Help! I was Injured Working for Starbucks!*

Do you know what to do if you get hurt on the job? Workers’ compensation insurance is an insurance that most employers must carry in order to protect their employees.

Workers’ compensation can help cover any medical bills you may have from your on the job injury and help provide a portion of your lost wages. It acts as a safety net for employees.

Business Profile: Starbucks Corporation

Starbucks is an American coffee company and coffee house chain headquartered in Seattle, Washington. They have over 23,000 locations worldwide. They not only have coffee houses, but they also have automated coffee vending machines and a line of coffee products for in home use. Starbucks has around 191,000 employees involved in making coffee, serving, working as cashiers, and working in their warehouses.

Risks Facing Starbucks Employees

It might seem like an easy job to just go to work and make coffee, but Starbucks employees could face specific risks:

  • Burns on the skin from coffee machines or from handling hot coffee and steamed milk.
  • Injuries, such as cuts, while preparing food.
  • Slip and falls despite wearing proper work shoes.
  • Warehouse workers may suffer from slip and falls or hurt their neck, back, or other joints from moving heavy equipment or products.
  • Cashiers and baristas may face repetitive stress injuries from repeating the same small movements for hours on end.

For more specific articles on Workers' Comp while working for Starbucks, please see our pages:

Injured While Working at Starbucks? Follow These Steps

If you are hurt on the job at Starbucks, you should file a workers’ compensation claim. Your concern should not be whether or not you could have prevented whatever it is that caused you to get hurt. Workers’ compensation insurance is there to help you. You should speak with your manager or with an HR representative to file your claim. Follow these four steps to help protect your legal rights:

  • Inform your shift supervisor immediately. Do not wait until the end of your shift. If your injury requires immediate medical assistance, such as a serious burn from scalding coffee or milk or a deep cut, you should call 911. If you slip because of a spill, let your supervisor know so that it may be cleaned up. However, if you believe that you may have broken a bone or if you hit your head, you should seek emergency medical care.
  • You should complete an accident report as soon as you can. By completing the report right away, you can remember every detail that led up to the incident. If you called 911, you should get a copy of the police report a few days after the injury.
  • If your injury is not a medical emergency, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Ask your manager or HR rep about how you can file your workers’ compensation claim and make an appointment with the doctor listed on the policy. You can see your personal doctor, but you may have to pay out of pocket. You should keep your receipts because you may be reimbursed as part of your workers’ compensation claim.
  • Contact a workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your rights under the law. The job of the workers’ comp adjuster is to pay out as little on your claim as possible. You should not sign anything without first talking with a lawyer.

How to File a Claim Against Starbucks

If you have been hurt while working at a Starbucks coffee shop, the first priority will be to get medical attention. Typical injuries are scalding, burning and slip and fall injuries.

Unless the injury is so serious (e.g. you are knocked unconscious when you hit your head on the floor or counter) that you are taken to hospital for emergency treatment, you should take time to let your manager know about the injury and what caused it.

If you intend claiming compensation later, this information must be officially recorded by management because it will determine the starting date for payments. It will also be evidence that the injury happened in the coffee shop while at work and not somewhere else.

There will be a time limit imposed by state workers’ compensation regulations within which you must inform your employer about the injury. This could be as little as a week or two weeks after the date of the injury.

Some WC insurers insist that you use their own medical provider or use a doctor or medical center that is part of their own network of providers. If you fail to use their preferred doctor or hospital for treatment you may not be able to obtain compensation. Alternatively, you may be able to choose or see a networked doctor first, then choose your own provider for treatment.

The state determines how to file a claim. This may be through your employer, directly with your employer’s insurer, or with the state workers’ compensation body, board or agency. A WC attorney can help you work out what to do about filing a claim and what to submit with your claim.

There is a statute of limitations that puts a limit on when you can submit a WC claim. This is usually two or three years from the date of the accident. It is best to submit your claim as soon as you can. As long as the claim is accepted, you will then start receiving WC payments until your doctor declares you fit enough to return to work.

Gathering Evidence for a Starbucks Workers’ Compensation Claim

You do not have to prove who was at fault when submitting a WC claim. It is a no-fault type of insurance and every employee at Starbucks will be covered as long as they claim for injuries that verifiably take place at work and not somewhere else.

In fact, it is this aspect of a WC claim that is the major reason why some insurers deny a claim. They may be unconvinced that an injury actually happened at work and this is usually because there is insufficient evidence to show that it was a workplace accident.

Evidence that you should provide with your claim could include:

  • eye witness statements from other Starbucks employees who saw what happened and can vouch for your injuries;
  • any photos of the accident scene and your injuries immediately after the accident. you can feasibly take photos with a cell phone;
  • if the restaurant had a security camera installed (some do, some don’t), then footage of the point when the accident took place could be very valuable evidence if it comes to a dispute;
  • the doctor’s report, describing the nature of the injury, its severity and the prescribed treatment, including any hospital surgery needed and medication.
  • any medical reports and results of tests, such as x-rays and scans which are directly related to your injury;
  • bills, invoices and receipts for all medical costs related to the injury.

Protect Your Legal Rights

Workers’ compensation insurance is there to protect you when you are injured on the job at Starbucks. You should speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to learn about your rights under the law and how you may be compensated for your injuries.

*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Starbucks, you may not be entitled to any compensation.

Helpful Resources

Hurt Your Ankle Working at Starbucks*?
How Much is a Claim Against Starbucks Worth?*
Pinched Nerve While Working at Starbucks*?
Received a Cut While Working at Starbucks?*