Garbage Truck Accidents

Experienced Injury Attorneys Based in the Chicago Area

Garbage trucks pick up waste from homes and businesses and haul it to landfills or to be recycled. Generally, garbage trucks weigh 15-32 tons, more than seven times what a passenger car weighs. When a garbage truck collides with a smaller vehicle or pedestrian, the outcome of the accident can be devastating to the occupants of the smaller vehicle or the pedestrian. The injuries may even be fatal. If you are injured or a loved one is killed in a garbage truck accident, you should consult the Chicago truck accident lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck.

Bringing a Claim Based on a Garbage Truck Accident

Garbage truck accidents have numerous causes. These accidents can be caused by a fatigued or a distracted truck driver, a driver's failure to yield, broken traffic laws, unsecured loads, failures to signal, or traveling in the wrong lane while picking up trash. Due to the largeness of the garbage truck, blind spots can also be a factor in accidents, just as they are in accidents involving semi-trucks and 18-wheelers. Often, garbage trucks are challenging to maneuver, and a tiny error in a high population area, such as a busy city street, can cause catastrophic injuries or death. In other accidents, defective truck parts or a defective back-up alarm are to blame.

If you are injured in a garbage truck accident, you may be able to recover damages by establishing the garbage truck driver's negligence. Negligence is proven by showing a duty of reasonable care, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. Sometimes liability is fairly clear and relatively easy to establish. For example, if a garbage truck driver ran a red light and T-boned you, it is likely that the jury will find that the garbage truck driver's negligence harmed you.

However, in some cases, liability is less clear, and the truck driver may argue that you were partially or fully to blame. Sometimes both parties contributed to the accident. Illinois follows a modified form of comparative negligence, in which the jury will examine the defendant's fault for the accident, as well as your fault, and assign percentages of fault to each of you. Damages may be awarded, but they will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your proportion of fault. If you are found more than 50% at fault, you will be stopped from receiving a damages award.

It is critical to retain an attorney who will investigate all of the causes of the accident to make sure that all potential sources of recovery are brought into the case. Sometimes there is a defect in the back-up alarm system, for example, and in that case, it may be possible to hold the manufacturer of the alarm system or the garbage truck accountable in a product liability lawsuit.

Often, garbage trucks are commercial vehicles owned by a waste management company or by the city. The owner of the truck or the garbage truck driver's employer may share responsibility for an accident. For example, if a garbage truck driver has a history of DUIs, and a background check would have disclosed this fact, but the waste management company did not conduct it, it may be possible to hold the waste management company liable under a theory of negligent hiring. If the waste management company knew that the truck driver was an unreliable driver, there may be a basis to sue for negligent entrustment.

Get Assistance from a Chicago Lawyer Following a Truck Crash

Garbage truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries, such as amputations, fractures, crushing injuries, and internal organ injuries. Medical treatment can be expensive, and most people do not have enough saved up in case of catastrophic injuries or the death of a partner. If you were injured in a garbage truck accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney about your claim. At Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Eagle, Johnson & Bareck, we represent accident victims in Chicago, Quincy, Rockford, Champaign, Springfield, and Aurora, as well as other areas of Adams, Winnebago, Champaign, Sangamon, Kane, and Cook Counties. Call us at 312-263-6330 or toll-free at 800-444-1525 for a free consultation.