Garbage and sanitation trucks are much larger and heavier than the average vehicle on the road, so it’s no surprise that a motor vehicle crash involving a garbage truck can be serious. The average mid-sized sedan weighs less than 3,500 pounds, and many vehicles are smaller. Even an empty garbage truck is about ten times as heavy, and total weight of a vehicle carrying trash may be considerably more.
You’d probably assume that garbage truck accidents in New York City are few and far between. But, in a city that generates millions of tons of garbage each year, waste disposal vehicles are common. Unfortunately, private waste disposal companies in New York aren’t always responsible about maintenance of vehicles, hiring of drivers, training, supervision, and other actions that impact safety. In fact, some don’t even live up to the minimum standards set forth by law.
Two recent NYC garbage truck accidents have drawn media attention, each highlighting a different type of risk. In early August, a Century Waste garbage truck lost a wheel in Boston traffic. The truck’s tire flew into the air and crashed through the windshield of another vehicle, killing the driver. According to ProPublica, inspection of the vehicle that lost its wheel revealed 16 equipment violations. And, the publication suggests, that’s no surprise—more than half of trucks from the city’s 50 largest private waste disposal companies that are inspected are declared unsafe and removed from service.
Less than two weeks later, a young Australian tourist biking on Central Park West was killed by a garbage truck driver with alcohol in his system. The bicyclist was traveling in the bike lane and swerved to avoid a livery vehicle that was pulling away from the curb. The garbage truck driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was reportedly .04 percent, which violates the stricter limit applied to commercial drivers. He was charged with DWI, DWAI, and operating a commercial motor vehicle with a BAC of .04 to 06 percent.
Garbage truck accidents occur for many reasons and result in a wide range of injuries and damages. For example, Dansker & Aspromonte once represented a sanitation worker who was injured when the driver of the garbage truck he was riding in lost control of the vehicle, throwing the worker from the vehicle into a sidewalk light pole. He later died as a result of those injuries and hospital negligence.
Managing a garbage truck accident case can be complicated. Commercial motor vehicles are subject to a wide range of regulations which may impact liability. Faulty maintenance is a common problem with New York City garbage trucks, which means inspection by and testimony from one or more expert witnesses may be required. Some garbage trucks are operated by the city, while others belong to and are managed by private contractors.
Working with a New York City personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling garbage and sanitation truck accidents and other commercial motor vehicle accidents can benefit victims and their families by securing all the money damages that they deserve. If you’ve been injured by a garbage truck or have lost a loved one in a garbage truck accident, contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal system, uncover all the responsible parties in order to get the compensation you deserve.
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Featured Image Credit: By Kevin.B / Wikimedia Commons