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What you need to know about garbage truck accidents

Garbage collectors are essential to our society. But while you can be thankful for sanitation workers, you can also recognize the risk of giant trash trucks driving through neighborhoods. These vehicles can cause serious injuries and even deaths when accidents occur. 

When these large and heavy vehicles that carry hazardous loads strike a pedestrian or another vehicle, the consequences can be catastrophic. For example, a garbage truck hit and seriously injured a bicyclist in Manhattan last year. It is important for everyone to know how these accidents occur and what to do when they do. 

Causes of garbage truck accidents

There are many reasons why sanitation trucks may collide with pedestrians, bicyclists and passenger cars:

  • Driver error: Garbage truck drivers must be competent, skilled and alert. Unfortunately, when drivers are inexperienced, distracted or negligent in some other way, there can be tragic results.
  • Dangerous load: The loads that garbage trucks carry can cause or contribute to accidents, especially when they are top-heavy or contain flammable materials. 
  • Hazardous conditions: Sanitation trucks may crash because of hazards such as potholes, poor road designs, inadequate signage and inclement weather. 
  • Poor maintenance: Garbage truck owners must properly maintain vehicles according to strict regulations. If a truck has worn tires or defective brakes, an accident can easily occur. 

The cause of garbage truck accidents may impact liability in terms of a personal injury lawsuit. 

What to do after an accident

If you are the victim of a garbage truck collision, follow these steps:

  • Check for injuries and seek medical attention.
  • Contact law enforcement so that there is an accident report. 
  • Take pictures of the scene and your injuries. 
  • Gather contact information from the garbage truck driver and anyone else involved. 
  • Write down the contact information of any witnesses. 
  • Consider taking legal action to receive monetary compensation for your injuries. 

You may be able to hold the driver, private waste company, local government, maintenance crew or manufacturers responsible for your injuries. 

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