Garbage trucks are part of almost every community; however, they are still inherently dangerous commercial trucks. With their large bulk and awkward size, garbage trucks also have a great deal of cargo and mechanisms that could all cause a serious accident. Unfortunately, many people in the state of Illinois suffer injuries due to accidents involving garbage trucks. Contact our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 if you suffered injuries due to an accident involving a garbage truck. We can help you understand how an Evanston garbage truck accident lawyer can ensure your legal rights remain protected.
The Dangers of Garbage Trucks
As most people can imagine, garbage truck employees and workers have one of the most dangerous and hazardous jobs in the United States, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Garbage truck drivers and employees suffer injuries and deaths every year due to their inherent hazardous and dangerous working environment. With the hydraulic lift—or robotic arm—that is found on most garbage trucks, there are several dangers that can cause catastrophic injury or even death to garbage truck workers, or other motorists or pedestrians.
Garbage Truck Driver Requirements
Garbage trucks are a type of commercial vehicle, and as such, garbage truck drivers must have experience and training that will allow them to pass exams and tests to receive their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). If a garbage truck driver fails to obtain a CDL and operates a garbage truck anyway, they may face penalties and fines. Additionally, if they cause any kind of accident, they may remain liable for any injuries victims suffered from that accident. Also, it is the responsibility of a garbage truck company to ensure that its drivers receive the proper training and instruction regarding driving a garbage truck, as well as ensure that they have a CDL. If a garbage truck company fails to ensure that its drivers have the proper license, training, or experience, they may also remain liable for any injuries resulting from a garbage truck accident involving one of their drivers.
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Garbage Truck Federal Safety Regulations
Knowing the dangers that exist surrounding these large vehicles in residential areas, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed certain safety regulations regarding garbage trucks. In some cases, an independent investigation of a garbage truck accident will reveal that some of these required federal safety regulations were never followed by either the garbage truck driver or the garbage company’s employees. For example, according to these safety regulations, the garbage truck driver and employees must do the following:
- Always wear protective and reflective gear.
- Stand to the side of the garbage truck when the trash is compacting within the truck.
- All garbage truck equipment must shut down completely when the truck enters into the compacting area to ensure that all workers are safe and not crushed.
- Garbage truck employees should proactively create a pedestrian-free area while the garbage truck is in operation in a residential area or city street.
- A garbage truck driver or employee should immediately stop the garbage truck if any worker or employee is not directly in their view.
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Reasons for Garbage Truck Accidents
Every garbage truck accident will have a unique set of facts and circumstances. An Evanston garbage truck accident lawyer may help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation.
Some of the reasons that a garbage truck accident can injure motorists or pedestrians may include the following:
- Falling Trash and Debris. The trash collected by a garbage truck could fall from the garbage truck either in residential areas or on the roadways, leading to serious accidents.
- Distracted Driving. Like all drivers, a garbage truck driver has the responsibility to consistently monitor their surroundings. Texting while driving, talking with coworkers, or talking on the phone can cause an accident resulting in severe injuries.
- Reckless Driving. If a garbage truck driver wants to hurry and finish his or her route, is speeding, inattentive, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or fails to follow traffic laws or rules of the road, catastrophic injuries or even death can occur.
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Pursuing a Claim Against a Government Entity or Private Company
If a city, such as Evanston, Illinois, collects trash or waste, and an injury occurs as a result of the city-owned garbage truck, then the claim for personal injury or wrongful death would be directly against the city. If there is a private garbage company that has garbage trucks involved in an accident, then a victim of that accident would file a claim against the garbage or trash company that owns the garbage truck.
There are several differences between pursuing a claim against a government entity versus a claim against a private company. First, the statute of limitations (the deadline to file a claim) is completely different. In most cases, city and state governments have a much shorter window of opportunity to file a claim for any injuries suffered as a result of government negligence.
Additionally, filing a claim against a government entity typically requires that a victim first notifies the government agency or entity and follows specific procedures prior to filing a claim in court. If the garbage truck company is a private company, however, a victim will either be able to file a personal injury claim, or wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one, directly with a civil court.
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Contact an Evanston Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer Today
If you were in an accident involving either a privately owned or governmentally owned garbage truck, you likely have serious injuries that resulted in medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. A loved one may have died due to their accident involving a garbage truck. Contact our legal team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation. You can learn more about how an Evanston garbage truck accident lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, and how you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, or on behalf of your loved one.