Workers' Compensation for Garbage Collectors

Workers who collect trash and solid waste perform an essential service to the community. Solid waste collectors perform their jobs in all types of weather and are susceptible to many kinds of on the job accidents and injuries. Trash collection workers may suffer serious injuries from falls or being struck by a passing vehicle. A refuse collector may suffer injuries from the strain of lifting heavy loads. If you have been injured on the job as a refuse collector, is your employer paying for your medical care? You may require time off work and lose income.

Solid waste collectors who are injured on the job typically have a right to workers’ compensation benefits including paid medical care and partial replacement of lost wages. Workers’ compensation benefits are available whether you are a local government employee or an employee of a private solid waste company. If you have been injured and are having difficulty obtaining workers’ compensation benefits after a work accident, you should seek the guidance of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. The initial consultation is free and carries no obligation.

Our attorneys at Hardison & Cochran can review the details of your accident and discuss the appropriate steps to take. Our legal team will answer your questions and discuss whether you are entitled to demand workers’ compensation benefits. Call us today at (919) 444-4444 or complete our online contact form to learn more. Hardison & Cochran, Attorneys at Law has offices in Raleigh, Durham and five other central and eastern North Carolina cities. An attorney will respond to your call within 24 hours.

Injuries Related to Garbage Collection

The job of a garbage collection worker in Raleigh or Durham involves traveling from neighborhood to neighborhood in a truck picking up trash, discarded furniture and recyclables. Larger trucks often have mechanical arms to lift roll-out trash cans and garbage bins. Workers who empty trash cans by hand frequently ride on the outside of garbage trucks to expedite the collection process. Some trucks have compaction equipment.

Some solid waste collectors work for local governments and others are employed by private solid waste companies. The work is physically demanding, and all solid waste workers are susceptible to injuries on the job.

The common injuries involved in refuse and recycling collection include:

  • Head injuries
  • Fall injuries
  • Trauma from being struck by vehicle
  • Cut and lacerations
  • Crush injuries
  • Being struck by objects
  • Back injuries
  • Muscle strains

Common Garbage Collection Accidents

Being a garbage collector is a hazardous job and accidents are common. Among the common types of accidents are:

Vehicle collisions—Being struck by a vehicle is a significant job hazard for garbage collection workers. Many workers jump onto and off of garbage trucks repeatedly in the course of making collection rounds. A collector standing in the street is at risk of being struck by a passing motorist or a garbage truck that is backing up, if the worker is in a blind spot. A garbage collector stepping out from the back or front of a truck may be hit by a motorist who does not see the worker in time to avoid a collision. If you were struck by a passing motorist while working, you may have a right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance in addition to receiving workers compensation benefits.

Lifting—Collection workers may sustain back strain, muscle tears and other wear-and-tear injuries from lifting thousands of loads each week.

Falls—A garbage collector may make an awkward move or misstep when jumping off of a truck and twist an ankle, fracture a foot or fall in the street. A garbage collector may suffer serious back or head injuries by falling off of a truck and striking his head against the pavement.

Contact with Equipment—Garbage trucks with hydraulically powered arms that empty trash containers into the truck’s hopper reduce the physical strain on workers. However, the moving mechanical arms pose their own risks. A worker may be struck and severely injured by the mechanical arm. Workers are also vulnerable to crush injuries caused by compaction equipment in solid waste vehicles.

Exposure to Infection—Workers may sustain serious cuts and lacerations from contact with broken glass and sharp objects contained in garbage. Workers also may contract infectious diseases from needle stick injuries involving a used syringe.

However the injury occurred, our experienced garbage collector injury lawyers at Hardison & Cochran may be able to help you seek full workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related injury. You may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits even if your employer has classified you as an independent contractor.

What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job

If you have been injured, you should notify your employer of the injury as soon as possible after the accident. You are required to submit written notification of the injury with 30 days. North Carolina law requires employers to pay for medical care for employees who are injured in the course of performing their jobs.

You should inform your employer and seek medical attention as soon as possible. You will need to receive treatment from a doctor on a list provided by your employer, except in the case of an emergency. If you are unable to work because of your injuries, you should start receiving workers’ compensation benefits within about two weeks.

If your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance administrator denies your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, then you have a right to appeal. You should talk to a knowledgeable lawyer at this point.

North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law is complicated. If you have specific questions about whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, our attorneys would like to talk with you about the situation. Speaking with an experienced lawyer can help you understand your legal rights after a serious injury.

Hardison & Cochran has attorneys who are board-certified specialists in North Carolina workers’ compensation law. Our attorneys can discuss how the law applies to your circumstances and use our knowledge to help you. If you have a valid injury claim, we can help you work through the process to pursue workers’ compensation benefits if your claim has been denied. We assist clients in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilmington and throughout North Carolina.