- Unlike other large trucks, which tend to operate on main roadways, garbage collection trucks work in busy neighborhoods. This can be a hazard to other vehicles and drivers as well as pedestrians and children at play.
- Some garbage collection services are provided by the city or county, making legal action difficult or impossible thanks to “sovereign immunity.”
- While suing or making a claim against a governmental entity, like a city, may be possible, it requires dealing with lots of red tape and following special rules.
- An experienced personal injury lawyer can give garbage truck accident victims a better chance of getting full and fair compensation.
Garbage Truck Accidents Can Cause Serious Life-altering Injuries
Garbage and recycling trucks are huge, heavy pieces of machinery, which are difficult to maneuver in tight spaces. The old adage applies as these huge trucks lurch from house to house on narrow streets – they operate like bulls in our “China shop” neighborhoods.
While semi-trucks and other over-the-road vehicles typically stick to major highways, garbage trucks do their work in Atlanta neighborhoods every single day. They lumber around narrow residential streets, where they must make their way among parked cars, children at play, and bicycle traffic.
Even though these trucks move slowly, they can be deadly, especially when their drivers are poorly trained or inexperienced. But the size and shape of these vehicles make it challenging for even well-trained drivers to navigate narrow residential streets and can restrict the vision of their drivers.
Sometimes, garbage truck drivers park in the middle of the street rather than pull over, out of the lane of traffic. This makes collisions with automobiles all too common, particularly during dark, early morning hours or inclement weather.
Even a minor accident with one of these large vehicles can leave you with injuries that may impact you for the rest of your life.
Garbage Truck Corporations in Atlanta
Like other large cities, Atlanta handles its own garbage collection services. Outlying communities may operate similarly or outsource garbage collection services to outside corporations. Giant garbage truck operators, like Waste Management, benefit enormously from this diversification. As a consumer, you may also enjoy advantages from outsourcing. Big corporate collection services tend to provide better equipment, regular maintenance, higher standards, and quality training for employees. Still, accidents happen.
So, who pays for your injuries if you’re in an accident with a garbage truck? When a large garbage collection corporation takes on a municipal contract, they often contract with other, smaller collection services to fulfill that contract. The larger collection service will require the subcontractor to carry liability insurance at a level sufficient to satisfy the state’s requirement for liability insurance. So, oftentimes, the subcontractor’s insurance carrier or other insurance policies would pay out for any injuries.
How Garbage Truck Companies Pay for Accident Injury Legal Claims
In nearly every state, the law requires all vehicles on the road to carry liability insurance, including working trucks, like garbage collection trucks. This liability insurance is meant to cover the medical costs of those injured in an accident caused by the truck’s driver.
Unfortunately, medical costs can often be greater than the amount of liability insurance required by law. But sometimes, there may be other sources of insurance available. For instance, the truck owner or the company to which the truck is leased may carry additional insurance. Having a legal team fighting for you can help ensure you find ways all the ways to obtain full compensation.
What Makes Garbage Truck Accident Claims Unique
The fact that trash collection services are often provided by or through the city or county government can be an obstacle in making a successful claim in a garbage truck accident. This is because many government entities are protected by “sovereign immunity,” which means there are strict rules when suing. For instance, you may have to file special notices that adhere to strict filing deadlines and direct them to the proper governmental authority, such as the County Commission or City Council.
However, if the city or county purchased liability insurance for their collection services rather than relying on sovereign immunity to protect them from legal action, it might be easier to obtain payment.
These factors must be part of your early strategy if you hope to obtain a settlement.
For this reason and many more, if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a garbage truck, it is wise to discuss the matter with a qualified personal injury lawyer. They can help you understand what governmental hoops you must jump through to be compensated at any level.
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The Advantage of Hiring a Lawyer That Takes on Garbage Truck Companies
Taking on a governmental entity or a large corporation can be extremely difficult. The many rules, regulations, deadlines, and special privileges of governmental entities are bad enough. But perhaps worse is the fact that these companies have their own highly effective legal teams whose job is to keep you from winning a judgment against them.
Additionally, they have access to evidence that you won’t have unless or until you undertake legal action with a subpoena. For example, these types of trucks often have “black box” devices that clearly state the movements and speed of the truck in question before, during, and after the accident. There may also be cameras recording the truck’s activity.
You can bet the company won’t be eager to make these bits of evidence available to you without an order from the court. Unless you know how to create, file, secure, and serve such documents, you are at a disadvantage. The help of a specialized lawyer can make all of this much easier.