Every week we roll out the trash bins and hear trash trucks as they move down the street, but few people realize the serious risk of accident posed by these vehicles. Garbage trucks substantially outweigh passenger vehicles and have more limited visibility then a typical passenger vehicle. The size and weight of a garbage truck is similar to that posed by tractor-trailers but with a significant distinction that creates a unique risk. Tractor-trailers are limited to specific roads and highways and are rarely if ever found on suburban residential streets whereas garbage trucks are routinely found in residential areas where pedestrians, bicyclists and small children are common.
Not surprisingly, the most frequent garbage truck accidents are back-over accidents and rear-end collisions. Those that are at-risk from garbage truck accidents include passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. Back-up accidents often involve children who are pedestrians or riding bicycles that are hard to see because they are smaller and less visible than motor vehicles. Because of their size and weight, trash truck collisions often result in catastrophic injury and wrongful death. Back-over accidents are particularly dangerous to small children who may not appreciate the risk of a garbage truck or anticipate the frequent start and stop pattern of garbage trucks.
The leading causes of trash truck accidents are following to close and distracted driving. One study conducted of trash truck accidents revealed that as many as 70 percent of garbage truck accidents may be the result of the garbage truck driver following the vehicle in front of the truck too closely. The analysis also found that distraction of drivers combines with lack of adequate following distance in many garbage truck accidents. Trash truck drivers may be studying a map or GPS device, which compounds the problem created by insufficient following distance.
Garbage trucks are supposed to have an employee positioned on the back of the truck who is also often placed in danger by garbage truck accidents. If a motor vehicle sideswipes a garbage truck or rear-ends the truck, there is a high risk of injury. If the driver of the garbage truck is not paying attention, the truck may back over employees who are riding on the back of the truck. Falling from the garbage truck during its sudden starts and stops may also injure the employee riding on the back of the truck.
Many people presume that garbage truck accidents are extremely rare events. However, a study conducted by a pedestrian rights group, Right of Way, found that garbage trucks kill more people per mile traveled than any other motor vehicle. The erratic driving patterns, size, weight, lack of maneuverability and impaired visibility create a dangerous combination of accident risk factors. These accidents also result from other factors such as poorly maintained vehicles and trash or other debris that falls from the Kansas garbage trucks.
If you are seriously injured in a garbage truck accident in Kansas, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries including lost wages, impaired future earning capacity, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, medical expenses as well as loss of society and services of a spouse. Garbage truck accidents often result from the negligence of multiple parties including the disposal company, the municipality that hired them, the driver’s negligence or substandard repairs by the independent maintenance company that services the vehicle.
It is important to identify all potential responsible parties to maximize your potential recovery in a Kansas trash truck accident. Koehn & Tahirkheli, L.L.C. serves the cities of Liberal, Garden City, Sublette, Elkhart, Johnson City, Hugoton, Ulysses, Dodge City, Meade, Seward county, and serving all other communities in Southwest Kansas.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury or wrongful death in a Kansas truck accident, our knowledgeable Kansas truck accident attorneys can represent your family with compassion, commitment and personal attention. Call us today at (620) 624-8158.