Sanitation services can be a thankless job, especially in the heat of the Delta in the summer. It is the backbone of society and a necessary occupation to keep things running, but it is notorious for, well, the sanitation.
Working as a garbage truck driver can be potentially dangerous as well. The vehicles are usually large, wide, machines, with workers hanging precariously off the backs and sides. For those sharing the roads with them, they might be more worried about a collision than a trash spill or a bad smell — and for good reason.
Garbage truck cab design increases chances of deadly accidents
Believe it or not, data shows that “collisions involving commercial garbage trucks are on the rise nationally,” and have been for quite some time now. Oxford locals may remember last year’s tragic story about a garbage truck accident resulting in the death of a father and his young daughter. We are sure that these senseless deaths will not be the only ones from garbage truck crashes.
While there are many reasons why garbage truck collisions happen, experts have found that the design of the truck’s cab plays some role. The size and shape of conventional truck cabs limits visibility in front of them at least 20 feet, which means that drivers may simply fail to see pedestrians, smaller vehicles, or any other obstacles. They are also typically more difficult to navigate with and control.
Until there is a nationwide change of these cabs, this problem is not going to get better, and no area is safe from it.
Garbage trucks should have better safety technology
If the design of the cab is dangerous, and companies do not wish to order new garbage trucks, then the alternative is to equip these vehicles with better safety technology. Back-up cameras and surround surveillance seem the most obvious choice for older vehicles, because they can reduce blind spots. At the very least, these should be installed in all older model garbage trucks.
Another easy fix is requiring all workers to wear high-visibility vests so they can be seen more easily by other drivers, or adding the “bubbles” to the truck’s sideview mirrors. These “low-tech” solutions can provide a modicum of help while vehicles are retrofitted with newer technology.
Examples of garbage truck driver negligence
Just as with any other commercial vehicle, there is a laundry list of possible causes that, in addition to limited visibility, can lead to severe — or deadly — consequences:
- Driver fatigue, which can impair judgement and reflex time
- Reckless driving, including speeding or tailgating
- Impaired driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Improper loading of heavy materials that can throw off the truck’s center of gravity, or cause the trash to fall out of the truck, creating roadway hazards
- Improper truck maintenance
Some private employers have a tendency to put speed and quotas above safety and may even encourage their drivers to neglect certain regulations, resulting in dangerous behaviors that further heighten the chances of an accident. Negligent hiring practices, which includes a failure to adequately train employees, may also increase the risk of a truck accident.
Should I hire a Mississippi injury lawyer if I’m injured by a garbage truck?
Truck accidents, in general, are incredibly dangerous due to their sheer size. Those who have been involved in one, especially those in passenger vehicles, could face severe, life-altering injuries if they even survive the event.
Very rarely is any accident involving a truck anything less than “severe.” The injuries we, as attorneys, typically see as a result of truck accidents require extensive medical treatments, surgeries, and usually some sort of life-long accommodations. As horrific as it is, it is likely a victim will not survive one of these collisions than will; either way still results in a grieving family having to pay substantial sums in medical bills for an accident that should never have happened. Families can lose not only their loved ones, but a source of income and benefits as well. The financial burden can be severe.
That is why if you or someone you love has been injured or killed by a negligent truck driver in Mississippi, no matter the reason, you should seek aggressive representation as quickly as possible. Garbage truck accidents — and truck accidents in general — may have multiple liable parties, and attempting to pursue them for damages on your own may lead to you taking a settlement that is far below what you deserve, and what you actually need to survive. If you are fighting on behalf of a loved one who was killed in the accident, you already have to worry about burial arrangements and funeral costs for someone who was ripped away too soon, but that does not mean you should let the parties responsible get away with it. A successful truck accident case results in you and your family being awarded compensation for all bills, expenses, and suffering related to the collision, and that can make the difference between a full recovery and bankruptcy.
But you should not do it alone. These cases can be especially complicated and difficult, especially because the trucking company’s insurance company will be trying as hard as possible to prove they should not have to pay out your rightful claim. It is important you find a trustworthy legal team to help put together and plead your case while you focus on whatever your recovery may look like. At Merkel & Cocke, our Mississippi truck accident attorneys have years of experience doing just that for people like you. We have offices in Jackson, Oxford, Greenville, and Clarksdale, and proudly serve our clients throughout Mississippi. For more information, call us today at 662-627-9641 or use our contact form.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.