Garbage Truck Accident Attorneys in Houston
If a garbage truck driver caused an accident that injured you in Houston, you might be entitled to compensation. However, getting this compensation could prove difficult without the help of an experienced, aggressive attorney like the ones you’ll find at The Callahan Law Firm.
Led by former mechanical engineer and Texas board-certified personal injury trial attorney Michael Callahan, our law firm has a proven track record of successfully representing individuals and families involved in all types of trucking accidents.
Contact our firm today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Houston garbage truck accident lawyers. We are ready to review your situation, explain your rights, and lay out your best legal options.
Why Are Garbage Trucks So Dangerous?
Like other heavy-duty commercial vehicles, garbage trucks can create hazards for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. These bulky vehicles travel through residential neighborhoods making frequent stops and turns as they collect trash, in addition to picking up refuse from businesses. Garbage trucks often operate in the dark or the twilight, and they stop and start frequently while navigating their routes.
Since commercial vehicles are much heavier than other vehicles on the road, they impart great force in any collision they’re involved in. Greater force can result in more serious injuries than in collisions between passenger vehicles.
Given their size, garbage trucks have significant blind spots, which means the driver is unable to see areas around the truck while operating the vehicle. If the truck driver isn’t vigilant about checking their blind spots, they risk colliding with smaller vehicles and pedestrians. That could happen when the garbage truck’s driver changes lanes without looking or doesn’t realize there’s a vehicle behind them when they must stop suddenly. The waste disposal vehicles may also have automated equipment to pick up trash, creating risks for pedestrians and bicyclists on the sidewalks while in operation.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Commission (FMCSA) has reported an increase in fatal accidents with garbage trucks and accidents causing significant injuries. Because of the dangerous nature of these vehicles, garbage truck operators must be vigilant for other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Common Types of Garbage Truck Accidents in Houston
Accidents with garbage trucks in Houston happen in various ways and for various reasons. Some of the most common types of garbage truck accidents include:
- Garbage truck reversing accidents
- Garbage truck blind spot accidents
- Debris falling off the truck causing accidents
- Other vehicles attempting to pass the garbage truck
- Fatigued driving accidents
- Accidents caused by the garbage truck driver driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Sideswipe collisions
- Vehicular malfunction collisions
- Inexperienced driver collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
Different Types of Garbage Trucks
There are four primary types of garbage trucks, all of which can cause devastating injuries or death if involved in an accident:
- Front-loader garbage trucks– These trucks are usually used for garbage collection at industrial sites and commercial properties. These massive trucks have containers or dumpsters to collect industrial waste materials. Front-loader garbage trucks are the largest type of garbage truck and can hold up to 40 cubic yards of trash and can carry containers weighing up to 8,000 pounds.
- Side-loader garbage trucks– You are probably familiar with a side-loader garbage truck, as this truck is often used for residential trash pickup. While some are manual, requiring an operator to pick up the customers’ bins, many are automatic, with robotic arms that extend, pick up, and dump a customer’s bin into the truck. Although typically not as large as a front-loader garbage truck, they pose just as much risk for accidents. These trucks can carry up to 30,000 pounds of trash.
- Rear-loader garbage trucks– These trucks can be used for commercial or residential trash pickup, depending on their size. The largest rear-loader garbage trucks can haul up to 18 tons of trash. Rear-loader garbage trucks remain a popular choice for waste-hauling companies today.
- Roll-off garbage trucks– Most often used at construction sites, these trucks can carry 10 tons of trash. As the name suggests, their roll-off containers can be left at a customer’s location and then picked up once full. They have heavy-duty construction that can support steel and other industrial-weight waste products.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA)’s collected data reflects a continuing increase in accidents involving garbage trucks. SWANA found that 35 people died in crashes involving trash collection vehicles in a single recent year.
Who Could Be Liable for Garbage Truck Accidents?
Parties potentially liable for a Houston garbage truck accident include:
- The garbage truck operator –The garbage truck driver may be held liable if their negligence led to the accident, and the driver’s employer can be held vicariously liable.
- The municipality –Trash collection may be handled by a local government agency. Strict notice deadlines and other prerequisites may apply to suing a municipality.
- The waste removal company –Private companies may be held liable for their garbage truck driver’s negligence in causing the accident. For example, the company may not have adequately trained its drivers or properly maintained its trucks.
- Maintenance and repair companies – Garbage trucks are complex pieces of equipment. It is necessary to inspect, maintain, and repair them to prevent accidents. When a repair company fails to do so correctly, it can be held liable for a resulting accident.
- The garbage truck’s manufacturer –If one of the truck’s systems or parts malfunctions, the manufacturer might be legally responsible for your injuries.
Our attorneys are ready to investigate the accident that injured you to determine all potentially liable parties and all sources of insurance coverage that might apply.
How Our Houston Lawyers Help Garbage Truck Accident Victims
A garbage truck accident can leave you struggling to recover from your injuries and pay your medical bills. You need an experienced lawyer from The Callahan Law Firm on your side. When we work for you, we will:
- Thoroughly investigate the accident to determine what really happened and who is at fault
- Communicate with the insurance companies and their attorneys on your behalf
- Negotiate for full and fair compensation from the insurance companies
- Take your case to trial if negotiations do not produce an adequate offer
- Communicate with you through every step of your case
Contact Our Houston Garbage Truck Accident Attorneys
Contact The Callahan Law Firm for a free consultation today. Our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys are ready to evaluate your case and advise you about your options for pursuing compensation. Let us help you demand justice.