Injuries can happen at any work place from a warehouse to a basic retailer. If an employee at a retail store, like the Dollar Tree, is injured, many factors need to be kept in mind when making a claim for workers’ compensation.
We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance provided by an employer to the employees that covers injuries sustained while on-the-job or while performing job duties. The benefits from workers’ compensation include compensation for past and future medical bills, lost income wages and disability pay and attorney fees and costs.
An employee who chooses to file a workers’ compensation claim waives the right to pursue third-party personal injury claims against the employer. This right to pursue a claim includes claims made against co-workers who caused the actual injury as they are covered under the umbrella of “employer” in workers’ compensation cases.
Company Profile: Dollar Tree
Dollar Tree is a popular chain of discount variety stores where merchandise is sold for $1 or less. The store is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia, with over 13,600 locations across the country with over 145,000 employees.
The merchandise sold includes food, party supplies, toys, beauty supplies, healthcare products, school supplies, books, cleaning supplies and other products. Accidents that happen in Dollar Tree stores can include many different types of injuries from slip and falls, to injuries sustained from stocking merchandise and more.
The fact that Dollar Tree sells reduced-priced merchandise does not mean that the company should not be taken seriously. The company does come with its own legal department that is experienced in fighting claims if at all possible.
Injured While Working for Dollar Tree
If a Dollar Tree employee suffered a bank injury while working on a weekly delivery or while stocking the shelves, he or she may be eligible for workers’ compensation. As soon as an injury occurs, the employee needs to notify the employer of what happened so that an accident report can be completed.
The employee should provide a detailed summary account of what happened, and in addition to notifying the employer, he or she needs to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This can normally cover emergency care but the employer may want to follow up with a medical provider set up through the insurance policy.
When trying to prove a workers’ compensation claim, the biggest hurdle is often proving the claim. Documentation of the injury and the incident is key. An attorney can help the injured employee in accumulating all of the information needed to document exactly how the accident happened and how the employee was injured.
Not having the proper documentation can be enough to end up having an initial denial of the employee’s claim. It can help to have witnesses to back up what happened, if any witnesses happened to see the accident happen and could attest to the injury.
If Dollar Tree tries to fight the fact that the injury is connected to work, medical documentation will be important to prove causation. It can be tricky sometimes to subpoena the medical records, and an attorney can get this information quickly for the injured employee.
The Importance of Gathering Evidence for a WC Claim Against Dollar Tree
Dollar Tree is a multi-million dollar variety store business employing nearly 200,000 workers throughout the country. Workers are typically involved in many accidents and frequently have to claim workers’ compensation to cover them financially for loss of wages and the cost of medical treatment. However, the workers’ compensation insurer for Dollar Tree tries all the time to deny WC claims because it doesn’t believe the accident and subsequent injury actually took place at work. That is why it is so important to collect as much useful evidence as possible before going through the process of filing a WC claim.
Just one small amount of doubt on behalf of Dollar Tree’s workers’ compensation insurer and you could lose your claim to workers’ compensation. This could mean paying out of your own pocket for medical treatment which could run into hundreds of thousands dollars. Let alone the fact that you will lose the right to wages until your WC claim has been settled.
Different Examples of Evidence to Gather for a Dollar Tree Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are some key types of evidence that should satisfy Dollar Tree’s workers’ compensation insurer and these are as follows:
- written proof that the accident was reported on time to the injured worker’s supervisor;
- witnesses statements in writing and their contact details;
- photos taking by the injured employee at the accident scene or by another responsible individual;
- photographs retrieved from Dollar Tree’s surveillance camera which shows much the same evidence;
- copies of receipts for medical treatment;
- copies of invoices for medical treatment that needs to be paid;
- physician’s medical report showing a diagnosis and expected recovery time.
Once this evidence has been gathered it can be included with the workers’ compensation claim form available at Dollar Tree. You can perform a rough calculation as to how much WC you can expect to get but the final settlement is determined by Dollar Tree’s workers’ compensation insurer.
What Goes into WC Settlements and How They Are Calculated
A workers’ compensation claim is comprised of two main components. These are the full cost of medical treatment from the time of the injury until full recovery has taken place and two thirds of the employees’ weekly wage until s/he is able to return to work.
The medical expenses include ambulance rides and current hospital bills including all treatment and prescriptions. Future medical expenses are calculated as well. These could include any further surgery that will be required at a later date. The calculation for lost wages is typically calculated based on based on wages already lost and those likely to be lost in the future. If a specific disability has occurred due to the accident such as the loss of a limb or other faculty like hearing or speech this could be included in the WC claim.
What a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Looks Like For Dollar Tree
If a Dollar Tree employee has been hit by a forklift in a Dollar Tree warehouse and broken his/her leg the typical workers’ compensation settlement could be $2,000 or more for a standard break that requires cast.
Major costs associated with a break is the average of more than $200 for an x-ray about $225 for a cast, and as much as $1,000 for the doctor’s fee, in addition to up to $200 for an office visit fee.
Fees can vary depending upon where you are and what prevailing health-care costs are in your region.
If you suffer a broken leg that requires, surgical treatment of a broken leg typically costs $ 5,000 to $35,000 or more.
Breakdown of Workers’ Compensation Claim For a Broken Leg
- Cost of ambulance = $200
- Cost of emergency room treatment = $1000
- Cost of cast for the broken leg = $300
- Cost of x-ray =$200
- Cost of painkillers = $50
- Cost of crutches= $100
- Cost of removing the cast=$200
- Cost of follow-up consultations = $1,000
- Loss of wages for 8 weeks calculated at two thirds of $12 per hour = $8
- 40 hours x 8 hours = $320 x 8 weeks = $2,560
- Total workers’ compensation assuming it is a simple break could be = $5,610
Partial Disability Payments
If you are able to go back to work undertaking light duties and this does not pay as much as your previous job at Dollar Tree you may be entitled to a partial disability payment. Partial disability is calculated as two thirds of the difference of the two wages, up to a maximum time of 500 weeks. For example, if you were being paid $500 a week before you broke your leg and then you returned to a "light duty" job that pays just $400 weekly, you may be entitled to a partial disability payment of $66 per week. This is the difference between the two wages of $100, and two thirds of that amount is approximately $66.
If the employee is not able to get a settlement for the workers’ compensation claim, many times this will result in the employee having to get testimony to support the claim. This testimony is normally in the form of depositions, starting with the injured employee.
During depositions, the employee will be required to answer questions about the employee’s background, his or her work duties, training, and how the accident happened.
Since Dollar Tree will have their attorneys at the deposition, it can be helpful in having an attorney present representing the employee in the event any questions are asked that require objections.
Depositions may also need to be taken of the medical providers who treated the employee and can attest to the injuries sustained. It can be hard to properly subpoena a doctor and ask the needed questions to get the information required for a claim.
It can help having a workers’ compensation prepare these subpoenas and to handle the deposition to ensure that it goes properly.
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 Dollar Tree, a workers’ compensation attorney can help review your case and discuss your options.
You may think you cannot afford a workers’ compensation lawyer but in fact they don’t work out to be too expensive as most work on a contingency fee basis. This means the claimant doesn’t have to pay any legal fees until the case has been settled. This gives almost everyone the opportunity to pursue a far workers’ compensation settlement with the help of an experienced workers’ comp. lawyer.
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.
*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Dollar Tree, you may not be entitled to any compensation.