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How Do Trash Truck Accidents Happen?

Trash trucks play important roles in the community; they keep cities sanitary for residents. Yet the size, shape and nature of garbage trucks can lead to serious vehicle accidents. A trash truck crash in Houston could cause severe or fatal personal injuries to victims – especially bicyclists and pedestrians. Dump truck accidents can happen for many reasons in Texas, most of which relate to human error. Learning more about how trash truck accidents happen could help victims understand their rights to compensation.

Driver Error

The main reason trash truck accidents occur is because of driver error. Operating a garbage truck requires a Class B commercial driver’s license in Texas. Obtaining this license requires special training and passing a driver education course. All dump truck drivers should have adequate training and experience to safely handle the commercial vehicle in residential areas. Any act of negligence or carelessness on the driver’s part could cause an accident.

  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk or intoxicated driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Ignoring commercial driver regulations
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Breaking roadway rules
  • Ignoring pedestrian rights-of-way

A garbage truck driver could easily cause a major accident if he or she fails to pay attention to the road. Negligent or distracted driving could lead to striking a pedestrian or bicyclist in Houston. While all commercial drivers must carry personal automobile insurance, they most likely will not be individually liable. Instead, the driver’s employer will be vicariously responsible for damages.

Dump Truck Company Negligence

Most driver-related trash truck accidents will result in the company or the city’s liability. If the dump truck driver was driving for work at the time of the accident, his or her employer will be vicariously liable. The employer could be a private trash disposal company or the City of Houston depending on the truck. The employer may also be directly liable if it engaged in an act of negligence that contributed to the crash.

The entity responsible for overseeing trash truck operations within a city could be responsible for an accident if it did something that caused the crash. The company or government may have to pay for victims’ damages if it committed an act of negligence, recklessness or malicious wrongdoing that caused injuries. Dump truck companies or the city could commit many acts that ultimately cause collisions.

  • Hiring drivers with delinquent driving records
  • Failing to properly train dump truck drivers and operators
  • Failing to inspect and maintain its fleet
  • Paying for low-quality truck repairs
  • Failing to enforce hours of service regulations
  • Ignoring defective or dangerous vehicle parts

It is the dump truck company’s legal duty to ensure the safety and performance of its trucks and drivers. Failure to fulfill this duty of care, resulting in trash truck accidents and injuries, is negligence. Victims may have grounds to file injury claims against the company or the city for their negligent acts that caused their collisions in Texas.

Unsafe Streets

Sometimes human error takes a different form in trash truck accidents. Rather than a driver or garbage truck company causing the collision, the root of the issue could be with roadway design or maintenance. A street that is dangerously narrow in Houston, for example, could contribute to a collision. Roadway defects such as an unsafe design, potholes, construction sites, uneven shoulders, lack of pedestrian walkways and broken traffic lights could all pose serious risks.

If an unsafe or defective street causes a dump truck collision, the City of Houston could be financially responsible. It is the city’s duty to maintain the safety of its streets. Failure to exercise reasonable care according to this duty, resulting in a harmful garbage truck accident, would make the city liable for damages. It may take a full investigation of a Houston trash truck collision to determine its true cause during a personal injury claim.

Speak with our Houston truck accident lawyers today.