Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. Articles A Survey of Causes and Types of Garbage Truck Accidents

A Survey of Causes and Types of Garbage Truck Accidents

By Christopher Keith Fletcher  Jun. 11, 2020 9:37a

Garbage truck accidents can be devastating and traumatic. We all see these giant waster movers driving on our streets and highways almost daily. Most people are not aware of this, but if you get hit by a garbage truck, you are likely to be getting hit by a vehicle that is as much as 22 times the weight of your personal vehicle. The average weight of a three-axel garbage truck is 64,000 lbs. These behemoths can carry another 24,000 lbs. of trash. If the trash truck is loaded with foul smelling refuse, that is a total of 88,000 lbs. colliding with your passenger car that likely weighs around 4,000 lbs. No matter how you look at it, the passenger car always comes out on the losing end in an accident.

Causes of Accidents Involving Garbage Trucks

There are many reasons that could be responsible for garbage truck accidents. Trash truck operators often work long hours and their day starts early in the morning. Weather and other factors often put them behind schedule making them rush when they feel they can get away with it so they can finish their trash route. Some reasons a garbage truck driver may cause a collision are listed below:

  • Failure to check blind spots on the vehicle.
  • Operating the trash truck while drowsy or fatigued.
  • Driving in reverse when unsafe to do so.
  • Rushing due to weather delays so as not to fall behind.
  • Overweight loads.
  • Traffic law violations.

Limitations on Certain Claims Against Garbage Companies

Most garbage trucks are operated by private companies like AW Waste, Progressive Waste Solutions, Republic Services, Waste Management, Inc. WCA Waste Corporation and Waste Cost Solutions. Some garbage trucks are owned by municipalities. If the garbage is owned and operated by a government entity, your damages will be limited to either $100,000 or $250,000 depending upon whether it is city or county owned.

When you have an accident with a garbage truck, you are filing a commercial motor vehicle claim. However, these vehicles are involved in intrastate trucking versus interstate trucking. As a result, they are only required by the State of Texas to carry $500,000 in liability insurance coverage unless they transport hazardous waste, in which case they must carry $1,000,000.00 in liability coverage. However, garbage trucks can carry more coverage.

Workers Injured on Garbage Trucks

If you are a worker injured on a garbage truck anywhere in the United States except Texas, you are required to be covered by workers compensation. Texas is the only state where worker's compensation is optional. If it is provided, then workers compensation will bar you from making a civil personal injury claim against your employer in most cases. However, if there is no workers compensation provided to you, then you have a right to bring a personal injury claim against your employer for your injuries if they are the result of your employer and/or another employee's negligence.

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