Garbage Truck Accidents

The consequences of a collision between a garbage truck and another vehicle are terrible and the cases involving garbage trucks are not only real but very common. In March, a semi-truck struck a garbage truck in Rome, Illinois, sending two people to the hospital. North of the city, a garbage truck turned over in August, closing normally congested Shermer Road for several hours. Last year a 70-year old woman was killed when she was run over by a neighborhood garbage truck in Decatur. And in Glenview, Illinois, three people were killed when a garbage truck plowed into another vehicle two years ago, as both vehicles burst into flames.

No one is denying that waste management is a necessary job as well as a dangerous one. For those valiant workers who spend their days working on a garbage truck, there are just so many risk to monitor as well as doing fast and difficult work under tough conditions. Waste management workers have also traditionally been one of the top careers in the U.S. at risk for injuries and fatalities. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor ranks the job of garbage truck operators as one of the country’s most dangerous occupations, largely due to the oversized rate of fatal garbage truck accidents.

Although many initiatives have been undertaken in recent years to make garbage trucks, safer, many people in Chicago and greater Illinois will still die each year as a result of garbage truck accidents.

The personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. not only understand the nuances of cases involving garbage truck accidents that resulted in serious physical injury and property damage but our firm also has access to top investigators and other specialists to help understand how a garbage truck accident happened and who is to blame.

Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents

Determining the cause of a garbage truck accident, whether it is operator error, mechanical failure, or a combination of both, is challenging. In Chicago alone, garbage trucks collect about 1.1 million tons of residential garbage and recyclables annually. So it stands to reason that there are many factors that might cause a garbage truck accident here in Illinois.

  • Strict ordinances are in place to prevent waste management companies from collecting garbage between 10 PM and 7 AM in many parts of Chicago and many other large cities and communities in Illinois. Still, some companies continue to operate garbage trucks late into the night or early in the morning. These violations create potentially dangerous situations for motorists returning to or leaving their homes during these hours.
  • Garbage trucks by their very nature must make frequent stops, each of which creates an opportunity for a crash.
  • Human error often plays a key role in an accident if a negligent garbage truck operator fails to monitor their surroundings.
  • The tight streets and alleys of Chicago and other municipalities present many opportunities for garbage truck drivers to inflict physical injury and property damage.

Other Risk Factors for Garbage Truck Accidents

  • Falling debris. Although garbage trucks are designed to keep waste contained in the truck, sometimes debris flies out. When heavy debris hits pedestrians or vehicles, or creates an obstruction in the road, it may serious injuries.
  • Inattentive drivers. The large size of a garbage truck makes it difficult for garbage truck operators to see other drivers or people nearby. Accidents happen when the driver fails to monitor his or her surroundings before backing up.
  • Negligent driving. As with any other collision, garbage truck accidents can occur when the garbage truck driver operates the vehicle in a negligent or reckless manner. Whether the driver was speeding, not paying attention, fails to obey traffic rules or is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can be found to be negligent in the event of an accident.
  • Equipment failure. Garbage trucks are complex equipment so mechanical issues in a garbage truck, such as brake failure or steering wheel failure, can cause serious accidents and injuries. Mechanical failures might be due to poor vehicle maintenance or defective garbage truck design, either of which can apply liability to different parties besides the garbage truck driver.

Garbage Truck Safety

Improvements have been made over the years in garbage truck safety in Illinois, including automated pick-up procedures that help reduce hazards for garbage truck operators and nearby motorists. Unfortunately, there are still many dangers for garbage truck operators, other motorists, and passing pedestrians. To help maintain a safe environment, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration recommends the following:

  • Garbage truck drivers and operators should always use reflective and protective gear when working on trucks.
  • Workers must stand at the side of the truck when the compactor is running.
  • All garbage truck equipment needs to be turned off completely to ensure that employees are not in danger of being crushed.
  • Workers must create a pedestrian-free zone while trucks are operating
  • Truck operators should constantly monitor their surroundings and stop their work if other workers or pedestrians are not in view

Due to the heavy equipment used on garbage trucks, operators have a duty of care to apply caution in order to protect workers and pedestrians passing by from these risks.

What causes the need for an Illinois trucking accident lawyer?

When a collision happens between a heavy vehicle like a garbage truck and a passenger vehicle, people are often seriously injured. Under the laws of the state of Illinois, an injured party can receive money for damages from the responsible party. This compensation may include past medical expenses, future medical expenses, wage losses, pain and suffering, and other injuries.

Investigating a garbage truck accident is a complex and challenging task. It is also incumbent upon the attorney representing an injured party to apply the most comprehensive legal analysis and arguments to secure compensation for damages. Garbage truck accident liability is not cut and dried. Liable parties may include the garbage truck driver, his or her employer, a city or municipality and even the garbage truck manufacturer or a maintenance shop. It is vital that you secure the most knowledgeable attorney available to help you recover your quality of life.

Contact a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Today

Truck accident cases involving garbage trucks are challenging and can prove to be difficult to investigate. Proving negligence in a crash that involves a waste management truck also takes an investment of time, experience, and resources. If you have been injured in an auto accident involving a garbage truck or any other incident involving an 18-wheeler, big rig or another large commercial vehicle, the trucking injury lawyers of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., can pursue the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today a (312) 236-2900.