Garbage Truck Crashes

garbage truck after an accident

Garbage trucks and recycling trucks are a common sight on the roads of many Indiana towns and cities. Some fleets of trash collection trucks are operated by local governments and others are owned by private waste haulers. Unfortunately, when a garbage truck is involved in a collision with a car or a person on foot, the injuries can be extremely serious and even fatal in some cases. If the driver of a garbage truck or another vehicle caused your injuries, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical bills and other related expenses and losses.

A garbage truck accident attorney at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC can evaluate your accident and discuss your legal options and whether you have a valid injury claim during a free consultation. Two attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless have earned board certification from the National Board of Trial Advocacy in commercial truck accident law, which includes garbage trucks, solid waste trucks, tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. Only a select few attorneys nationwide are certified in commercial truck accident law. Our attorneys understand that a collision with a garbage truck or recycling truck can disrupt your life, cause financial stress and leave your family facing an uncertain financial future.

If we handle your garbage truck injury claim, our attorneys will deal with the insurance companies and the paperwork, allowing you to focus on your recovery. Our Indianapolis law firm has represented many truck accident victims and their families. David Craig and the legal team at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC care about our clients’ well-being. We will advocate aggressively for you to receive full compensation for your medical bills and other expenses so you will not be burdened by medical debt and financial stress. Contact us to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Common Types of Garbage Truck Accidents

The common types of trash collection truck accidents include:

  •  A garbage truck colliding with other vehicles
  • Other motorists trying to pass a garbage truck
  •  A garbage truck driver failing to see a pedestrian or cyclist
  •  A garbage truck blind spot accident
  •  A garbage truck backing accident
  •  An accident caused by trash falling from a garbage truck onto the road.

Traffic accidents involving garbage trucks were responsible for the deaths of 80 members of the public in 2019, including automobile drivers and passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, according to the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). Almost all the injuries and deaths involved a collision with a garbage truck. In addition, at least 53 solid waste workers died in garbage truck accidents, most commonly by being struck by one’s own vehicle. Some of the accidents were caused by garbage truck drivers not following basic safety rules. Others were caused by other motorists not driving carefully around garbage trucks.

Larger solid waste trucks often have mechanical arms that lift garbage cans and bins and empty them into a hopper on the back of the truck. Some trucks have compaction equipment. A sanitation worker may be struck by a moving mechanical arm causing a head injury or other type of trauma.

How Trash Trucks Can Cause Accidents

A garbage truck driver must navigate narrow residential streets and make frequent stops for sanitation workers to pick up trash cans, rollout carts and recycling bins. A garbage truck driver may speed through neighborhoods to try to stay on schedule and cause an accident. Speed contributes to many rear-end collisions. A truck driver who is in a hurry is more likely to cause an accident.

A garbage truck driver may be distracted by talking on a cell phone and not notice vehicles or people adjacent to the solid waste truck, leading to a serious accident. Trash collection drivers should never use phones when driving a truck. Driver distraction and inattention cause many traffic accidents.

Garbage trucks are large, bulky vehicles and have blind spots on the sides and back. The truck driver may not see another vehicle approaching in a blind spot and attempt to pull into the lane occupied by the other vehicle. A garbage truck driver may try to pull out from the curb into an active traffic lane and sideswipe another vehicle that is approaching.

Some garbage truck drivers may be inexperienced or lack proper safety training to correct unsafe behaviors.

Because of the size of garbage trucks, any crash involving a garbage truck is more likely to involve serious or fatal injuries. Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that garbage truck accidents caused more than 100 fatalities and more than 1,400 injuries in a recent year.

Debris can fall out of a garbage truck and create a traffic hazard, causing other motorists to swerve suddenly to avoid hitting the debris and cause an accident.

Some garbage truck drivers may have impaired judgment and reflexes because they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What to Do After an Accident with a Garbage Truck

You should call and report the accident to the police. If you or anyone else is injured and needs emergency medical attention, you should request an ambulance.

If you are able to do so, get the names and contact numbers of everyone involved in the accident and anyone who witnesses the accident.

The police will investigate the accident and produce an accident report.

Report the accident to your own insurance company.

If you do not require immediate medical attention, you should still go to a doctor promptly and have a medical evaluation. Inform the doctor that you were in a traffic accident.

You should contact a personal injury lawyer to review the accident and discuss whether you have a valid garbage truck accident claim.

If I am hit by a garbage truck, can I sue?

The individual who is at fault in a garbage truck accident is typically responsible for the injuries and related expenses of those injured in the accident. Garbage truck drivers, like other motorists, have a legal duty to drive safely and avoid endangering others sharing the roads. If the garbage truck driver disregards the duty to drive safely and causes an accident and injuries, the driver and the driver’s employer may be held liable.

Sometimes private solid waste haulers or recyclable collectors are contracted to provide services for a local government. Private waste haulers may be held liable for their employees’ negligence, as well as issues arising from the lack of vehicle maintenance, failure to do drug testing of employees and other types of systemic negligence.

Many garbage trucks are owned by local governments, which can complicate the liability in a garbage truck accident. Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against local governments have restrictions and special notification requirements. Indiana law exempts many government employees who are acting within the scope of their job duties from many types of civil lawsuits.

After a garbage truck crash, how long do I have to file a lawsuit against a local government?

When a claim is permitted against a local government, Indiana law requires that an initial notice be given within 180 days of the injury. This should be given to the local government and to the Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission.

An Indiana garbage truck accident lawyer at Craig, Kelley & Faultless, LLC can review the details of the accident and evaluate whether you have a valid claim against the truck driver or trash collection company.

We can investigate the accident and determine who is liable. A garbage truck injury claim against the owner of the garbage truck can help you recoup your expenses related to the accident.

You may seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses including hospitalization, follow-up medical care, rehabilitation and the cost of medicines
  • Lost income from missed work as a result of the garbage truck accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Contact a Garbage Truck Accident Law Firm in Indianapolis

The experienced injury attorneys at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC have the resources and experience to investigate a garbage truck accident thoroughly and build a strong case for full compensation from those responsible after a garbage truck accident. We represent accident victims and do not represent those who cause injuries or insurance companies.

We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. We do not charge any legal fee unless we win compensation for you.

Contact an Indiana garbage truck accident lawyer as soon as possible if you or your loved one has been harmed in a trash truck accident. As we mentioned above, injury claims made against a local government that owns garbage trucks have tight notification deadlines. It is important to contact an experienced garbage truck accident attorney promptly.

Contact us by telephone or online for a free consultation about your accident.


I’m pleased with the results of the case. I feel that the staff at Craig, Kelly, and Faultless kept me informed of each step in the process.

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