Illinois Garbage Truck Accidents
Being a trash waste and garbage collector is the fourth most dangerous occupation in the U.S. The main dangers garbage truck operators and workers face are from slippery roads, falling objects, leaking hazardous materials, equipment malfunctions and injuries from the trash itself, like cuts from broken glass.
Trash, waste and garbage truck workers are not the only ones that can suffer injuries from this potentially dangerous activity. Many Illinois motorists and passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists are injured or killed every year in accidents caused by trash collecting activity.
Recently in Chicago, in the early morning hours, a garbage truck collided with a vehicle, killing the passenger and critically injuring the driver. In another incident, a trash truck fell over on its side, crushing a car that was next to it. According to news reports, the car was “pancaked.” Fortunately, the driver of the car was transported to the hospital, but escaped with only minor injuries.
Most Common Causes of Trash, Waste and Garbage Truck Accidents
Trash, waste and garbage trucks are susceptible to injury causing accidents for many reasons. Some of the most common incidents are:
- Garbage trucks weigh about 33,000 pounds when empty and up to 51,000 pounds when fully loaded. They are cumbersome and are not easy for drivers to turn. This causes them to tip over unexpectedly if the load gets unbalanced or the driver turns sharply. Not long ago, in Crest Hill, Illinois, a waste truck driver was trapped when his garbage truck turned over.
- There is no rearview mirror that drivers can use to look directly behind the vehicle. They only have side mirrors to use, which means they have blind spots.
- Garbage trucks frequently start and stop in unpredictable ways, which creates a danger to other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists who may be caught by surprise by the actions of the truck.
- The trucks often back-up without much warning and even sometimes, go the wrong way down a street.
- Garbage trucks have a lot of mechanical equipment that can malfunction and cause an accident.
- Object or debris can fall off of a truck and hit people nearby or create a road hazard causing vehicles or cyclists to hit the debris before there is time to remove it.
- Waste removal companies have a tight schedule. Due to the noise the trucks create, there are general local ordinances which prohibit drivers from picking up trash during certain hours. This means they must have all the trash collected in their assigned geographical collection area on a strict time schedule. When there are holidays, or bad weather, the workload can double, but the time to complete it is the same. Working faster means less attention to detail which results in more accidents.
- Truck operators may not take time to use the safety features that may be available. For example, a back-up camera that shows the area directly behind the truck only prevents accidents if the garbage truck driver uses it.
Why You Need an Attorney
If you are injured due to the operation of a garbage truck, your claim requires extensive investigation and handling. Locating and securing evidence including witness statements photographs can be critical to successful results on your case. Getting the involved companies to preserve the vehicle and other physical evidence can be crucially important. Time is of the essence in these cases and moving quickly can mean the difference between winning and losing.
There may be others responsible for the accident and your injuries. The owner of the waste management company who owns the trucks and contracts with the city for services may have not properly maintained or equipped the trash truck. Multiple parties may result in several different insurance companies becoming involved. Each company may have different liability policy limits. They may argue among themselves about who or what is to blame for the accident. There is often the need for expert testimony concerning the actions of the driver and the condition of the truck itself. Additionally, you may need guidance and input on your recovery from your injuries.
At the Blumenshine Law Group, we have many years of experience in helping clients obtain compensation for their injuries caused by trucking accidents. We thoroughly investigate the case, advise you all along the way, and know when expert testimony is necessary to support your case.
Although there are no guarantees in the legal system, we can guarantee that we will fight hard and relentlessly to be sure you are compensated for your losses by those responsible. This includes gathering and securing evidence, collecting for your current and future medical expenses, current and future lost wages, your pain and suffering and for any other loss you may have suffered. Contact us for a free consultation. If you cannot come to us, we can communicate by phone, email or arrange to meet you at your home or in the hospital.