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Garbage Truck Accidents

Garbage Truck Accident Lawyers in Syracuse

Many are injured or killed in garbage truck accidents. In some cases, it is sanitation workers who are catastrophically injured or killed in these crashes. However, in others, it is pedestrians or those in other vehicles. While workers’ compensation may be the exclusive remedy for an employee who is injured in an incident involving an employer who operates a garbage truck, those with no employment relationship to the defendant be able to recover damages by bringing a personal injury lawsuit. These types of truck accidents can result in hefty medical bills and lost wages, and sometimes lost earning capacity. Additionally, there may be more than one person injured, and each person may have a claim against a garbage truck driver, as well as the government, or a private waste disposal company. Defendants’ insurance policy limits may be exhausted quickly. If you were injured or loved one was killed in a garbage truck accident, you should discuss your situation with the seasoned Syracuse truck accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Liability for Garbage Truck Accidents in Syracuse

Due to the weight and size of garbage trucks, accidents involving them can be more catastrophic than collisions between passenger vehicles. Accordingly, New York and federal laws mandate that trucking companies follow certain rules in order to ensure the safe operation of garbage trucks. Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed, and other factors such as road conditions, weather, and other drivers’ actions can influence the outcome of a collision.

If you were injured in a garbage truck accident, you should discuss your situation with our experienced Syracuse trial lawyers. We may be able to pursue damages under a theory of negligence. In order to show a garbage truck driver was negligent, for example, we would need to show it's more likely than not he breached his duty to you to use reasonable care causing your injuries, such that you suffered actual damages. Garbage truck drivers may breach their duty to use reasonable care by speeding, backing up without checking blind spots and mirrors, failing to maintain the garbage truck, making improper lane changes, driving under the influence, failing to obey traffic signs and signals, and failing to properly inspect their trucks.

In some cases, there are also other contributing causes to a garbage truck accident, such as another driver’s improper maintenance of her vehicle, drunk driving, speeding, unsafe attempts to pass a garbage truck that is picking up a garbage bin, distracted driving, texting, fatigue, and improper maintenance.

Comparative Negligence

New York follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. This means your damages can be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. Suppose, for example, you suffer spinal injuries because a negligent garbage truck driver backed into you, but you were tailgating, the defendant may argue that you were comparatively negligent. If your damages are $500,000 and a jury finds you 50% responsible, you may only be able to recover $250,000 from the defendant and you will be responsible for $250,000 of these damages yourself.

When a loved one has died due to another’s negligence, it may be appropriate to seek recovery of wrongful death damages. In New York, these are pecuniary losses arising out of a death caused by neglect or a wrongful act.


City ordinances or other laws may govern your claim against a garbage truck driver and require you to provide a certain amount of notice. The government is protected from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, except where it has agreed it can be sued. When a garbage truck driver causes a pedestrian accident that results in injuries to the pedestrian, for example, she may be able to file a claim against the city. However, under New York law, a notice of claim must be prepared and served as a condition precedent to bring a lawsuit against a municipal or other governmental entity. The claim notice must be filed with the city within a narrow window of time of 90 days from the accident. If you fail to meet that deadline for notice, you can be barred from filing a claim. After you file a claim, the city has an opportunity to respond. When a claim is denied or no response is provided, you may be able to pursue damages.


Damages to which you may be entitled when we can establish liability include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress.

In most cases, damages are compensatory. However, where a defendant acts intentionally or recklessly and causes harm, it may be appropriate to pursue punitive damages.

Retain Seasoned Garbage Truck Accident Lawyers

The Syracuse truck accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to represent you if you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a garbage truck accident. We have more than thirty years of experience representing victims of negligent conduct in lawsuits, and we have recovered more than $100 million in personal injury awards and settlements. Our firm represents victims of garbage truck accidents in Rochester, Auburn, Watertown, Oswego, Lowville, Wampsville, Canandaigua, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Utica, Herkimer, Binghamton, and Elmira. Complete our online form or call us at 833-200-2000.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY