What Are My Legal Options After a California Garbage Truck Accident?

garbage truck accident california

Garbage truck drivers provide Californians with an essential service, frequently in the early hours of the morning. They spend most of their time on residential streets alongside other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. As with any other motorist, garbage truck drivers can become distracted and cause serious accidents. Due to the vehicle’s size, contents and machinery, commercial garbage trucks can be much more dangerous than a typical car accident. If you sustained injuries or a loved one lost their life due to a garbage truck accident in California, please continue reading, then contact an experienced Santa Clara County truck accident attorney soon.

How does a California garbage truck accident occur?

Often within close proximity to other vehicles and pedestrians, garbage truck drivers operate heavy machinery, which due to its large size, may have numerous blind spots that hinder the operator’s view. Obstructed vision may lead the driver to collide with another vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian. Garbage trucks can cause devastating injuries even when speed is not a factor. The following may cause garbage truck accidents:

  • Distracted driving
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Driving while speeding
  • Dumping waste that hits another vehicle or person
  • Objects falling from the truck
  • Failing to check blind spots
  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Not following traffic rules or signals
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Not maintaining the vehicle adequately
  • Spilling hazardous waste
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Lack of training

Who is responsible for a garbage truck accident in California?

If multiple parties are involved, establishing fault in a garbage truck accident can be complicated. Either a private trucking company or a government entity may own and operate the garbage truck. If the circumstances warrant it, you may have the ability to file a claim against one or more of the following liable parties:

  • Garbage truck driver or operator: If he or she drives negligently and causes an accident, you may hold them responsible.
  • Waste removal company or employee: If the driver does not receive adequate training, you may hold the company that hired the driver responsible.
  • Garbage truck owner: If he or she sells a faulty vehicle, you may hold the truck owner responsible.
  • Vehicle maintenance company: You can hold the maintenance company responsible if they fail to keep the vehicle adequately maintained.
  • Manufacturers: If faulty parts, vehicle malfunctions, etc. caused an accident, you may have a product liability case against the manufacturers.
  • Municipality/government entity: You may hold the municipality responsible if the city owns and operates the truck.

Our Santa Clara County auto accident attorney is here to help you if you or a loved one sustained significant injuries due to a garbage truck accident.


When someone is wrongly injured in an accident, they often require financial compensation to heal. Contact the Law Offices of Brian J. O’Grady today to learn how we can help.