Sanitation services are an essential component of New York City’s infrastructure. But unfortunately, garbage trucks also pose an imminent danger to anyone around them. Garbage trucks are large and heavy vehicles with many blind spots, and when they collide with a pedestrian, cyclist, or motorist, the results can be catastrophic.
If you’ve been injured in an accident with a garbage truck in New York, you could be entitled to recover compensation for losses that you suffered as a result, including medical expenses and lost wages. However, bringing a successful garbage truck accident claim can be complicated, as the process differs significantly from that of a typical auto accident claim.
The New York personal injury lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the complicated government claims process and demand the full and fair compensation you’re owed. Contact us right away for a free, no-risk consultation.
Dangers of Garbage Trucks
Garbage trucks can weigh tens of thousands of pounds even when they aren’t fully loaded. Their size and weight, combined with their large blind spots and the city’s often narrow and busy streets, make the vehicles challenging to operate. A garbage truck driver who becomes distracted, makes a mental error, or lacks the proper experience to operate the vehicle safely can cause serious accidents.
These accidents can be especially severe when they involve pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists. While passenger vehicles have certain safety features that protect their occupants from the direct force of a collision, cyclists and pedestrians receive the full force of the impact, with often deadly consequences. The results of even a low-speed collision with a garbage truck can include fractured bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord damage.
Garbage trucks tend to have more blind spots than the average motor vehicle, given their large size and limited field of view. Garbage trucks also tend to be higher off the ground than most passenger vehicles, which further inhibits a driver’s ability to spot people or road hazards. Blind spots on the sides of a garbage truck can also prevent drivers from noticing motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who are crossing behind the truck as it backs up.
However, many garbage truck accidents are caused by simple negligence on the part of the driver. Some of the most common forms of driver negligence include distracted driving (such as texting or talking on the phone), drunk or drugged driving, driver fatigue, speeding, tailgating, aggressive driving, and failure to obey basic traffic laws.
If you suffered a serious injury in a garbage truck accident, you could be facing expensive medical bills and might require different types of rehabilitative care for months or even years to come. You’re likely unable to work while you’re recovering, leading to lost income. And if you became disabled as a result of the accident, you might not be able to perform the same job that you had before, with potentially lifelong consequences.
Fortunately, there is a remedy. If the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the driver or another sanitation worker, you could file a claim against the city to demand compensation for your losses.
Who is Liable for a Garbage Truck Accident in NYC?
If you were hurt in an accident that was caused by a garbage truck’s driver or another sanitation worker, then you can hold that individual, the New York City Department of Sanitation, and potentially even the city itself legally liable for your injuries and related losses.
Many cities and states are protected from lawsuits by a doctrine known as sovereign immunity, which holds that a government cannot commit a wrong or be held to account by civil suit or criminal prosecution. However, both New York State and New York City have effectively waived their rights to sovereign immunity, which means that you can sue the city the same way as you could a private citizen – although doing so requires you to take a few additional steps in a narrow window of time.
Specifically, you must file a Notice of Claim with the Sanitation Department within 90 days of the incident. This Notice of Claim alerts the agency that you intend to bring suit, and failure to file within the time limit will result in the dismissal of your claim. If that happens, you will no longer be able to hold the city responsible for the losses you suffered.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim After a Garbage Truck Accident?
In order to bring a lawsuit against New York City and/or the Department of Sanitation, you must first file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the accident. Once you file your claim, the city is required to respond within 30 days with a request for a hearing, at which you will testify under oath about the incident and your injuries. Alternately, if the city fails to respond to your Notice of Claim within 30 days, you may move forward with your lawsuit. You then have one year and 90 days from the date of the accident in which to bring a lawsuit.
We highly recommend securing legal representation as soon as possible after the accident so that you don’t risk improperly filing a Notice of Claim or missing one of these crucial deadlines. If you miss the deadline, you will most likely forfeit your right to pursue compensation through a government tort claim.
Contact an NYC Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Were you injured in a garbage truck accident in New York City? Was someone else to blame? If so, help is available. Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. right away to discuss the details of your case and get started on your accident claim.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t pay us any upfront legal fees. We won’t get paid unless we successfully obtain compensation on your behalf.