Garbage trucks play a vital role in community sanitation. Like clockwork, you put your trash can by the curb every week. The garbage truck drives up and collects your trash. It’s gone, and you won’t see them by your house until the next garbage collection day.
Garbage trucks provide such a benefit to our society. You probably never thought of the dangers they carry. Garbage trucks are heavy and can be awkward to drive. Being involved in an accident with a garbage truck can cause serious injuries.
You may be entitled to financial compensation if you have been injured in a garbage truck accident. The experienced Albuquerque garbage truck accident lawyers at Flores, Tawney, & Acosta P.C. can defend your rights and help get you and your family the compensation you need to get back on track.
Who Is Liable After a Garbage Truck Accident?
If you have been injured by a garbage truck, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable for any damages. You must show that the responsible party’s negligent behavior caused your injuries. An Albuquerque garbage truck accident attorney can help you establish your negligent claim. To succeed, you must prove the following elements.
You must prove that the responsible party had a duty to you. Examples include:
- Garbage truck driver. The garbage truck driver has a duty to take care while on the roadway. They must obey traffic laws, not drive under the influence, and not drive while distracted.
- Employer. The garbage truck driver’s employer has a duty to provide training for their employees. They must also take reasonable steps to ensure their employees abide by state and federal regulations.
- Manufacturer. The manufacturer of the truck or individual truck parts has the duty to ensure that they are designed and built correctly.
- Maintenance company. The company that provides routine maintenance for the garbage truck has the duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that the truck operates safely.
These duties are in place to make the roadways safer. Any deviation increases the risk of an accident.
You must show that the duty was breached to prove a negligence claim. For example, if the garbage truck driver is drunk on the road, they breach their duty to follow the law and drive safely. Or if the maintenance company did not comply with proper procedures during a maintenance check and missed a problem with the brakes, they may have breached their duty.
Next, you must prove that the breach directly caused your accident and injuries. Causation is one of the more difficult factors to prove. Determining the cause of an accident can get confusing. Insurance companies want to point to other accident causes to deflect liability. You need an Albuquerque trash truck accident lawyer with the experience and resources to navigate this chaos.
The last element to prove in a negligence claim is damages. Damages in a garbage truck accident include things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Should I Negotiate with the Insurance Company?
You should always try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company—never accept their first offer. However, it’s generally not wise to try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. The insurance company may act like they have your best interests at heart. But ultimately, insurance companies have one loyalty, which is their balance sheet. They will try to get you to settle for the least compensation possible. An insurance company is a business that wants to make money. Its purpose is not to help innocent victims.
Insurance companies are also notorious for stretching the negotiations. Their purpose is to frustrate you into accepting a settlement that is less than you deserve. An aggressive Albuquerque garbage truck accident lawyer can take on these ruthless insurance companies and fight to get you fair and just compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Garbage Truck Accident Claim?
The time limit for filing a garbage truck accident claim is called the statute of limitations. The time limit for personal injury claims like a garbage truck accident is three years in New Mexico. If you file your claim after this three-year deadline, the court will dismiss the claim. You will not be able to recover compensation.
But note that this deadline applies only if the garbage company is private. If the city of Albuquerque operates the garbage truck, the lawsuit is against the city government. This is a different set of laws.
The New Mexico Tort Claims Act gives “qualified immunity” to government agencies and personnel. This means that lawsuits cannot be brought against them. An exception is personal injury and wrongful death claims. Though you can still bring your claim, there are different rules. Note that you can only bring a claim within two years (not three years) of the accident. A child under seven years old, however, has until they turn nine years old to file a claim.
For claims against the government, you must also file a notice of a claim within 90 days of the accident. If you do not, you cannot bring a claim.
A Garbage Truck Accident Lawyer in Albuquerque Can Help
Our Albuquerque garbage truck accident attorneys at Flores, Tawney, & Acosta P.C. have experience in garbage truck accident cases. We can help you build your claim, negotiate your position, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact our office for a free consultation where our attorneys can review your case.