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Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

Knowledgeable Boston Lawyers Representing Workers’ Compensation Claimants

People in certain occupations are particularly at risk of serious injury or death on the job. Waste and recycling collection workers have the seventh-highest fatality rate in the country. Their rate of death is eight times higher than the national average. There have been fatalities at landfills, transfer stations, and recycling facilities. If you are an injured refuse and recyclable material collector, or a loved one was killed while doing this work, the Boston workers’ compensation attorneys at Pulgini & Norton may be able to help you recover benefits.

Benefits for Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

Refuse and recyclable material collectors face numerous hazards while working. They may develop back strain or hernias from lifting heavy garbage bags or other heavy objects. If road conditions are poor, they may suffer slip and falls or an injury from a passing vehicle. They are sometimes hurt by compactors or the moving parts of their own vehicles. In some cases, dead or rabid pests, such as rats or raccoons, may be hidden inside refuse.

If you are injured, you should immediately report your injuries to your employer to find out whether it has workers' compensation insurance. Most employers in Massachusetts must obtain workers' compensation insurance for their employees. If you are covered, you are entitled to benefits, including adequate, reasonable medical care and medical travel mileage. Your employer is entitled to designate a health care provider for your first visit to a doctor or hospital. After that, you are entitled to select your own provider, and you may change providers once without receiving permission from the insurer ahead of time. Later, you will need to obtain consent from the insurer to change providers.

You may also be entitled to disability benefits. These are calculated based on your average weekly wage for your last 52 weeks on the job. If you were not on the job long enough to determine the average weekly wage, the wages of a coworker who has been in a similar position to yours for a long enough period will be used. Generally, when an injury makes a garbage collector unable to work for six or more non-consecutive calendar days, they qualify for total temporary benefits. Compensation only starts on the sixth day of disability, and you will not be compensated for the first five disability days unless you end up being disabled for 21 or more days.

However, if you are totally, permanently disabled due to a work-related injury, you may be able to receive benefits that last as long as you are not able to work. You need not exhaust your temporary benefits before you apply for permanent benefits. These benefits will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage or at least 20% of the state average weekly wage, based on the 52 weeks before you suffered injuries, up to a maximum of the state average weekly wage.

Families of refuse and recyclable material collectors who die on the job may be entitled to death benefits as well.

Explore Your Options with a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Boston

If you are injured on the job, or a loved one is killed as a refuse and recyclable material collector, you may be entitled to benefits. At Pulgini & Norton, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers may be able to guide you through the challenging process of seeking these benefits. We represent injured people in Lowell, Brookline, and Medford, among other Massachusetts communities. Contact Pulgini & Norton at 781-843-2200 or through our online form to schedule a free consultation with a workplace accident attorney.