It is common to see many types of trucks on the roads of Florida, and they can be the cause behind multiple accidents across the state. Trucks are involved in nearly 4,000 traffic accidents every year, according to data provided by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). As trucks are larger and heavier than a car, truck drivers account for only 17% of fatalities, whereas 60% of fatalities are drivers from cars. Therefore, it is important to recognize how dangerous a garbage truck accident can truly be and how likely it is you’ll be injured if involved in an accident with one.
While garbage trucks do provide an essential service, due to their sheer size, it is difficult for them to navigate small residential areas or heavily populated urban areas, and they can become a danger on the road.
If you have been involved in a garbage truck accident in the Clearwater or the New Port Richey FL area that was not your fault, then get in contact with our law firm, The Law Place, today. Phone our office using (941) 444-4444 today to organize a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to discuss your case.
What Can Cause a Garbage Truck Accident in Clearwater?
A garbage truck accident in Clearwater may be the result of a truck driver, the trucking company, or somebody else on the road. There is a range of possible causes, some common causes of truck accidents in Clearwater, Florida, include:
- Recognition issues – If the driver fails to identify hazards or road signs in time, this can influence the likelihood of any accidents. For example, not stopping at a stop sign or being distracted on their phone.
- Performance – Drivers understeering or oversteering can cause a loss of control and cause a collision.
- Loss of control – Poor weather conditions or issues with the truck itself can cause the driver to lose control and thus increase the likelihood of accidents.
- Non-performance – Drivers falling asleep due to fatigue or being incapacitated by illness can equate to extremely dangerous driving and even a collision.
- Size of the garbage truck – These trucks are extremely large, which can mean that there are more blind spots or difficulty maneuvering, thus making it more dangerous on the road.
- Location – Because garbage trucks operate heavily in residential areas, there is a greater risk of collisions with bikes or pedestrians.
No matter the cause of your accident, if you believe it was not your fault and you have suffered injuries, contact our Clearwater, FL office today for sound legal advice. Either organize a free case evaluation directly or leave your name, email, and phone number and we will get back to you as soon as possible to organize a meeting.
What Standards Are Florida Garbage Truck Drivers Held to?
Thankfully, truck accidents are nowhere near as common as car accidents in Florida. On the other hand, the injuries which follow such a collision are often much more severe. Because of the potential severity and to prevent such accidents occurring, commercial truck drivers in Clearwater legally must adhere to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations and training standards. Additionally, garbage trucks fall into a large weight category, so consequently, drivers must obtain a Class A or B license to drive one. If any of these regulations are broken, then the driver could be at risk of being found liable for any accidents which follow.
Who Is at Fault in a Garbage Truck Accident?
There is an array of different parties available who may be at fault for garbage truck accidents. Some examples of negligence which can then lead to an accident include, but are not limited to:
- Driver error – Drivers will be held to the same standard as any other type of commercial driver on the road and thus must abide by the regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The driver can behave negligently in multiple ways to cause accidents, e.g. distracted driving, impaired driving, violation of traffic laws, not checking their blind spots, and more.
- Defective truck parts – If a manufacturer sells defective truck parts and this malfunction leads to an accident, then the manufacturer could be held responsible for being negligent when selling parts under products liability law. Parts of a vehicle that often cause accidents include the brakes, wheels, tires, steering columns, etc.
- Dangerous roads – In some cases, a government entity will not have taken proper care of its roadways, leading to garbage trucks easily being involved in an accident because of this negligence. Potholes, poor road design, inadequate warning signs, improperly timed traffic signals, and dangerous curves can all also contribute to the likelihood of an accident occurring.
Determining Liability in a Garbage Truck Accident
Once it has been decided as to what type of negligent act caused the garbage truck accident, then your Clearwater truck accident lawyer will still have to determine who can be held liable in your accident case. It can become complicated, so an experienced attorney is a must in ensuring your case is successful. Some examples of where liability can lie include:
- The truck driver – To cause the collision, the driver may have failed to act as a reasonable person would have when driving. For example, they may have been driving under the influence, speeding, or been distracted on their phone.
- A private waste management company – Companies that own garbage trucks do have certain responsibilities in regards to maintaining their vehicles and ensuring the safety of their drivers as well as others on the roads. For instance, they should ensure their drivers are working manageable hours, so they do not become fatigued and consequently a danger to others on the road.
- Government entity – If the road conditions were the leading cause for the collision, then a government entity could be found liable—for example, potholes or a lack of stop signs.
- Truck manufacturer – If the truck was supplied with already defective parts, which then led to the incident, the manufacturer could be found liable for the negligent selling of parts.
- Truck maintenance crew – If the truck maintenance crew does not maintain the vehicle and it thus becomes dangerously defective, then they could be held liable for negligence and any injuries you sustain.
- Third-party driver – If the collision was caused by another driver on the road, they would be held liable.
It is important to remember that this list does not include every party who could be held liable in such a scenario, and in many cases, the liability can be shared between multiple parties. It is therefore vital to have a personal injury attorney on your side so they can analyze your case in detail and determine exactly where liability will lie.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Florida
Florida runs under comparative negligence laws, and this means that different parties can be found to be at fault. If you had some fault, as long as it was below 50%, you could still be compensated to the degree that you were not at fault. For example, if you were 20% at fault (e.g. you were speeding), then your settlement would be reduced by this amount. Attorneys at The Law Place will evaluate your case to determine what percentage of fault was your own, if any, and will ensure no unfair blame is placed upon you.
What Injuries Can a Garbage Truck Accident Cause?
It is, unfortunately, more than likely that if you are involved in any kind of truck accident, you will receive some injuries considering how much larger they are to the average car. Some injuries you may sustain and may be able to claim compensation for include:
- Whiplash or other neck injuries.
- Broken or fractured bones.
- Head injuries.
- Wrongful death.
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
What Damages Can Be Claimed for After an Accident in Clearwater, FL?
Following a crash in Clearwater, or the surrounding areas such as St. Petersburg or New Port Richey FL, then there are several damages you can claim to try and compensate for your suffering. Examples include:
- Medical costs – Any medical bills that you have to pay following a collision can be claimable. Projected medical bills can also be claimable if your injuries have a life-long impact.
- Pain and suffering – This covers any physical or mental suffering caused by the collision as well as any loss of enjoyment. This is difficult to prove and to quantify into monetary compensation, so it is best to hire a personal injury attorney to do this on your behalf.
- Lost wages – For any period that you have to spend off work due to injuries acquired from the collision, you will be able to claim for any lost wages. Similarly, if you are unable to return, you may be able to claim for loss of future earning capabilities too.
- Property damage – It is likely that your vehicle will be damaged following a collision, so any repair or replacement costs will be claimable.
- Wrongful death – In the unfortunate case you lose a loved one in a garbage truck collision, you will be able to claim for any funeral expenses or loss of consortium through a wrongful death lawsuit under Florida Statute 768.21.
Following a garbage truck accident, it is important to have a personal injury attorney on your side so you can get any compensation you are rightfully owed—phone our office today to organize a free evaluation of your case and receive sound legal advice.
There Is a Time Limit on Your Case!
There is a statute of limitations in place through Florida under Florida Statute 95.11. This statute explains that a claimant will only have four years from the date of their accident to make a claim; otherwise, it will forever be barred, and you’ll be unable to get any compensation you may deserve. Furthermore, if the collision ended in a death, a wrongful death lawsuit has an even shorter statute of limitations, this being two years.
Additionally, it is also important that, following a collision, you get medical attention as soon as possible. If two weeks elapse without medical attention, insurance companies may devalue your case by using this information, claiming your injuries are not serious enough for a payout.
Contact The Law Place Today!
If you or a loved one have been involved in a garbage truck accident in Clearwater or a surrounding area such as St Petersburg or New Port Richey, then contact The Law Place today. Our law firm possesses over 75 years of combined experience, and many of our lawyers are AVVO 10.0 rated so you can ensure your case will be in the best of hands. Phone our Clearwater FL office to organize a free consultation with one of our dedicated attorneys.
Here at The Law Place, we recognize that no amount of money can make up for the trauma a garbage truck accident can cause in your life, but we hope that getting justice will help in the recovery process. Phone our Clearwater office on (941) 444-4444. Our lines are open 24/7 for your convenience.