The rise in serious worker injuries at warehouses similar to those Walmart operates in the Philadelphia region will come under renewed scrutiny by the Department of Labor (DOL) according to a letter sent by the Department’s Inspector General to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the DOL’s letter indicates it will investigate “what actions OSHA has taken to address the increase in severe injuries at warehouses and order fulfillment facilities.”
Walmart is the largest retailer in the world with over 5000 retail stores and 2 million employees. 60,000 people work in Pennsylvania from Scranton to New London to Lewisberry. The DOL and OSHA will be focusing on those employees who work in nearly a dozen warehouse and fulfillment centers across the state who are most at risk of serious injury. The DOL is clearly concerned about deteriorating workplace conditions since 2020 and the pandemic. A 2020 OSHA report on warehouse safety, and a later report by the Strategic Operating Center (SOC), a coalition of four labor unions representing over 4 million workers, reported that Walmart had a worker injury rate of 3.0 serious incidents per 100 full-time workers.
Injured Walmart employees hurt in workplace accidents may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Pennsylvania law. This includes workers hurt at Walmart warehouses and distribution centers, even if they are a temporary, part-time, or seasonal worker. Pennsylvania’s workers’ comp benefits provide compensation for two-thirds of wages and medical bills and other benefits such as re-training or death benefits to a family.
How to Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits in an Amazon Accident
Individuals injured in a Walmart accident do not need to prove fault for their injuries or illness. This is because workers’ compensation benefits are a “no fault” system. As a result, employees will need to:
- Prove the injuries or illness was caused by employment
- Submit a timely claim to an employer (manager or supervisor)
- File a timely claim with the workers’ compensation carrier
- Comply with all requests for medical examinations, documentation, and other workers’ compensation carrier questions, and
- Follow medical recommendations of the workers’ compensation physician or treating physician once you are able to use your own doctor.
Examples of What Walmart Injuries May Allow for Workers’ Comp Benefits
Walmart workplace injuries can be caused by forklifts, slip and falls, truck crashes, falls from a height, dropped products, lifting objects, as well as other accidents which may cause a variety of personal injuries. Some of the most common injuries that workers’ compensation benefits may cover include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Crushing injuries
- Amputations or loss of a limb or fingers
- Burn injuries
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Broken bones or fractured bones
- Lacerations or deep cuts
- Organ injuries
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries, especially lower back injuries, disc injuries, or sciatic nerve pain
- Shoulder damage
- Knee injuries
- Dislocated joints
- Strains or sprains, and
- Other serious injuries that could result in catastrophic harm or wrongful death.
Will I Receive a Lump Sum Settlement?
Sometimes, but not always. The vast majority of injured workers receive period payments like a normal paycheck. A lump sum settlement is a single payment made to an injured worker that is intended to cover all periodic payments that would accrue in the future.
There are advantages and disadvantages of a lump sum payment. The advantages are that you will be paid a large sum upfront, which you can use to pay for home or vehicle modifications, expensive or experimental treatment that may not be covered, or move/relocate to a better home or area based on your disability. You may also be able to invest the lump sum and have a significant return on your investment.
The disadvantages are that you may not be able to “undo” your signing. This means that if your injuries worsen or your condition changes requiring you to need more or different treatment, you may not be entitled to recover additional money if you accept a settlement. Further, if you are a poor manager of money, a lump sum settlement may be a bad idea.
Notwithstanding the findings of the 2020 OSHA and SOC reports on workplace injuries, Walmart continues its retail and online battle with their competitors. This fight for customers, market share and profitability fuels the industry-wide culture that impacts the safety of workers. Without new regulations or laws, workers will continue to be injured in warehouses and fulfillment centers across the Philadelphia region. Walmart injury cases demand extra vigilance because of Walmart’s reputation of ignoring worker complaints, denying claims, and litigating to avoid payment.
If you are injured on the job at a Walmart facility, you must immediately:
- seek medical attention
- report their injury to a supervisor
- document the event
- keep excellent records of what occurred as well as their medical treatment, rehabilitation and time lost from work.
Railroading loyal workers hurt while producing profit for the company is outrageous but, unfortunately, business as usual for Walmart. Fighting this aspect of Walmart’s culture is the only way to change the dire statistics. Securing the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled is the only way to insure you are compensated for your work, your injury, and your future.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Philadelphia, PA, at Larry Pitt & Associates are not afraid to go up against Amazon and its workers’ comp carrier. We have over 40 years of experience handling personal injury and workers’ compensation claims throughout Pennsylvania. If you have been injured in an Amazon warehouse or Amazon distribution center, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Learn what your rights are by calling (888)-PITT-LAW or (877) 748-8529 or by sending us a message on our easy-to-use contact us box available here.