California Street Sweeper Injury Attorneys
A street sweeper truck is meant to keep city streets clean, clear and free from hazardous debris. Sometimes though, if drivers do not proceed with caution around a sweeper, they can find themselves in a catastrophic collision. The
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Street Sweeper Accident FAQs
Following an incident, victims can find themselves distressed and unaware of what legal measures to take. The law offices of Bisnar Chase are here to answer any question you may have pertaining to your street sweeper vehicle collision.
Frequently asked questions that victims of trucks accidents usually have include:
Anyone who has suffered injuries or property damage at the fault of street sweeper driver or company can file a personal injury claim. Compensation that accident victims can claim from the negligent party can include compensation for medical bills or lost wages.
After a street sweeper truck crash, move to a safe area and call the police right away. While waiting for the local authorities and an ambulance to arrive, exchange contact and insurance information with the street sweeper operator, take photos of the incident, and do not leave the scene until the police give you permission to do so.
The settlement amount that you receive for your street sweeper accident case will depend on the extent of your injuries and losses. At times, the amount of compensation you receive for your accident can also depend if you were partially at fault for the incident.
If you are a surviving spouse, surviving child or surviving parent of the deceased you can file a wrongful death claim. California statute specifies that those looking to pursue compensation for their loss have two years to file a claim.
Crash victims or those who have lost a loved one in a collision should seek legal representation if they are adamant of holding a wrongdoer accountable or believe that they are not being compensated for the amount they need to recover. The Personal Injury Attorneys of Bisnar Chase strive to provide the best client representation and fight for those who are seeking justice. Call our street sweeper accident lawyers now to receive a free consultation at 800-561-4887.
California Street Sweeper Truck Regulations
The California Air Resources Board states that “Street sweepers must comply with the regulation like other trucks. However, a sweeper with an auxiliary engine that is rated at 50 hp or greater must meet certain additional requirements as follows: Auxiliary engines must be upgraded when the drive engine is required to be upgraded Any Tier 0 auxiliary engine must operate less than 100 hours per year starting in 2014, and must be reported and labeled with the letters SW on both doors."
Different Kinds of Street Sweeper Incidents
According to FMSCA, over 500,000 truck crashes take place every year in the United States. Street sweeper accidents can occur in a neighborhood or on the side of the road. There are certain kinds of street sweeper accidents that occur frequently at various locations.
Types of street sweeper collisions:
- Rear-end crashes: Over 1.7 million rear-end crashes take place in the United States per year. These commonly cause injuries, and can result in fatalities. Data shows that around 1,700 people are killed, and 500,000 people are injured in accidents associated with rear-ending annually. To avoid rear-end crashes drivers should not drive too close to cars in front of them.
- Hit and run accidents: California Vehicle Code 20002 VC prohibits a driver leaving the scene of an accident, whether they were at fault or not. Leaving a crash site can lead to a felony or misdemeanor charge. Violators, if caught, can be incarcerated for six months to ten months. It can also result in over $1,000 in fines.
- Rollovers: It is very common for a tall and narrow type of vehicle to rollover. Rollovers occur when a vehicle's tires either pop or when an object in the road unexpectedly disrupts the direction of the vehicle. A tire being damaged while operating the street sweeper can result in the truck flipping over. Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 30 percent of rollovers are fatal.
California Vehicle Code section 22507.6 states: "Local authorities may, by ordinance or resolution, prohibit or restrict the parking or standing of vehicles on designated streets or highways, or portions thereof, for the purpose of street sweeping. No ordinance or resolution relating to the parking or standing of commercial vehicles in a residential district shall be effective with respect to any commercial vehicle making pickups or deliveries..."
Filing a Street Sweeper Accident Claim
If you have been struck by a street sweeper as a pedestrian or driver, the first step to take after the collision is to contact your insurance company to file a claim. The insurance company will then reach out to the liable party’s insurance company. An adjuster will be assigned to your accident case and then proceed to negotiate a monetary amount for the losses and damages. If the offer amount is not enough to cover your medical expenses, your time off work and any property damage sustained, contact a Street Sweeper Injury Lawyer in California to learn more about your legal options.
Who Will be Held Accountable for Your Accident?
Personal injury law involves two primary principles which include accountability and damages. Winning compensation for the losses that a victim has suffered is key, but personal injury law also serves to hold a negligent party responsible for their carelessness. If a person suffers catastrophic injuries in a street sweeper accident case, there are several parties that could be held liable.
The local government or sweeper truck companies that hired the driver could be held responsible for the damages. When the city or independent contractor employs a driver, that specific employer has the duty to make sure that the driver is properly trained and has proven to be reliable while operating a street truck sweeper. The employer is also responsible for making sure the maintenance of the street cleaner truck is up to par.
Read more information on the duty of care in personal injury law.
Common Causes of Street Sweeper Truck Collisions
Since street sweepers are not a typical type of vehicle, a driver can easily lose control if they lack awareness or are distracted when operating the truck. Road sweeper accidents have increased throughout the years, with crashes killing some people and leaving surviving victims seriously injured.
Typical reasons that street sweeper truck crashes occur include:
- Improperly trained driver: Street sweeper drivers need to go through extensive training to make sure they are operating the truck safely. Drivers need proper training of street sweeper truck functions and pre-trip inspections. Individuals pursuing employment as a street sweeper driver also must complete a great number of hours in order to be a driver. Since street cleaner trucks are not a common vehicle used amongst civilians, if truckers are not trained properly, they could cause a major accident.
- Weather conditions: The safest seasons to operate a street sweeper are usually during the fall and summer months. Rain and snow are the most common causes of crashes for industrial-sized trucks. Data has indicated that 16 percent of fatal collisions associated with commercial trucks were weather-related. The reason why street sweeper drivers must remain cautious during the winter months is due to cold temperatures potentially freezing the water that sprays the ground to wash the debris off the road. Employers have the responsibility of determining whether it is safe or not for their drivers to operate a street sweeper during the winter months.
- Poorly maintained truck: Employers along with the street sweeper drivers should check the condition of their truck regularly. The parts that must be checked often include the debris hopper, the fan inlet, the rubber seals and the sweeping head of the street sweeper truck. It is crucial that the hopper (where the debris is stored and circulated) be maintained. Tymco.com suggests to “... check the dust separator for wear and make sure the door is closing properly. It’s also a good idea to check the suction inlet liner for wear.”
- Driver failing to check surroundings: Street sweeper drivers need to proceed cautiously when turning and backing up on the road. It is crucial that street sweeper operators always check their blind spots. Since street sweeper trucks are large and bulky, it can be easy to rear-end a car or even hit a pedestrian if they are not fully aware of their surroundings. Drivers also need to be extra careful around construction sites. Street sweepers should drive at the posted speed limits and reduce their speed around schools and busy areas.
- Inattentive driving: The Department of Motor Vehicles stated that in the United States nine people are killed daily due to distracted driving. Distracted driving does not just include phone usage while operating a vehicle. It can also include changing the radio or eating while driving. If a street sweeper driver causes an accident due to being distracted, or due to drinking and driving, the result can be hefty fines or criminal penalties.
Do Not Rely on Insurance Companies to Cover Your Losses
As a car accident victim, you should not rely on or trust the insurance company with your accident case. The goal of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible for your losses, that may include property damage, medical expenses or lost wages. There are tactics that the insurance companies use in order to follow through with this objective. One of the most common tactics is to slow down the process of your claim. You must be proactive about checking the status of your claim to ensure that you will receive your settlement as soon as possible. Waiting for your settlement can potentially lead to you taking more time out of work without pay, or cause your medical bills to pile up due to your condition worsening.
Another tactic that an insurance company may use to low ball you in your settlement amount can be by referring you to one of their doctors for examination. This works as a means for the insurance company to protect themselves from any “false” or “exaggerated” claims an accident victim may have. Seek a medical examination from your own primary care physician.
It is also important to remember not to admit fault.
Types of Street Sweeper Trucks
The purpose of a street sweeper is to maintain the cleanliness of the city. A street sweeper truck can weigh up to 14,000 pounds and must be operated with great care. Even though all street sweepers have the same objective not all of them function the same. Below are the types of street sweepers used and how they function.
- Conventional street sweepers (mechanical broom sweepers): The mechanical broom sweeper is a truck that contains a rotating broom at the back part of the vehicle. The street sweeper throws road debris onto its conveyor and then transfers it into a hopper (the container that holds the debris). These types of sweepers are often used on construction sites to handle heavier objects such as gravel.
- Vacuum sweeper: Vacuum sweepers function as a regular home vacuum. These street sweepers contain brooms on each side to remove the dirt in its path. The debris is then suctioned into the large capsule at the center of the truck. Vacuum sweepers are commonly used to clean public roads to keep gutters clear of debris.
- Regenerative air sweepers: Air sweepers work very similarly to vacuum sweepers. The difference lies in the amount and weight that this sweeper can grab. The air sweeper also has a stronger suction which allows it to collect the smallest pieces of debris such as small leaves.
Drivers Getting Hurt On-The-Job is a Common Occurrence
Although street sweepers do operate at a speed 25 mph or lower, they can be dangerous not only for other drivers on the road but for the street sweeper employees themselves. At times workers are operating a faulty vehicle and can obtain serious injuries from the auto defects.
The United States Department of Labor stated that within a six-year-period, five employees were critically injured or died from accidents involving a street sweeper.
Street Sweeper Accident CasesAlthough street sweepers do operate at a speed 25 mph or lower, they can be dangerous not only for other drivers on the road but for the street sweeper employees themselves. At times workers may be left operating faulty vehicles and can obtain serious injuries due to auto defect accidents.
The United States Department of Labor stated that five employees were critically injured or died from accidents involving a street sweeper.
Street Sweeper Accident Cases
There are countless locations that have experienced motor vehicle accidents but there are few that have experienced street sweeper crashes. These collisions occurred in places such as urban neighborhoods or even rural areas where pedestrians are not as common. Most of the incidents were caused by drivers who were negligent while operating the sweeper truck.
The most prominent accident cases involving street sweeper trucks include:
La Habra, California Street Sweeper Accident: At 2:00 a.m. a pickup driver was pronounced dead at the scene of an accident when he collided with a street sweeper. The truck of the accident victim was found extremely damaged in La Habra on Imperial Highway where the incident took place. Alcohol or drugs were not a factor that caused the crash.
Jacksonville, Florida Street Sweeper Accident Reported: A street sweeper driver died when trying to clear an object which was lodged in the vehicle's machinery. The street sweeper motorist, who remains unnamed, became trapped in the machine and was heard crying for help before witnesses arrived on the scene. When help arrived, it was already too late and the man who was identified to be in his 40s or 50s was found dead.
Street Sweeper Truck Driver Killed in Baltimore: Fifty-year-old Charles David Meyers was killed after the street sweeper truck he was operating rolled over. Authorties stated that "The driver unexpectedly crossed the oncoming traffic lane, striking a guardrail and mailbox, causing the truck to overturn." Meyers was found dead at the scene of the accident.
San Diego Street Sweeper Truck Injured Construction Workers: Two construction workers suffered multiple fractures due to falling down a 6 foot hole after being involved in a street sweeper truck accident. A hose at the construction site was dragged by the truck which led to the workers falling into the hole. The incident was also classified as a hit-and-run, police are still looking for the driver.
Yarmouth, Massachusetts Construction Worker Killed by Street Sweeper Truck: Veteran construction worker Paul Haley was killed after being pinned down by a street sweeper. Yarmouth’s Police Chief, Daniel Gallant said: “The gentlemen was under the vehicle, and some larger equipment had to be used to free him from that position so that he could be evaluated by medical personnel.” Haley was 57 years old.
Common Injuries from Street Sweeper Truck Accidents
Although street sweepers operate at a low speed, they can still be dangerous to drivers and pedestrians. The suction of the truck is so great that it has led to some victims becoming trapped in the machinery or smashed against the pavement. The following are the injuries that road sweeper crash victims frequently experience.
Typical injuries street sweeper truck accident victims suffer:
- Crushed limbs: A crush injury happens when a great amount of pressure is applied to the body. The body is then compressed between two objects. The two objects that usually cause crush injuries in a street sweeper incident are the truck itself and the street. Many street sweeper crash victims have experienced being run over or even entangled inside of the street sweeper.
- Amputations: Crushed bones or limbs can lead to a part of the body being amputated. After an amputation, many victims will need an extensive amount of rehabilitation and may need a medical device such as a prosthetic limb to function. Losing a limb can be mentally and emotionally traumatic, and continuous therapy may be needed as well.
- Internal bleeding: Internal bleeding after a street sweeper accident can be caused by two different types of traumas which include blunt trauma and penetrating trauma. Blunt trauma happens when your body hits an object at a high speed. Penetrating trauma occurs when an object is thrust through the part of the body which could lead to a person bleeding to death.
Preventing a Street Sweeper Truck Collision
Due to their weight and size, passenger vehicles need to remain cautious while driving along the road with street sweeper trucks. Drivers who have not taken precautions have suffered from serious injuries and have even died. Accidents do occur randomly, but there are ways you can decrease your chances of being involved in an incident with a street sweeper truck.
Motorists are advised to NOT:
- Follow too closely to street sweeper trucks: Experts state that people should follow a three-second distance rule behind a vehicle. It is important to keep a safe distance from other vehicles just in case you or the street sweeper need to make an immediate stop. Having a safe amount of distance will give you the time you need to brake rapidly when required.
- Be in a street sweeper driver’s blind spot: Just like semi-trucks, street sweepers have multiple blind spots. It is crucial that you stay out of a street sweeper’s blind spot. There are four blind spots on a large truck. Two of those blind spots are located 20 feet in the front and 30 feet in the back. The way you know you are not in a trucker’s blind spot is if you do not see the street sweeper driver in his/her side mirror.
- Drive with their high-beam lights on: Street sweepers on public roads sometimes operate early in the morning when it is still dark out. When approaching a large truck, dimming your brights will prevent the trucker from being blinded. Your bright lights can reflect in the mirror which can hinder the sight of a driver.
- Turn immediately when a street sweeper is still turning: Semi-trucks need enough space when making a turn due to its length. Four-door motor vehicles could face being hit by the rear of a street sweeper if they do not wait until the truck turns fully in an intersection. Left-hand turns are the most accident-prone turns because of the cargo that they are carrying in the back.
- Text and drive: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that in one year more than 3,000 people have died from distracted driving. It is illegal to use your cellphone while driving in California. If caught not only will you face fines, but you can also face being involved in a street sweeper accident.
Tips for Street Sweeper Truck Drivers on the Road
Many people underestimate the important role street sweepers have. Street sweepers are used for cleaning storm drains and are also used to prevent floods during the rainy seasons. A truck's strength not only makes it efficient, but it can also make it hazardous if not properly handled. There are measures that street sweepers truck drivers can take to prevent an incident from taking place.
Preventive measures that street sweeper drivers can take include:
- Check your street sweeper truck regularly
- Do not wear earphones when driving the truck
- Drive at the required speed
- Do not operate a street sweeper under the influence
- Always be on alert for pedestrians
- Wear protective gear such as gloves and boots
- Do not operate the vehicle inattentively
Top-Rated California Street Sweeper Injury Attorneys
Bisnar Chase’s California Street Sweeper Injury Lawyers are passionate about representing those who have suffered from serious injuries in an accident. We have been winning personal injury cases since 1978 and have a 96% success rate.
You should not trust the insurance companies. The main objective of insurance companies is to offer you the least amount of compensation for your collision. Our experienced personal injury law group has the expertise and the team to win you the recovery you need to heal from your incident.