Sanitation workers who collect trash and recyclables provide a valuable service to the communities of South Carolina. They perform physically demanding work outdoors in all types of weather. Unfortunately, sanitation workers are susceptible to injuries on the job, including falling from the collection truck, being struck by a passing vehicle, suffering cuts or suffering back injuries from lifting heavy loads. An injured sanitation worker may miss work and experience a loss of income.
Sanitation workers who are injured on the job should talk to a knowledgeable attorney to understand their options for seeking compensation, including for medical bills, and partial wage replacement for lost income. Whether you are employed by a local government or a private solid waste hauler, you may be eligible to claim workers’ compensation benefits from your employer after an on-the-job injury. After some types of accidents, an injured sanitation worker may have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for the accident such as a negligent motorist who struck the sanitation worker.
At Joye Law Firm, our South Carolina sanitation worker accident attorneys help clients pursue the compensation that they need to overcome serious injuries and move forward with their lives. Joye Law Firm has been advocating for injured workers in South Carolina for more than 50 years. While every injury case has unique facts, one thing is consistent: the knowledge and experience we bring to each case. Review the workers’ compensation settlements and awards we have secured for injured employees in South Carolina, then contact us to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you recover from your accident.
There is no cost to you for our services unless we win compensation for you.
Workplace Accidents and Injuries to Sanitation Workers
Most sanitation workers perform their jobs by riding in garbage trucks from neighborhood to neighborhood or along a collection route. Garbage trucks often have mechanical arms to help pick up trash or recycling bins. Many trucks have hydraulic presses to compact the trash or recycling that the truck collects and allow the workers to collect as much trash or recycling as possible along their route. Sanitation Workers often ride on the outside of the truck, hanging off handrails and footsteps, so that trash or recycling can be collected as quickly as possible.
As a result of working in dangerous positions and around heavy machinery, sanitation workers face multiple risks of injuries including:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Sanitation workers often ride around in specialized collection trucks. While on the road, there is always the risk of a motor vehicle accident. The collection truck may be struck by a negligent motorist, putting the sanitation worker at risk of injury, especially if the worker is riding on the outside of the vehicle. A sanitation worker also may be struck by a motorist while the worker is on foot, handling garbage or recycling bins.
- Lifting accidents: Sanitation workers may sustain soft tissue injuries or back injuries from lifting heavy bins filled with garbage or recycling or large objects such as appliances.
- Falls: When sanitation workers ride on the outside of collection trucks, they are at risk of falling off if they lose their grip or footing on the truck. Workers may also be at risk of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents as they walk down the street due to hazards such as broken pavement or potholes, or slippery pavement.
- Crush accidents: A sanitation worker may sustain a crush injury if an arm or leg gets caught in compaction equipment. A worker may end up falling into or getting caught in the collection bin of their truck.
- Exposure to infections: Sanitation workers can be cut by broken glass or other sharp objects in the trash or recycling. A worker may contract an infectious disease from a needle stick injury or handling medical waste.
Some of the injuries that sanitation workers can be subjected to on the job include:
- Cuts and lacerations
- Soft-tissue injuries, including sprains, strains, and tears of tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- Repetitive-stress injuries, caused when sanitation workers are required to repeat the same physical movements numerous times over the course of a shift
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Crush injuries
- Head injuries and traumatic brain injury, including concussions, intracranial bleeding, or coma
- Infections and disease caused by exposure to toxic substances or to viruses and bacteria
What to Do After A Solid Waste Accident
If you are a sanitation worker who has been injured on the job, there are steps that you should take following your accident to protect yourself and understand your legal rights and options.
The first thing you should do following your accident is to notify your employer of the accident and your injuries. When you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment and rehabilitation and provides partial wage replacement to employees who are out of work because of a work-related injury. Businesses in South Carolina that employ four or more full-time or part-time employees are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance to protect employees.
Keep in mind that workers’ compensation laws require you to notify your employer of your work-related accident or injury as soon as practical. You are required to provide notice within 90 days of your accident or injury or the onset of a work-acquired disease or medical condition. But it’s best to do so as soon as possible.
You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible and even second opinion regarding the treatment of your injury. Typically, to be eligible to have your medical expenses covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you must be treated by a medical provider that has been approved by your employer or its insurer. If you require emergency medical treatment, you can see any provider and still have the costs covered by workers’ compensation.
It is important that you seek prompt medical attention and follow all treatment instructions and attend follow-up appointments. If you delay seeking treatment and then try to make a workers’ compensation claim, your employer may dispute your claim and point to the fact that you didn’t seek treatment promptly as evidence that you were not injured on the job. If your employer or the insurance administrator denies your claim, you have a right to file an appeal. Our attorneys can gather evidence of your workplace injury and file an appeal on your behalf.
It also may be a good idea to take photographs of the scene of your accident and to collect the names of any witnesses to the accident. You may later need witness statements to support a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim.
Finally, if you are having difficulty securing workers’ compensation benefits or believe you may have a claim against a party other than your employer for compensation for your injuries, you should speak with a sanitation worker accident attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights. An experienced attorney can review the details of your case and discuss your options for pursuing compensation.
If you aren’t receiving all the workers’ compensation benefits that you believe you are entitled to receive, our workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law can file a workers’ compensation appeal on your behalf. If there are others besides your employer that are responsible for your injuries, our attorney can file a legal claim on your behalf seeking full compensation for you.
Filing an administrative claim for workers’ compensation benefits or a lawsuit can be a complicated process. It is important that you speak with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process.
Contact a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one are a sanitation worker in South Carolina that has been injured on the job, contact Joye Law Firm today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable sanitation worker accident attorneys to learn more about your legal rights and options for compensation for your injuries. There is no cost to you for your services unless we secure the compensation you need and deserve.
Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm stand up every day for injured workers in South Carolina. We are proud of our record of success because it reflects the effort we put into achieving positive results. We believe that our experience and track record of success speak for themselves. Our attorneys collectively have more than 110 years of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims.
Our attorneys represent injured sanitation workers in Charleston, Columbia, Clinton and elsewhere in South Carolina on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means our fee depends on winning your case. You will not owe us a legal fee unless we obtain compensation for you through a workers’ compensation settlement or jury award. Let us review your injury and discuss your legal options.