Garbage Truck Accident Lawyers in Augusta
If you were hurt in a garbage truck accident, you should contact Chris Hudson Law Group to help you with your insurance claim or lawsuit. You might be entitled to compensation if the truck driver, trucking company, or another party was at fault. Our lawyers specialize in truck accident cases. We have the experience and resources to hold negligent drivers liable for their actions and seek the compensation necessary to cover the medical bills and other costs of injured victims.
Garbage trucks are a vital part of commercial and residential areas throughout Augusta. The drivers pick up trash and other waste and transport them to landfills. These vehicles are responsible for keeping neighborhoods clean but can cause severe injuries in an accident.
Garbage trucks sit high off the ground and are much heavier than passenger cars. During a collision, the occupants of the smaller vehicle often suffer the most. They can become trapped in their car if the truck falls on top of them or encounter debris thrown from the truck during the crash.
You shouldn’t be forced to pay for your medical treatment when someone else’s negligence led to your injuries. Let Chris Hudson Law Group help you with your case and pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us at (706) 863-6600 or fill in our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced and dedicated garbage truck accident lawyers.
Common Causes of Garbage Truck Accidents
Multiple factors could cause an accident with a garbage truck. Two main issues are limited visibility and a high center of gravity.
Since garbage trucks have a large container on the back to carry waste, the driver’s view is blocked. If you’re traveling alongside the vehicle, the driver might not see you in their blind spot. Blind spots on commercial trucks are significantly larger than blind spots on small cars. They can extend up to thirty feet behind the vehicle and up to two lanes on the right side. There is also a blind spot on the left side and in front.
A high center of gravity makes garbage trucks top-heavy. They can tip over during an accident or roll after driving onto a curb. Additionally, an uneven distribution of weight in the garbage container can throw the entire vehicle off balance, causing the driver to lose control. Sudden braking or turning too quickly can shift the truck’s momentum, resulting in a rollover crash.
The most common causes of garbage truck accidents are:
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for the conditions
- Drug or alcohol impairment
- Failing to check blind spots
- Unsafe lane changes
- Turning too fast
- Improper or sudden braking
- Faulty truck parts
- Inadequate vehicle maintenance and repairs
- Distracted driving
- Disobeying traffic laws
Another common problem with garbage trucks is load issues. Although these vehicles are made to withstand heavy materials, there are weight restrictions. Overloading a garbage truck could put too much pressure on the tires, causing them to explode. If waste is overflowing the container, some could end up on the road, creating hazards for other drivers.
Trucking companies and drivers must comply with specific federal regulations if they transport waste. These guidelines are necessary to avoid accidents and keep everyone on the road safe. They include:
- The truck must use systems to prevent loose items from falling out.
- Specialized containers should hold and carry recyclables, garbage, and other discarded materials.
- Drivers should perform pre-shift inspections to check for cracks, holes, and other openings items can get through and promptly repair them.
- Drivers must ensure all waste is secure in the container while transporting it to the destination.
- Drivers can’t drive for longer than eleven consecutive hours after spending ten hours off duty.
If you believe the truck driver’s actions caused the accident, you should contact Chris Hudson Law Group to discuss your case and find out whether we can represent you. If we can prove fault, we might be able to hold the trucker liable for what they’ve done.
Garbage Truck Companies Could Also Be Held Liable If Their Driver Causes an Accident
The driver may have been operating the garbage truck, but their employer could be just as much to blame for your injuries. Trucking companies must perform maintenance on their vehicles, repair damage, and randomly test their drivers for alcohol and drugs.
The federal regulations they are required to follow could prevent deadly accidents. However, some companies violate specific standards to cut costs or stay on waste removal schedules. They might encourage their employees to drive beyond the maximum allowed driving limit or ignore seemingly minor issues with the vehicle.
Trucking companies could also experience a staffing shortage and hire inexperienced drivers. They might fail to perform the necessary background checks to alert them to a person’s criminal record or lack of proper licensing. If their employee causes an accident, they could be held accountable for negligent hiring practices.
Insurance Claims and Compensation After an Accident With A Garbage Truck
All trucking companies must purchase liability insurance. Minimum coverage limits depend on the weight of the vehicle. Liability coverage begins at $300,000 and can go up to $5 million. These limits could compensate you for the losses you suffered in the crash, such as:
- Medical bills
- Physical impairment and disfigurement
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Permanent disability
- Emotional distress
Georgia uses the fault system, which means they hold people financially responsible for causing accidents. You could file a claim for the compensation you need to cover your losses. However, the insurance company might not agree to a fair settlement. If they deny your claim or provide a low offer, you might be able to file a lawsuit.
Deadline to File a Lawsuit After a Garbage Truck Accident in Georgia
You must follow a strict timeframe if you want to file a lawsuit in a garbage truck accident case. Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations. That means you have two years from the date of the crash to sue, or you could lose your right to seek a financial award for the losses you suffered.
You might be entitled to punitive damages when you file a lawsuit. This type of award doesn’t compensate you for your losses. Instead, it punishes the defendant for their wrongdoing. If you want to recover punitive damages, you must use clear and convincing evidence to prove to the jury that the at-fault party acted with fraud, oppression, willful misconduct, wantonness, malice, or indifference to the consequences of their actions.
From the start of your case, it’s critical that you refrain from admitting fault for the accident. Even if you believe your actions might have partially contributed, don’t tell the investigating officer at the crash scene, the at-fault party’s insurance company, or anyone else. If a jury determines you share any amount of blame for your injuries, they could reduce your monetary award by the percentage of fault they assign.
For example, let’s say your losses from the garbage truck accident total $50,000. If the truck driver was 100% responsible, you could seek the entire $50,000 in compensation. However, if the jury decides you were 20% at fault, they could diminish the maximum compensation you’re allowed to pursue to $40,000. You would be prohibited from recovering any amount of money if it’s determined that your actions were at least 50% responsible for the crash.
Filing a Lawsuit for the Death of a Loved One
If you lost a family member in a garbage truck accident, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party to compensate for your losses. Georgia law defines wrongful death as the death of a person due to a defectively manufactured property, a crime, or a criminal or negligent act.
Only some people are entitled to pursue a wrongful death case. They are:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- Executor or administrator of the estate
Siblings, grandparents, and other relatives are not allowed to file suit for the death of a loved one.
The recoverable losses include expenses incurred by the executor and intangible factors suffered by the family, such as:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship, counsel, advice, and care provided by the deceased
- Medical bills associated with the fatal injury
- Additional expenses resulting from the accident
- Lost wages and benefits the deceased would have earned if they had lived
The deadline to file a lawsuit for wrongful death is two years. That means you have two years from the date of your family member’s death to sue the truck driver or trucking company. If the statute passes and you try to file anyway, the court will likely dismiss your case.
Contact Chris Hudson Law Group for a Free Consultation
If you suffered injuries in a garbage truck accident, contact Chris Hudson Law Group for a free initial consultation. Our lawyers specialize in truck accident cases, including garbage truck accident cases. We can be your advocate during this traumatic experience and fight for the justice you deserve. We have the experience, skill, and resources necessary to pursue a favorable outcome in your case and get you on the road to recovery.