documents related to the garbage truck accident. This evidence is crucial for proving liability when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit after an accident.
- Stay off of social media: Don’t make any posts about your accident, as your words can be used against you later.
- Contact an attorney: You need to know your legal options. Hiring a skilled garbage truck accident lawyer who knows how to handle these claims can give you the best possible chance for compensation.
Can I Sue After a Garbage Truck Accident?
You are entitled to file a lawsuit after a garbage truck accident, and doing so may be the only way to force the liable parties to pay for the pain they caused you. A garbage truck accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to support your claim, handle all the communication with the parties involved in the accident, negotiate for a fair settlement, and prepare your case for trial if necessary.
Injured in a Charlotte Garbage Truck Accident? Contact Stewart Law Offices Today
You don’t have to face a legal battle after an accident with a trash truck by yourself. Get help from a garbage truck lawyer in Charlotte, NC at Stewart Law Offices. Our proven lawyers have a track record of success helping North Carolinians secure the compensation they are owed.
We’re standing by and ready to help. Call our office or visit our contact page for a free consultation today.