There are more than 116,000 garbage collectors throughout the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Garbage collectors and garbage truck drivers are tasked with a difficult job on a tight schedule, and most of the time it runs like clockwork. But unfortunately, disaster can strike at a moment’s notice. Distractions behind the wheel, speeding, reckless driving, and other negligent driving activities can lead to serious garbage truck collisions.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a garbage truck, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against the local government. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have more than 80 years’ worth of experience fighting for the injured in New Jersey and New York, and we have the resources to help you. Our skilled personal injury lawyers take pride in using the latest technology and sparing no expense to prove our clients’ claims. With decades’ worth of experience standing up to insurance adjusters and large corporations, you can rest assured knowing that Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi are prepared to take your case through to the very end. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to speak with one of our legal representatives today. Your initial consultation is free and confidential, and no fees are due until we win your case.
Injuries in a Garbage Truck Accident
The size of a garbage truck puts other motor vehicles at a severe disadvantage. Drivers and passengers are at risk for serious injuries in a garbage truck accident, including:
- Brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Catastrophic injuries
- Severe burns
- Bone fractures
- Internal injuries
- Psychological injuries
After an accident, many serious injuries appear right away. However, certain injuries can take hours or even days to become apparent, such as concussions or whiplash. Therefore, it is extremely important to seek medical attention right away after an accident, regardless of whether or not it seems necessary. In addition to diagnosing any less-apparent injuries, seeing a doctor right away can bolster your lawsuit, should you choose to file a claim. Visiting the doctor right away gives you solid medical evidence from right after the crash, and it helps to prove that your injuries were serious.
Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Filing a personal injury claim comes down to “damages.” Damages comprise the monetary, physical, and mental harm caused by the accident. Damage awards are often agreed upon during settlement negotiations, in which both parties, their attorneys, and sometimes insurance companies come together to negotiate a fair amount of damages; in other situations, damage awards can be ordered by a judge or jury after a court trial. Damages are calculated by adding up a number of different costs, which are discussed further below.
There are two kinds of damages available in a New Jersey personal injury lawsuit: compensatory and punitive damages. The vast majority of personal injury cases deal with compensatory damages, which seek to compensate the plaintiff for the “cost”—meaning financial, physical, and mental harm—of the accident. Compensatory damages include compensation for:
- Current and future medical treatment: includes hospitalization costs, ongoing treatment expenses, rehabilitation costs, and any expected future medical expenses
- Lost wages: compensation for wages lost while out of work due to the injury, as well as decreased earning capacity in the future if the injury will continue to affect the victim
- Loss of enjoyment of life: covers loss of enjoyment of day-to-day activities, recreation, hobbies, and exercise
- Pain and suffering: the physical and emotional pain caused by the accident, including the pain of the physical injuries and ongoing emotional trauma
- Wrongful death: compensation for the family or estate of someone killed by a negligent driver
It is important to note that New Jersey operates under a “modified comparative fault” system for determining liability and damages. Therefore, the plaintiff does not have to prove the defendant was 100 percent at fault in the accident in order to collect damages; as long as the defendant was more than 50 percent at fault, the plaintiff may still recover damages.
For example, say a man was driving straight through a green light at about 15 mph over the speed limit. A garbage truck coming the other direction is turning left and fails to see the other car coming, causing a major collision. The accident causes $100,000 worth of medical expenses and damage to the man’s car. If the court decides the man was 10 percent at fault for speeding, the garbage truck operator bears 90 percent of the fault for turning left when it was unsafe to do so. Therefore, the plaintiff’s total damages will be reduced to $90,000 (a 10 percent reduction, representing the 10 percent fault).
Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving the Government
Proving a claim against a governmental body is typically more complex than a “normal” personal injury claim, and there are special time limits involved. That being said, it is important to talk to an experienced New Jersey lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner one of our legal representatives can review your case, the sooner we can investigate and start the process of filing your claim.
For claims against the government, you must give formal notice of the claim within 90 days of the accident. After the initial notification, you must wait six months to file a lawsuit. During this time, a city attorney will most likely contact you to try and resolve your claim. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can decide whether to resolve your claim with the city or file a formal lawsuit. Once the six months have expired, you are free to file a formal claim against the government.
Keep in mind, however, that the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is two years in New Jersey. Regardless of who the claim is filed against, government body or not, the lawsuit must be filed within that two-year time frame. After two years, New Jersey courts will refuse to hear your case and you will lose out on the right to compensation.
Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a collision with a garbage truck, Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi can help. Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi have proudly served the injured of New Jersey and New York since 1974. Our law firm has collected more than $300 million for clients, both in and out of court, and we have the resources to investigate and prepare your case. Call (201) 585-9111 or contact us online to start on the road to recovering your losses. Your initial consultation is free and confidential, and there are no fees due until we win your case.