Diggers, excavators and other large machinery play a vital role in many construction tasks. Without them, many jobs simply wouldn’t get done. While diggers are massive timesavers, they can also make building sites dangerous places if not used correctly. If you’ve been injured by a digger, you could be eligible for compensation to cover your suffering. This article about digger accident claims will set out your options and explain the types of accidents that could be claimed for.
We offer a free initial consultation to help you understand your options. If you call today, your advisor will assess the merits of your claim for free and offer legal advice about what to do next. If one of our personal injury solicitors offers to take you on as a client, your claim will be processed on a No Win, No Fee basis. Knowing that you don’t have any worries about paying legal fees upfront can be a massive weight off your shoulders.
To learn how we can help with digger accident claims, please read on or call our team for free advice on 0800 652 1345.
Can I claim compensation for a digger accident?
If one of our solicitors agrees to manage your claim, it means that are confident that there’s a better than 50 per cent chance you’ll be compensated. To check this before taking on a digger accident claim they’ll try to determine whether:
- The defendant in your claim breached their duty of care because they were negligent; and
- An accident involving a digger occurred as a result; and
- In the accident that ensued, you suffered an injury or injuries.
To make a successful digger accident claim, you will need proof of all three criteria listed above. As such, we’ll look at what proof could be useful to support your claim a little later on.
As part of our free consultation, we’ll review your claim in detail and check that it’s viable before beginning the claims process.
As you can imagine, working near large machinery on building sites like diggers, JCBs and bulldozers can be risky. Any type of plant machinery has the potential to cause serious injuries if not used correctly. However, just because diggers and other machinery are dangerous, that does not mean employers can write off accidents as ‘just one of those things’.
That’s because building site operators have a legal duty to do all they reasonably can to keep all staff, contractors and members of the public as safe as possible. This duty comes from laws such as the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Any breach of this duty of care that leads to a digger accident on a building site, could allow the injured party to claim compensation for their suffering. While this guide is specific to digger accidents, you could claim for any type of accident on a building site linked to the negligent use of heavy plant machinery.
Types of digger accidents you could claim compensation for
Some common digger accidents that compensation could be claimed for if someone else was to blame include:
- Being trapped between a digger and a building.
- Being struck by the bucket of a digger as it is swung around.
- Digger accidents caused by operators that are not paying attention to those around them.
- Being knocked over by a digger that is reversing.
To try and reduce the risk of digger accidents, employers should ensure proper inspection and maintenance of the digger is conducted regularly. These checks should include:
- Visually checking the digger daily.
- Ensure that all faults are fixed before the digger is allowed to be used.
- Encourage staff to report any concerns about the digger or safety issues.
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidance and service the vehicle at the required intervals.
- Allow projects to be halted if there are concerns about digger safety.
If you have been injured on a building site by a digger and believe that the accident was caused by negligence, call our advisors and they’ll review your options.
Common injuries from digger accidents
The size of diggers and the loads they move mean that it’s quite possible for any type of injury to be sustained during an accident. Some common injuries that can lead to digger accident claims include:
- Broken bones.
- Abdominal injuries and internal organ damage after being trapped by a digger.
- Concussions and other head injuries after being struck by the bucket of a digger.
- Cuts and severe lacerations.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Hand injuries.
- Psychological injuries.
- Spinal injuries.
If you’ve suffered any type of injury caused by a digger accident that wasn’t your fault, please feel free to speak with a member of our team.
Digger driver negligence that could result in a compensation claim
There are many ways that a digger driver may be found to have acted negligently while operating the vehicle. Some examples that could lead to a compensation claim include:
- If the digger driver hadn’t been trained properly on how to use the digger safely.
- Where the digger operator ignored warning signs or speed limits on the building site.
- If the digger was overloaded.
- Where the accident occurred because the digger driver was allowed to work excessive hours.
- If the digger operator claimed they had the qualifications to drive the vehicle but this wasn’t checked and was untrue.
If you’ve been injured by a digger at work or as a member of the public, please contact us to see if we could help you start a compensation claim.
Digger training and safety
It goes without saying that any company operating heavy excavation equipment like diggers need to ensure that all employees working on various projects are trained to the appropriate level. Companies, therefore, have a legal obligation to:
- Instigate initial and ongoing training of all personnel.
- Provide the relevant safety clothing and equipment.
- Ensure that all excavation vehicles are well maintained.
- Ensure that all excavation vehicles have the appropriate safety guards.
- Allocate employees to projects based on their training and experience.
- Carry out risk assessments.
- Produce a detailed safety guide.
If you were involved in a digger accident as a consequence of a lack of training or guidance then you may well be entitled to compensation for any injuries received.
How much compensation for a digger accident can I claim?
Any settlement you receive for a digger accident claim will be designed to compensate you for any physical, mental and financial suffering. Each claim is unique so you’ll need to spend time assessing what you should be compensated for, i.e:
- The pain, suffering and discomfort caused by physical injuries.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression or other mental health problems.
- Loss of amenity (where your normal activities have been affected by your injuries).
- Any loss of earnings.
- Replacing items ruined in the digger accident such as your clothing.
- Medical costs such as private physiotherapy treatment.
- Travelling expenses.
- Cost of a carer if someone else was needed to support you whilst injured.
- Future lost income if your injuries reduce your capacity to work.
- Mobility aids and home adaptations to make coping with long-term injuries and disabilities easier.
As part of your digger accident claim, you will need to have a medical assessment to help prove what injuries you’ve got and how severe. This will usually be carried out locally by an independent medical expert.
During your appointment, the specialist will find out how your injuries have impacted you day to day and try to establish if you’ll continue to suffer in the future. They’ll outline your prognosis in a report that your solicitor will use to help calculate how much compensation you might be entitled to claim.
Providing proof of negligence for a digger accident claim
If you’re injured on a building site by a digger, you probably won’t think about making a personal injury claim right away. However, if you take the steps outlined below, you could make any future claim easier as you’ll have secured some of the proof needed to support your claim.
- Seek medical treatment. It is important that any digger-related injuries are diagnosed and treated properly in a hospital or minor injuries unit. Later on, medical records (including your x-rays) could be collected together to prove the level of injury.
- Report the accident. Legally, all employers must keep a record of any incidents in an accident report book (or similar device). You can request a copy of the report if needed to help prove when and where you were injured.
- Take pictures. After an accident at work, try to take plenty of photographs of the accident scene. Use your phone to get pictures from various angles and try to do so before anyone moves or replaces anything at the accident scene.
- Secure CCTV footage. If your accident was recorded by onsite security cameras or a dashcam, you should ask for a copy of any relevant footage to be forwarded to you.
- Speak to witnesses. Ask anyone who saw what happened if they’re happy to speak to your solicitor if required. If they are, take a note of their contact details and forward them to your solicitor.
In addition to all of the above, it is a good idea to write down as many details about the digger accident as possible while everything is still fresh in your mind. Also, keep hold of any financial evidence if you want to claim back any costs linked to your injuries.
No Win, No Fee claims
We know that for many, the cost of hiring a specialist injury solicitor can be quite scary. That’s why our solicitors offer their services on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means you’ll essentially receive specialist legal representation with reduced financial risk.
To formalise this agreement, you’ll be sent a No Win, No Fee contract to sign before your digger accident claim starts. It will show you that:
- Our solicitors don’t ask for legal fees to be paid upfront.
- You will not pay any legal fees at all if your claim is unsuccessful.
- Should you be compensated, a success fee will be deducted from your settlement amount.
The success fee is the way your solicitor is paid for their work if they win your claim. It is capped by law to 25% of any payment you receive as compensation.
Your solicitor will manage the whole claims process from start to finish for you, with their main goals being to:
- Work to secure any proof needed to show how and why the digger accident happened.
- Arrange for your injuries to be assessed independently.
- File the claim with your employer.
- Use their legal skills to try and deal with any objections raised by your employer’s insurers.
- Make sure that you are aware of how your claim is progressing.
- Discuss any settlement offers with you to assess whether they are fair.
During your claim, your solicitor will be available to answer any questions that you think of.
Digger accident claim time limits
In the UK, there is a 3-year limitation period for all personal injury claims. For digger compensation claims, the time limit will usually begin from the date of your accident. However, this could be extended in exceptional circumstances. For example, your time limit may not start until you became aware of your injuries if you were in a coma for a period after your accident.
We believe it’s usually best to start legal proceedings as soon as you can following the accident. There are two main reasons for this:
- It’s usually less difficult to get hold of the proof to support your claim.
- It may be possible to request interim payments to help you cover any immediate costs linked to your injuries (reduced income, care costs etc).
To check if you’ve still got time to start a digger accident claim, contact one of our advisors today.
Start a digger accident claim today
To check right away if you’re entitled to compensation after a digger accident, please call our team on 0800 652 1345. During a free consultation, a specialist advisor will consider your chances of being compensated and offer advice on how to proceed.
If your claim is deemed to be strong enough and it’s accepted, you’ll be partnered with a personal injury lawyer from our panel. They’ll manage your whole claim on a No Win, No Fee basis which means you won’t have to be concerned about paying legal fees until compensation is awarded.
We can answer any immediate concerns or questions that you might have about digger accident claims via our live chat, or claim your free consultation here, so please feel free to contact us.