Were you working your shift at Dollar Tree when you suffered an injury? If so, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Most companies in the United States are required to offer workers’ comp coverage for their employees. Workers’ comp reimburses for medical expenses and covers part of lost wages that result from an injury or illness that happened on the job. Because of the complex nature of the claims and the challenge of dealing with the insurance adjusters, you may be able to benefit significantly from consulting with a workers’ comp attorney about your claim. Company Profile: Dollar Tree A popular chain of discount variety stores that offers items for $1 or less, Dollar Tree Inc., is an American store that is headquartered in Chesapeake, Virginia. It has 13,600 locations across the country. The parent organization is SKM partners and subsidiaries include Family Dollar, Deals, and Dollar Tree Canada. The Fortune 500 company competes in the low-end retail and dollar store markets. Dollar Tree was founded in 1991 in Norfolk, Virginia. It has more than 145,000 employees and revenue exceeding $8.6 billion. It offers a variety of products, including food, snacks, party supplies, beauty and health care products, school supplies, seasonal, floral, books, toys, automotive items, cleaning supplies, and much more. The company continues to grow and gain popularity because of its low-cost merchandise. Injured on the Job? Did you suffer a back injury when you were lifting boxes from a truck during a weekly delivery at Dollar Tree? If so, you may be eligible to file a workers’ comp claim to recoup your medical expenses and lost wages that resulted from your recovery time. Every job has its risks, and if you are injured you should immediately notify your supervisor so they can complete an accident report. You should give a detailed account of what happened while it is still fresh in your memory. You should also seek medical care right away. Concussion: Did you fall from a ladder in the stock room and end up hitting your head on the concrete floor causing a concussion? This is a serious injury that will require recovery time. Lacerations: Were you using a box cutter to open a box when the blade slipped and cut your hand? You will need to go to the nearest emergency room for cleaning and sutures. You will be unable to work for a few days as you heal. Broken Bones: Did you slip and fall hurting your arm and wrist because of a spilled drink on the tile floor in the store? If you broke your arm or wrist, you have a lengthy recovery period ahead of you. It may take weeks, or even months, to fully recover. If the injury was severe, it may require surgery. How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim If you work for Dollar Tree you are most likely to work in a store, serving customers and taking money, keeping the store clean and tidy and the shelves stocked. You might also work in the warehouse section, unpacking goods for sale and making them ready for display. There will be other employees nearby if you are injured anywhere at work who can assist you after your accident, call an ambulance if necessary and also provide confirmation that they saw the accident happen while at work and how you were injured. You should make sure you see a doctor, even if the injury is relatively minor. Some injuries can persist and worsen if you continue to work and in any event you will not obtain any workers’ compensation unless you seek medical assessment. As soon as you can, make sure you let your immediate supervisor know about the accident and the nature of your injury. Most Dollar Tree stores are not massive, so in most cases this will be the manager, unless you are the store manager yourself. The injury must be recorded by the company administration officially. Depending on the arrangement in your state, the employer may be responsible for letting the state workers’ compensation board know about the injury and also the employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. There will be a time limit for you to get the injury officially recorded, typically one or two weeks from the date of the injury. Don’t just rely on telling a fellow worker to let the manager know. Get a copy of the entry made in Dollar Tree’s accident reporting system. You can use this as evidence later on. If you are taken to hospital from the store because of a serious injury, make sure you contact your manager as soon as you are able to do so. There may be a company doctor, clinic, or hospital that Dollar Tree’s insurer insists you use. If it is an emergency, it will be okay to use the nearest hospital, but you may be transferred over to the insurer’s choice of provider when you are able to do so. Failure to use a preferred medical provider may mean you forfeit any chance of obtaining compensation. Some insurers get you to be assessed first by their own doctor and then you can choose your own provider or you may have the choice throughout. Find out from Dollar Tree’s manager or PR adviser. When you see the doctor and/or any other medical provider, let them know that the injury happened while at work and make sure this is recorded on their report. You will need a copy of this later to show that you were treated for something that happened while at work. If you use providers that are on the insurer’s authorized list, bills should automatically be sent to the insurer. This may not happen if you choose the doctor or hospital, so you should check to make sure they can deal with workers’ compensation. Each state will have a body that deals with workers’ compensation and sets the rules about how this is provided. You should contact them directly or through their website to make sure you know who to submit your workers’ compensation claim with. It may be directly to the insurer or through the state workers’ compensation board or agency. There will be a time limit on filing a claim and rules for filing an appeal if your claim is denied. For anything other than very minor injuries it may be advisable to contact a workers’ compensation attorney for legal advice and help. Gathering Evidence for a Workers’ Compensation Claim Evidence is not just useful for a workers’ compensation claim. It would be hard to obtain compensation without it. The most important evidence is proof that your injury happened at work. Insurers often try and deny a claim because evidence is missing or they are suspicious that the injury was due to failure to follow safety instructions, or intoxication. A list of useful evidence is provided below. Eye witness statements confirming that the injury took place when and where you said it did. This could be another employee, the manager and/ or store customers who saw what happened. Photos taken of the accident scene and your injury; Doctor’s assessment of your injury and recommendations for treatment; Further assessment made by a specialist or hospital doctor; Copies of results of tests and scans; All proof of payment or invoices for medical treatment throughout; Estimated future medical treatment, if necessary. Potential Settlement for a Workers’ Compensation Claim Workers’ compensation settlements are basic compares to personal injury settlements. You will only get your medical costs paid for plus a percentage of your average weekly wage paid for the time you are off work. Depending on the state, there may be a limit to how long you would be paid for a temporary disability and whether there would be any compensation for a permanent disability or help with retraining. All acceptable medical treatment should be paid in full. Insurers will want to be sure that the medical treatment you are claiming for is directly related to your workplace injury. Compensation for lost wages is usually a percentage of your average weekly wage, typically two thirds of documented hours lost. A calculation follows as an example of a sample Dollar Tree workplace injury settlement. For a Dollar Tree cleaner’s injury, assume that the cleaner normally worked 24 hours a week at an average hourly rate of $8 an hour. Assume for the sake of this example, that the cleaner slipped and fell on a slippery floor surface and suffered a hip dislocation and a fractured hand. The total time off work was 8 weeks before the doctor advised that it was safe to go back to full work conditions. This would mean a payment of 0.66 x 8 x 24 x 8 = $1,024. Medical treatment for a dislocated hip plus a fractured hand may cost between $4,000 and $6,000 in total including medication, surgery and x-rays. Assuming that there are no permanent injuries and the cleaner can return to full work, the cleaner may expect to receive between $5,024 and $7,024. Claims are typically delayed or denied if time limits are not adhered to, if there is doubt whether the injury was genuinely work related and if any important evidence as listed above is missing so that it is impossible to verify the cost of treatment. A Workers’ Compensation Attorney If you have been hurt on the job, you should consult with a workers’ compensation attorney before you file your claim. A workers’ comp attorney can make sure all the paperwork is properly completed and handle the negotiations with the workers’ comp adjusters so you can focus on getting better and getting back to work. *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.