Garbage Truck Accidents: Establishing Fault and Liability

Most traffic accidents involve only passenger vehicles, and filing insurance claims after minor accidents is usually straightforward. However, if the accident involves a garbage truck, the case can become more complicated. Not only might these cases involve employees working for a company or government, garbage trucks might cause serious damage or injury to other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists.

How is fault determined in an accident involving a garbage truck?

The first thing that needs to be determined is who was at fault. If a garbage truck suddenly stopped and someone traveling behind struck the back of it, that person will likely be responsible. Not only because rear-end accidents are typically the fault of the person who struck from behind. But it’s common knowledge that these types of trucks make sudden stops, especially when in residential areas.

When the driver of a garbage truck is at fault, it’s many times the result of failure to see the other party. It may be the truck turns right while a pedestrian is crossing. Or the truck cuts off a bicyclist. Even motor vehicles can be difficult to see.

But an obstructed view isn’t necessarily a defense. Operators of a garbage truck have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and to drive in a reasonable manner so as to prevent injury to others. It’s critical that these drivers check their blind spots and look carefully before making turns.

If the driver of the garbage truck was negligent, then any accident victims may pursue damages in a claim. But the next thing that victims need to determine is liability.

Who can be liable for a garbage truck accident?

Depending on where you live, garbage collection could be a government responsibility or the government might contract private companies to perform the duties. In the city of Aurora, private companies are responsible for trash collection. So under these circumstances, an accident victim may pursue a claim against the company that employs the garbage truck driver. It’s important to get the name of the garbage collection company when an accident occurs.

If the accident occurred in a city where the garbage collectors are government employees, then accident victims must follow the appropriate steps to file a claim against the government. This entails filing a notice of claim with the appropriate government agency, which will approve or deny the claim. If the claim is denied or 90 days have passed, then the accident victim may take further action to recover damages.

How can an attorney assist with a personal injury claim after an accident with a garbage truck?

When the injuries are serious or fatal, the best way to protect your rights is to seek legal counsel.

There could be a lot at stake financially in the way of:

  • medical bills;
  • missed time from work;
  • pain and suffering;
  • disability;
  • disfigurement; and
  • wrongful death.

Contact D.J. Banovitz if you’re in the Aurora area and were in an accident with a garbage truck. Call 303-300-5060 to set up a free legal consultation to review the details and circumstances of your case to determine fault and eligibility to file a claim.

D.J. Banovitz’ career has always concentrated on trial practice and he has litigated hundreds of cases. His passion and sole career focus has been to seek justice for people suffering from personal injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence. The hallmark of the Law Office of D.J. Banovitz, is the total commitment to professionalism, quality, and personalized care of your injury case. D.J. has dedicated his professional life to helping those most in need and is a proud and active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. His experience includes volunteering for Colorado Rural Legal Services in Montrose, the Colorado Aids Project, consumer law, family law, criminal defense, and Alternative Defense Counsel for juveniles in Denver.