In November 2019, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about how many truck accidents involving dump and trash trucks are costing taxpayers every year. Suffice it to say, the numbers are absolutely astounding.
Philadelphia’s Sanitation Workers Involved In Accidents Daily
Disturbing statistics show that since 2015, Philadelphia’s sanitation workers have been involved in more than 2,000 garbage truck accidents. This breaks down to an average of 440 accidents per year, meaning that an accident occurs nearly every single day. This does not include accidents caused by trash truck drivers who work for private waste collection companies also employed by the city.
Of the reported accidents, more than two-thirds were determined to be the fault of the sanitation worker driving the truck. What’s even more upsetting is the fact that drivers with multiple accidents aren’t being removed from behind the wheel.
Why Isn’t The Philadelphia Streets Department Dismissing Workers Who Cause Trash Truck Accidents?
In 1970, the Philadelphia Streets Department created a rule regarding trash truck drivers. The new regulation stated that if a driver was responsible for 2 preventable garbage truck accidents in a month, or four within a year, that driver was to be demoted or dismissed entirely.
Today, that same rule is clearly not being followed.
For example, one specific driver was cited as being involved in 19 separate trash truck accidents over four years. Just in 2016, this same driver had five accidents that were his fault, two of which were in the same month. Yet he wasn’t demoted or dismissed.
According to the Philadelphia Streets Department Commissioner Carlton Williams, drivers who have been involved in accidents are instructed to complete additional training and sometimes suspended for a few days. However, this is far from the “four-strikes-and-you’re-out” rule of times past.
Philadelphia Trash Truck Accident Statistics
It’s easy to believe that these trash truck accidents are occurring in large numbers because of the size and population of the city of Philadelphia.
However, when Philly’s truck accident incidence rate is compared to that of New York City, a metropolitan area that is larger and much more densely-populated, it becomes clear that this isn’t the result of high population density.
More specifically, the numbers show that the average Philadelphia driver gets into a trash truck accident every 3,800 miles; in New York City that number is every 6,300 miles. As we can see, the raw numbers back up the claim that trash truck accidents are almost twice as likely to occur in Philly, despite the fact that New York City is six times the size of Philadelphia.
How Much Are Philly Taxpayers Paying For Garbage Truck Accidents?
Over the past four years, the carelessness of drivers at the wheel of trash trucks has cost the taxpayers of Philadelphia nearly $5 million dollars. Additionally, it seems like the only reason this number isn’t even higher is due to the fact that, if you are injured by a trash truck in Philadelphia, the maximum compensation that can be recovered is $500,000.
This compensation cap does not apply in situations where the driver works for a private company, it’s only relevant when trash truck drivers are city sanitation employees. Unfortunately, the total compensation awarded in lawsuits against privately-owned trash truck companies in Philly isn’t publicly available.
At this point, it’s important to realize that being awarded compensation in a trash truck accident lawsuit is no easy feat. Victims have to fight for every bit of compensation, even when the recklessness of truck drivers is absolutely evident and their injuries are just as clear. For this reason, victims of trash truck accidents in Philly should seek the help of an experienced legal team who will stand by their side and fight for the maximum financial they deserve and which they need to get back on their feet.
Schuster Law’s Trash Truck Accident Attorneys
At Schuster Law, our attorneys have dedicated their careers to helping those who have been injured in all types of auto-related injuries, including trash truck accidents. Every injury case is treated as though it were our own loved one who was affected, and we fight aggressively for the maximum amount possible for each client.
What Can Be Expected From The Legal Process?
As the victim of a garbage truck accident in Philadelphia, it’s normal to think that filing a lawsuit is the first step in being compensated for your damages. However, this is not always the case.
If the trash truck involved in your accident was part of the Philadelphia Streets Department, then a claim will be made with the city. Filing claims with the city can be incredibly complex; there are countless restrictions, strict deadlines, and very specific criteria that must be met or else the claim may be dismissed. Our attorneys have experience managing these claims, they know the obstacles that can arise and how to navigate them.
If your legal claim must be made against a different entity, for instance against a privately-owned waste collection agency or perhaps even the manufacturer of the truck if a defect caused the accident, an initial demand package is delivered to the appropriate entity before filing suit.
If no settlement is reached with the city of Philadelphia or other entity deemed liable in the truck accident and therefore responsible for covering your damages, the next natural step is to file a lawsuit. Next, we briefly discuss the steps you can expect in that process.
Filing A Trash Truck Accident Lawsuit
A trash trucks accident lawsuit has the following steps:
- The Pleadings: This is essentially the time during which the initial lawsuit paperwork is filed. The plaintiff files the lawsuit which details the allegations being made against the defendant. The defendant is then given an opportunity to file a response to the claim.
- Discovery: During discovery, both parties are given the opportunity to obtain information that will strengthen their legal argument.
- Settlement: Prior to trial the involved parties may attempt to reach a settlement agreement. If a settlement can be reached, the case will not go to trial.
- Trial: If a settlement can’t be reached, the case will go to court and both sides will have the chance to present their arguments.
Navigating the legal process can be extremely difficult without an experienced attorney by your side.
Free Trash Truck Accident Consultations
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a Philly trash truck, contact our local law firm for a free consultation. We will review your case and explain all available legal options. Don’t wait – there are strict time limits that apply in most civil cases.