When it comes to filing a workers’ compensation claim against a large corporation, like Amazon, it can help to know the basics of what to expect, as well as certain factors that may play into the specific employer-employee relationship.
What does an employee need to know before filing a workers’ compensation claim against Amazon? We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance purchased by the employer to cover injuries that employees sustained while working on-the-job. The benefits offered to employees through workers’ compensation include compensation for medical bills, both past and future, lost income wages and disability pay.
If an employee chooses to file a workers’ compensation claim, he or she is waiving the right to pursue a third-party personal injury claim against the employer for damages, but in return, that employee is, in theory, getting immediate benefits whereas a personal injury case can hypothetically can take years through multiple court systems, which is why many employees elect to pursue a workers’ compensation claim instead of a law suit.
Company Profile: Amazon
Amazon is one of the largest online retailers in the country has rapidly grown from the days when it was simply dubbed the “world’s biggest bookstore.” The company employs almost 240,000 people worldwide with fulfillment centers across the U.S.
These fulfillment centers are mostly warehouse in terms of function, and this results in a number of workplace injuries to the warehouse employees. These employees are asked to repeatedly lift heavy objects and operate heavy machinery like power jacks and forklifts.
This work can cause serious back, neck, shoulder or knee injuries. Additionally, because employees are working on lifted platforms, slip and falls are common.
What to Do to Start
Following an accident or injury on-the-job, it is important that the employee first seek medical attention if the injury requires it. Most times, emergency treatment is covered if needed, but the individual will also need to go see a treating doctor or designated medical provider through the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance policy to have an official evaluation on the injuries sustained.
The employee should also inform the employer of the injury as soon as possible, no later than 30 days following the incident. The employer will have forms to give to the employee to complete, and once finished, the employer will submit these to the insurance company.
Depending on the state, the injured employee may also need to file a separate claim with the state worker’s compensation agency, as well. However, all employers, even those the size of Amazon, have an obligation to report the injury to the worker’s compensation office as soon as it is made known to them.
Complications with Amazon
One big complication with Amazon has been its switched to management of the warehouse facilities to Integrity Staffing Solutions (ISS). ISS is a temporary employment firm that was said to be utilized by Amazon as a way to shield itself from liability for workers’ compensation claims and injuries by unloading these claims to ISS.
Depending on the state where the warehouse is located, this attempt, however, may not be successful so it is important that an attorney in that state be contacted if this question arises.
Even if Amazon employees are hired as temporary, which is the case for most of its warehouse facilities, they are still covered under state workers’ compensation laws.
Given the complexity of this situation and the fact that Amazon appears to be trying to protect itself from claims through hiring ISS, it is recommended that an attorney be retained to help the client with his or her claim.
One is normally recommended because of the specific rules and guidelines that are required by workers’ compensation laws and the fact that most claims end up at least in one layer of appeals due to a denial.
If the employee is going up a company that is already trying to shield itself by utilizing alternative practices like this, it is a definite recommendation that an attorney be hired or at least consulted before proceeding.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are in the process of pursuing workers’ compensation and have questions whether you need help with your claim against Amazon, a workers’ compensation attorney can help review your case and discuss your options.
An attorney can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed. Contact an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation law to schedule a consultation today.