Whether you’re employed as a refuse collector for the local authority or a private waste service, you can expect your employer to try and keep you as safe as possible. That’s important because there is the potential for refuse collectors to be injured on a daily basis. Importantly, if you’ve been injured because of your employer’s negligence, this guide on refuse collector accident claims will explain your options.
To help you understand your options, we offer a no-obligation review of any potential accident at work claim. During your call, a specialist will consider your case and answer any questions you may have. Should your claim be viable, one of our personal injury solicitors may agree to represent you. If they do, you won’t need to pay any legal costs upfront as you’ll receive representation on a No Win No Fee basis.
To learn more about when refuse collector accident claims might be possible, please read on. Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 6524 881 if you’d like to discuss your claim right away.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Refuse Collector Accident Claim?
- Common Causes Of Injuries To Refuse Collectors
- Negligence That Could Result In Injuries To Refuse Collectors
- How Much Compensation For A Refuse Collector Accident Claim?
- What Evidence Do I Need To Support A Claim?
- What’s The Time Limit For Making A Work Accident Claim?
- Starting The Refuse Collector Accident Claims Process
Collecting rubbish and emptying bins is an inherently risky job so you might think that being injured is just part and parcel of your role. However, laws such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 place a duty of care on your employer to try and make your job as safe as possible.
Therefore, you may have grounds to sue your employer if:
- Their negligence meant they breached their legal duty of care towards you; and
- An accident occurred as a result; and
- You suffered an injury or were made ill.
It’s important to take note that your employer’s negligence must’ve been the cause of your accident and subsequent injuries. If there was nothing that could have been done to prevent your injuries, you probably won’t be able to seek damages for them. If you’re unsure whether you’ve got grounds to claim, please get in touch for free legal advice.
Refuse collectors will always face dangers because of the nature of their job. Some of the most common reasons they could be injured while collecting rubbish include:
- Needlestick injuries. These can occur when the skin is pierced by something sharp that pokes out of a bin bag. There is a risk of infection from needlestick or sharps injuries including hepatitis and HIV.
- Slips, trips and falls. Working in wet and icy conditions can increase the risk of refuse collectors being injured in a fall. Other defects like potholes, raised paving slabs or missing kerbstones can also result in similar accidents.
- Mechanical failure. Modern bin lorries have several safety devices to try and prevent injuries. If they fail, accidents can happen such as bins falling onto a refuse worker, limbs being crushed and there’s even a risk of the refuse collector being trapped inside the vehicle.
- Being struck by moving vehicles. As part of their role, refuse collectors may need to step out into the road while moving bins to and from the bin lorry. This may increase the risk of a road traffic accident when drivers are passing nearby.
- Exposure to chemicals and fires. Whether collecting for landfill or recycling, a refuse collector will not usually know exactly what’s inside the bins they are emptying. This can lead to burns from chemicals if there is a leak in a bin or bag and there’s a risk of fires in the bin lorry if batteries are disposed of incorrectly.
Essentially, if you’ve been injured whilst working as a refuse collector, you could claim for any injury if the accident was caused by your employer’s negligence. Some of the most common injuries include head injuries, broken bones, back injuries at work, burns, soft tissue injuries, and laceration cuts.
As we’ve discussed, your employer’s negligence must have caused your accident if you’re to claim compensation for your injuries. Some examples of the types of negligence that could lead to a claim include:
- Inadequate training – including safety training, manual handling training and refresher training.
- Poorly maintained refuse collection vehicles.
- Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – including high visibility clothing, safety boots and heavy-duty gloves.
- Being asked to work too many hours or not being allowed adequate rest breaks.
- A lack of regular risk assessments.
If you believe that you have a valid refuse collector injury claim, please let us know the details and we’ll review your options with you.
You should carefully consider how you’ve been affected by your injuries before filing a refuse collector injury claim to ensure you’re compensated fairly. Therefore, you’ll need to think about how you’ve been affected physically, mentally and financially.
If you do go on to make a refuse collector accident claim, you could seek damages to cover:
- Your physical pain and suffering.
- Any distress, depression or other forms of mental trauma related to your accident and injuries.
- The impact your injuries have had on your hobbies and other usual activities.
- Loss of earnings.
- Care costs – if a friend, family member or professional carer supported you.
- Physiotherapy and other medical expenses.
- Travel costs.
- Damaged personal property costs.
- Any reduction in earnings in the future.
- Vehicle or home adaptations and mobility aids if you’ve suffered a long-term disability.
To help to try and achieve the maximum possible amount of compensation possible, your solicitor will review your case in detail before filing your claim.
At this stage, there’s no way of saying exactly what settlement you might get. That’s because each refuse collector accident claim is unique. However, our compensation calculator does give some indication of the potential settlement amounts for various relevant injuries.
To help determine the extent of your physical and psychological injuries, an independent medical assessment will usually be arranged by your solicitor. A specialist will speak with you about how you’ve suffered and examine you. After they’ve finished, they’ll file a report with everybody involved in your claim that will be used to consider what payout you might be entitled to.
When making a refuse collector accident claim, you should aim to provide as much evidence as possible to show why the defendant (your employer) was to blame, how the accident occurred and what injuries you sustained. Without this evidence, winning your claim could be fairly tricky.
The types of evidence that could help in refuse collector compensation claims include:
- Accident report forms. After reporting an accident at work to your employer, you should ask for a copy of the record that they’re legally obliged to file. Having this will make it easier to prove where and when the accident occurred.
- Medical records. It’s always a good idea to see your doctor or visit a hospital if you’re injured at work. X-rays and medical records can be obtained to help prove the severity of your injuries.
- Witness statements. Colleagues and members of the public could be asked to explain what they saw if they witnessed your accident. Therefore, try to get their contact details and forward them to your solicitor.
- Photographs. If it’s safe to do so, you should take pictures at the scene of your accident (and your injuries). Ideally, try to take them from as many different angles as possible and try to capture the root cause of the accident.
- Dashcam footage. If your vehicle (or a witness’ vehicle) was fitted with a dashcam that captured your accident, try to secure a copy of any relevant footage.
In addition to the above, financial records and your own statement of events could make it easier for you to explain how you’ve been affected by the accident.
If you’ve been injured whilst working as a refuse collector and wish to make a personal injury claim, you’ll typically have 3 years to begin your claim from the date of your accident. If you’re making a repetitive strain injury claim or industrial disease claim due to your work, your time limit will begin from the date your condition was diagnosed.
While you can claim at any point within the 3 years, collecting evidence and medical reports to support the claim can be time-consuming. Therefore, it’s usually a good idea to start the ball rolling as soon as you can.
If you’re ready to begin the claims process or would like free advice on your options, please get in touch by calling 0800 6524 881 today.
Any claim taken on by our personal injury solicitors will be managed on a No Win No Fee basis so you won’t pay any legal fees unless compensation is awarded. Knowing that’s the case will usually make everything a little less stressful.
To find out more about refuse collector accident claims right now, please connect to our free live chat service.