Seeing garbage trucks driving through residential areas is so common, many people may not recognize the dangers posed by these large vehicles. Garbage truck accidents in Johnstown can cause catastrophic harm to people involved.
If you or a loved one were struck by a garbage truck, you may require the guidance of a Johnstown garbage truck accident attorney. Our team could help you seek the compensation you need to move forward.
Garbage truck collisions can occur under a number of circumstances, one of which is when they are actually collecting garbage. The other is when they are driving on the road like any other vehicle.
When an accident occurs while the truck driver is collecting garbage, the vehicles are often in residential areas. This means these large vehicles are driving down streets with many parked cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and children.
Unfortunately, garbage trucks have a substantial blind spot directly behind the vehicle. If a garbage truck driver quickly reverses, he or she may collide with parked vehicles or people walking by. As these trucks are extremely heavy, and carrying large loads of trash, any collision with these vehicles can be catastrophic or even deadly.
However, people in Johnstown can suffer injuries in garbage truck accidents that do not necessarily involve a collision. For instance, if the crew were reckless in how they loaded the garbage into the dump truck, resulting in objects falling from the vehicle and striking someone, a personal injury case could arise.
Proving liability depends on the specific circumstances of the case. For instance, if the accident involved the garbage truck colliding with a person or vehicle, then the driver of the truck would likely be the defendant. The crew of the truck could also be potential defendants if they failed to alert the driver to a hazard.
The employer for those individuals would also be a defendant under the theory of vicarious liability. Under this theory, the employer stands in the shoes of the employee for purposes of liability as long as the employee is in the court and scope of the employment. The employer could also be liable on a direct claim of negligence for things like inadequate hiring or training practices.
One important question when seeking damages after a garbage truck crash in Johnstown is determining whether the vehicle is owned by a government or private entity. Government entities often enjoy immunity from civil lawsuits, meaning people cannot sue the government. However, there is an exception when a government vehicle is involved in an accident.
There are also caps on damages against governmental entities. Generally speaking, a claim against a Commonwealth entity, such as PennDOT, is subject to a $250,000 cap on damages. For a municipal agency, such as a local township, city, or county, the local agencies are generally entitled to a $500,000 cap in any award against it.
There is a two-year statute of limitations on claims arising from garbage trucks. This means that a claimant has to sue the defendant for the accident within this time period. Failure to meet this legal deadline could result in the claimant being permanently time barred, regardless of the strength or merits of the case.
If the claim is against a government entity, there are additional and more stringent requirements. There is a statute that requires a written notice to be given to the government entity within six months of the incident. This notice should both notify the government entity of the claim and some facts of the case, including who was involved and where it occurred. If this notice is not sent within six months, the claimant could be time barred, even if the two-year statute of limitations has not yet expired.
Garbage truck accidents in Johnstown are not extremely common, but they are dangerous. If you or a loved one were harmed by a negligent garbage truck driver, do not hesitate to seek legal recourse with help from a hardworking attorney. Reach out to the office of Marcus & Mack today to get started on your claim.