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Cyclist Files Lawsuit After Near-Death Experience With Garbage Truck


A tourist visiting a home her family owned near Tampa suffered multiple compound fractures, eight broken ribs, a traumatic brain injury, and a crushed pelvis after an incident with a garbage truck. The driver of the truck never saw her.

While garbage truck accidents are rare, they do happen, and they can be confounded by a lot of legal issues that stand in the way between injury victims and their compensation. In this article, we’ll review the case in more detail.

The driver 

The driver of the garbage truck was cited for the incident and paid northwards of $600 before losing his job. He was ticketed for failing to yield. This is tantamount to proving an allegation in civil court. The criminal or traffic court has the higher burden of proof, so elements of negligence that would typically need to be established in a civil trial do not need to be established when those elements have been established in criminal court. Essentially, the driver pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to yield, and the plaintiffs would be able to use that in any subsequent personal injury trial that was filed against him.

However, the driver is not the defendant in this case. Instead, the City, the driver’s employer, is the defendant. This will complicate matters considerably for the plaintiffs.

Sovereign immunity and garbage truck liability 

Garbage trucks aren’t always owned and operated by the city. Sometimes, cities contract with private companies to provide sanitation services. However, when the employee is a direct employee of a government entity, then sovereign immunity kicks in.

While the state doesn’t make it impossible to file a lawsuit against it, it does make it harder. Further, the state caps damages in these cases to $200,000 when there is only one victim involved. To get more money, an attorney for the plaintiffs must petition the legislature to disburse more money. This draws out the process even further. In some cases, the legislature has no incentive to authorize a larger settlement.

Garbage truck liability and injury 

The main saving grace of the large unwieldy garbage truck is that you seldom encounter them traveling more than 20 mph. However, in large, open areas, or after they’ve been filled up with garbage, that’s when garbage trucks become dangerous.

Visibility in a garbage truck is much lower. They tend to be even wider than 18-wheelers creating even more blind spots. Typically, there are multiple individuals on or around the truck making them safer for neighborhoods. But it’s when they get out on large stretches of road, moving quickly, with all those blind spots that they become dangerous.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today 

If you’ve been struck by a garbage truck, or any commercial vehicle, call the Tampa garbage truck accident attorneys at Matassini Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your injuries in greater detail.



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