Lexington’s Division of Waste Management puts about 130 garbage trucks on the road to collect trash, recyclables and yard waste from more than 90,000 homes and about 4,000 businesses. Several private solid waste disposal companies – such as Republic Services, Rumpke, Central Kentucky Hauling, Advanced Disposal and Veolia – service about 12,000 customers in Lexington.
Garbage truck accidents occur in Lexington, and in fact have led to fatalities and serious injuries in recent crashes. These large, heavy trucks can do terrible damage to people or property in a collision. The operation of a garbage truck is physically demanding work that can lead to workers being injured in accidents, as well.
Individuals and families whose lives are upended by a garbage truck accident can face heavy medical bills and other costs and losses over months of recovery. Families who lose loved ones in these accidents may have a lost a breadwinner. When such an accident has been caused by negligence on the part of the garbage truck crew or their employers, those who have been injured may have the right to seek compensation for their losses. Garbage truck workers injured on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation.
At Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, we help individuals and families who have been injured in garbage truck accidents. It takes courage to stand up and say that Lexington and Fayette County or a private company need to do what is right by you and your family after a serious accident. Our attorneys provide the Kentucky Courage and the legal know-how to help you seek all of the compensation you are due.
How Garbage Truck Accidents Happen
Garbage trucks travel assigned routes to collect solid waste and transport it to disposal or sorting facilities, such as a landfill, recycling center or transfer station. These heavy commercial motor vehicles are dump trucks equipped with hydraulic lifting and crushing devices and large storage areas. Garbage truck drivers repeatedly stop and start their vehicles and often must maneuver them within confined spaces and with limited visibility.
The nature of garbage trucks and sanitation work can lead to a variety of accidents and subsequent injuries. Most garbage truck accidents that affect people who are not members of the sanitation crew are motor vehicle accidents.
Garbage truck accidents often involve:
- Backing into a vehicle, a pedestrian or bicyclist. Back-over accidents are a leading cause of work vehicle accidents.
- Rear-end collisions, caused when a trash truck driver follows another vehicle too closely and does not have room to stop.
- Turning accidents at intersections, in which the garbage truck driver fails to see another vehicle and collides with it. The garbage truck driver may fail to survey traffic adequately before turning or may fail to see a vehicle because their line of sight is obstructed.
- Rollover accidents caused by the garbage truck hitting an embankment or rounding a turn too fast and/or because debris within the cargo hold shifted.
- Inclement weather, which can make roads slick and increase stopping distances or cause a garbage truck driver to lose control of their vehicle.
- Mechanical failures, such as loss of brakes, steering, or a tire blowout. This may be caused by the lack of proper maintenance or a defective truck component.
In some cases, falling debris from a garbage truck may strike someone and injure them, or fall into the roadway and cause an accident.
Who is Liable in a Garbage Truck Accident?
Most garbage truck accidents are vehicle accidents caused by driver errors or negligence. This may include violating traffic laws, driving too fast for conditions, not checking blind spots or driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
As with other commercial truck accidents, a legal claim after an accident will inevitably involve the sanitation crew’s employer. An employer is vicariously liable for the negligent acts or omissions of their employees in the course of employment, such as while operating a garbage truck and/or providing solid waste management services.
In Lexington, sanitation services are provided by either the local government, officially the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, or a private company. Either could be held liable and compelled to compensate the injured victim.
In other cases, we might seek compensation from the:
- Garbage truck garage: If a garbage truck accident was caused by a mechanical failure due to maintenance or repairs that weren’t performed properly, a third-party contracted repair shop responsible for the work could be sued.
- Truck manufacturer: If the garbage truck had a defect or mechanical failure that caused the accident, the manufacturer that made the truck or the defective truck part could be held liable.
Finally, if a defect in the road or other improperly designed, built or installed infrastructure causes a crash, accident victims can sue government bodies or contractors responsible for constructing or maintaining the roadway.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover After a Garbage Truck Accident
When you choose Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer to represent you in a garbage truck accident claim, we will do everything in our power to make you financially whole again. We will develop a full accounting of your costs and losses and present your demands to the insurance company.
In Kentucky, you may demand compensation in a personal injury claim for:
- Medical expenses, including for future treatment
- Lost wages, including future losses due to diminished earning capacity
- Cost to repair or replace your vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
To ensure we demand maximum compensation for you, it is necessary for you to be near or at full medical recovery from your injuries, because medical costs typically represent the majority of most claims. This is why accepting a quick settlement offer from an insurance company is a mistake. You have to know the full extent of your injuries and medical care needs, including what future costs you can expect for ongoing issues, in order to know what is required for full and fair compensation to you.
What Should I do After Being Injured in a Garbage Truck Accident?
The two most important things to do after being injured in an accident involving a garbage truck are to get medical care and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Being treated for your injuries is not only essential for your health, it documents the fact of your injuries and how badly you were hurt. If you have a legal claim, it will be based primarily on how badly you were injured.
If you contact Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer as soon as you are able after a garbage truck accident, we can begin promptly to gather evidence to determine which party should be held liable for your injuries. We can handle all paperwork and questions required by insurers and deal with the headaches of an insurance claim for you. If insurers will not do the right thing by you, we will be prepared to file a formal lawsuit on your behalf.
Immediately after a garbage truck accident, after phoning 911 for police and emergency medical care, if you are able you should:
- Get the name and contact information for the garbage truck driver and his or her employer
- Get names and contact information for any witnesses
- Take photos of the truck (including any names or numbers on it), your vehicle, your injuries, and the crash scene as a whole
- Call your insurance company and tell them what happened but do not give a statement to them or anyone else.
Later, once you are settled at the hospital or at home, write down or record in your own words how the crash happened. Do this while the memory is fresh. As you move forward, be careful about what you say to others about the accident and your injuries.
Never downplay how badly you’ve been hurt or blame yourself for the crash in any way. Do not discuss the accident widely and, above all, it does not belong on social media.
If you engage the Kentucky garbage truck accident lawyers of Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer, we can protect your interests and guide you through the claims process. Leave the paperwork to us and focus on your medical care and recovery, as you should.
Contact Our Lexington Garbage Truck Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Lexington, KY, that involved a local garbage truck, it’s important that you speak to a personal injury lawyer who handles garbage truck accident claims. Morgan, Collins, Yeast & Salyer will investigate your accident and go after the compensation you deserve. We are dedicated to giving crash victims like you the Kentucky Courage to fight for justice and move forward.