A Guide to Claiming Cleaner Injury Compensation

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by an injury or illness at work we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered an injury or illness at work and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

Introduction

Cleaners can be exposed to hazardous cleaning chemicals in the course of their work. A wide range of work accidents can also injure cleaners as they must navigate steps, stairs and furniture while carrying and using vacuum cleaners and other bulky cleaning equipment.

Working to tight schedules and in poorly-maintained buildings, as cleaners are often required to do, may also increase the likelihood of accident and injury.

Anyone working as a cleaner who is injured as a result of their working conditions may be eligible to claim compensation. Claims are likely to either be an accident at work claim against an employer, or an occupiers liability claim.

Do I have a cleaner injury claim?

It should be possible to make a cleaner injury claim if you were injured:

  • in the last three years and;
  • someone else was to blame.

Even if these two points don't apply to you, you may still be able to make a claim.

To find out for sure, speak to a legally trained adviser on 0800 612 7456.

A brief phone consultation will tell you exactly where you stand. There is no obligation to start a claim.

You can also find out if you have a claim with our Online Claim Checker.

How much compensation can I claim for a cleaner injury?

The amount of money you could claim for your cleaner injury will depend on:

  • the extent of your injury, and
  • any financial losses or costs you have incurred.

At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your cleaner injury has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).

Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.

Special damages

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a cleaner injury? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

How is compensation calculated if I have multiple cleaner injuries?

If you have sustained multiple injuries, the compensation amounts are not simply added together.

The upper bracket of the most serious injury may be considered as a starting point, with a reduced amount applied for the other less severe injuries.

For example:

General damages for a severe burn injury can be £15,000

For a less severe scarring, in isolation, you would typically receive £3,500.

However, if you have a severe burn injury and a less severe scarring, you would typically receive £15,000 + a reduced percentage of £3,500.

Special damages, such as loss of earnings are not usually increased if you have multiple injuries.

What is the average injury compensation for a cleaner injury claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a cleaner injury will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your cleaner injury compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life, your ability to work, and the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

See the injury table above for some examples.

Will I have to pay tax on my cleaner injury compensation?

If you receive financial compensation following a cleaner injury injury, specific legislation ensures that you do not have to pay tax on it. This is the case no matter whether the compensation is received as a lump sum or as staggered payments.

Cleaner injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a cleaner injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your cleaner injury claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a cleaner injury claim take?

The length of time needed to process a cleaner injury claim can vary significantly.

For instance, if liability is accepted by your employer, a claim could be completed in a month or two. However, if liability is denied the process might take considerably longer. On average a work accident claim takes between 6 and 9 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, read:

How long will my claim take?

Will I still be able to claim for a cleaner injury after the law changes in April 2020?

The law relating to personal injury claims is changing in April 2020.

You will no longer be able to claim no win, no fee compensation using a solicitor for lower value claims (under £5,000).

In addition, compensation for whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries will be reduced.

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your cleaner injury claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

Cleaning products and chemicals

Cleaning products contain chemicals that may be hazardous if inhaled, ingested or splashed on the skin. Injuries such as chemical burns, allergic reactions and contact dermatitis are relatively common among workers who regularly use cleaning products. Acute or long-term exposure to harmful chemicals can also induce chronic respiratory problems such as asthma.

Under The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations employers have a duty to eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals in the workplace. If this is not possible, then the employer must train the employee on the safe use of the chemical and provide personal protective equipment such as goggles, overalls and gloves.

Failure to provide suitable protective equipment may be evidence of an employer's negligence.

Manual handling injuries

"Manual handling" describes the pushing, pulling, lifting and carrying of items. Cleaners regularly move vacuum cleaners, floor polishers and furniture in the performance of their duties, all of which are types of manual handling activity.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 are designed to protect employees from injuries caused by manual handling at work.

Employers must eliminate any non-essential manual handling activities and take reasonable steps to make the remaining tasks as safe as possible. This includes training staff on how to lift and carry safely.

Exposure to asbestos

Working in older buildings may expose cleaners to asbestos. When lagging and asbestos-containing insulation materials become damaged they tend to create a dust that cleaners may inhale when sweeping up.

The health conditions associated with asbestos may take many years to develop. Provided that the illness can be shown to have been caused by exposure to asbestos fibres, compensation is likely to be available.

Claims for historic exposure may be brought against a former employer, even if the employer has gone out of business. These usually will be paid out by the employer's insurance company (at the time of the accident). Your solicitor will be able to identify the relevant insurer.

Lacerations and needlestick injuries

Broken glass, scalpels and syringes are capable of causing cuts and needlestick injuries if they are negligently disposed into ordinary waste bins instead of special "sharps" bins. Cleaners are also at risk of needlestick injury whilst cleaning public areas such as public toilets, parks and stairwells where syringes have been discarded.

Employers must provide cleaners with heavy duty, cut-resistant gloves to minimise the risk of injury. They must also ensure that machinery with blades, rotating parts and motors is maintained in good condition and training is given on the proper use of the equipment.

Employers who fail to observe these health and safety standards could be held liable under a range of legislation for failing to protect an employee from avoidable harm. This includes the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee removes the risk from making a cleaner injury claim. If you don't win any compensation, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

Our no win, no fee guarantee

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a cleaner injury compensation claim.

What do I pay if I win my cleaner injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my cleaner injury claim?

If your cleaner injury claim is not successful then you will not have to pay any fees.

Read more about how no win, no fee works

Can I get Legal Aid?

Legal aid is no longer available when making a personal injury claim, but a Conditional Fee Agreement (No Win, No Fee) can reduce the financial risks of making a claim.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning work accident claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 612 7456 or arrange a callback:

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Cleaner injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Can I claim if I was partly responsible for an accident?

You may still be able to claim compensation even if you contributed to your accident or to your injuries.

However, if you were partly to blame (known as contributory negligence), your compensation may be reduced and it may be more difficult to prove liability.

Read more about claiming compensation if you were partly responsible for an accident.

How long do I have to make a cleaner injury claim?

In general, you have a time limit of up to 3 years from the date of the cleaner injury to make an injury claim.

The last date you can make a claim is known as the claim limitation date - after which your cleaner injury claim becomes 'statute barred'.

Can I claim for a cleaner injury after 3 years?

Possibly. The general rule for adults is that a claim must be started within three years.

However, the three-year countdown starts on the day you learned of your injury or illness. This will usually be the date of the accident, but could be the date your doctor gave you a diagnosis.

There other circumstances that can also impact the limitation date. Call us now on 0800 612 7456 to find out if you are still able to claim cleaner injury compensation.

In reality, there are a number of factors that can affect whether a cleaner injury claim will be taken on by a solicitor.

Calculate your claim limitation date

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.

Read more about this Quittance Legal Expert