Garbage Truck Accidents
Garbage trucks drive mostly in residential neighborhoods, and they are not bound by several provisions of the California Vehicle Code that the rest of us must follow. Yet they are responsible for more pedestrian and cyclist deaths based on miles driven than any other type of vehicle. Garbage truck drivers are required to use reasonable care, and if you were hurt in a garbage truck accident caused by their carelessness, the Los Angeles truck accident attorneys at Sharifi Firm may be able to help you recover compensation.Liability for Garbage Truck Accidents
A garbage truck driver needs to stop and start many times, squeezing in and out of tight spots and operating heavy machinery to pick up the trash. The driver does not need to follow the usual rules that require drivers to drive on the right side of the road and avoid blocking a bicycle lane.
In general, garbage trucks are exempt from certain road rules that passenger cars must follow, as long as they are actually collecting trash, and the front turn signal lamps on both sides of the vehicle are being flashed simultaneously. Under California Vehicle Code section 27000, garbage trucks are supposed to be equipped with an alarm at the rear of the vehicle that sounds while the truck is backing up.
Even though the rules are somewhat different for garbage trucks, the driver is still supposed to use reasonable care given the circumstances. An exemption from the usual rules does not apply if a garbage truck is not being used to collect trash, and the driver is simply going to or from work.
Adding to the danger, most garbage truck operators have several blind spots, and the visibility in general is very poor from the operator's vantage point. If you are in a smaller vehicle, or you are a pedestrian, you may suffer serious injuries if a garbage truck driver is not paying attention. These injuries may include amputation, crushing due to a backup accident, brain trauma, spinal cord damage, and broken bones. In some cases, these injuries result in a tragic death.
You may need to establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, proving the garbage truck driver's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and damages. It may be harder to establish negligence if the garbage truck operator is stopped and collecting trash. Sometimes drivers and pedestrians are less careful than they should be when passing a garbage truck that is engaged in trash collection. The driver may use the affirmative defense of comparative negligence, claiming that you were negligent and that your damages should be reduced by an amount equal to your own degree of fault.
If a driver was in the course and scope of employment, you may be able to hold the trucking company indirectly responsible under a theory of vicarious liability. The trucking company may also be held directly responsible in some circumstances. Before entrusting an employee with a garbage truck, the company should conduct a background check and make sure that the driver has proper training and a clear driving record. If a trucking company fails to make sure that its driver is able to handle a potentially dangerous truck, it may be found negligent.Consult an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney in Los Angeles
At Sharifi Firm, APC, our Los Angeles lawyers may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries after a garbage truck accident. This area of law is complex, and it is important to retain an experienced attorney who understands how garbage truck cases are different from cases involving passenger vehicles. Contact us at (866) 422-7222 or via our online form for a free consultation with a motor vehicle collision attorney. Our firm also represents victims in Temecula, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Glendale, Covina, and Riverside, among other Southern California cities.