Statistics show that working in a warehouse is one of the most dangerous occupations, almost as hazardous as construction work. Roughly one in every 20 warehouse workers will suffer some type of injury each year. Warehouse employees may miss time from work and need inpatient medical care.
Under North Carolina law, employers are obligated to purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
However, qualifying for benefits is far from automatic in the wake of a work injury. Our workers’ comp attorneys in Wilmington, NC at Horton & Mendez assist clients with workers’ compensation claims, protecting your rights when the system may try to treat you unfairly.
Injury Risks of Working in a Warehouse
More employees are working in warehouses these days, especially as online shopping continues to dominate the retail market. These jobs are far from safe, as employees face a number of dangers in their jobs.
There is a confluence of factors that make a warehouse a dangerous place to work. Employees are performing physical tasks in a warehouse, stretching and lifting to move products. They are working long shifts, and there is an intense strain on their body. In addition, other employees may be using equipment around them, or the employee may be operating complex machinery themselves.
Here are some of the risks of injury when you are working in a warehouse:
- Slips and falls are perhaps the most prevalent cause of warehouse injuries. There may be slippers substances on the floor or debris left in the path where workers walk
- Warehouse workers are constantly lifting heavy loads, whether it is taking items from the shelves or filling orders. They can suffer injuries from repeated heavy lifting or when they lift one load awkwardly.
- The heavy lifting could also cause an overuse injury when workers use and strain the same body part repeatedly.
- Objects can fall from shelves in the warehouse or off equipment and strike a worker.
- The worker may be working in a high area of the warehouse or climbing to take an item off a shelf, and they can fall from a height.
- The employee can be injured by the operation of heavy machinery, such as a forklift or other machine that loads and unloads products (if the machinery is defective, then the employee could file a product liability lawsuit).
Warehouse Injuries that Workers Suffer
Warehouse injuries can keep an employee from being able to perform their job for a considerable amount of time. Some may never be able to return to their work.
Common warehouse injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries: Stretching of the muscles, tendons or ligaments could cause strains or tears
- Overexertion injuries: Workers who make repeated motions or perform continuous heavy lifting could sustain injuries like tendonitis or bursitis
- Broken bones and fractures: Falls or other trauma to the body can cause fractures
- Back injuries: The strain of lifting or the overuse of the back could cause injuries such as strains and herniated discs
- Spinal cord injuries: Falls or trauma to the head could result in a permanent injury to the spinal cord that takes away your full motion
If you have been injured while working in a warehouse, you may be legally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. When you can show that your injury was work-related, your employer’s insurance policy would cover reasonable medical expenses to treat your injury and part of your lost wages (up to a statutory cap). You may decide to take your benefits as a weekly payment, or you may elect to negotiate a one-time settlement with the insurance company.
Potential Personal Injury Lawsuits for Workplace Injuries
There are very few circumstances in which warehouse workers can sue their employer in a personal injury case. The tradeoff for requiring an employer to purchase workers’ compensation coverage is that they are immune from personal injury lawsuits in almost all cases. However, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party because they are not your employer.
Your attorney will always review the facts of your case to determine whether someone else may be sued.
It is in your interest to file and win a negligence-based lawsuit because it could result in more financial compensation.
Potential third-party defendants may include:
- A third-party contractor working at the warehouse
- The owner of the warehouse (if it is not the employer)
- The maker of defective work equipment that caused the injury
If you are suing a product manufacturer, you would need to prove that the product itself was defective. If you are suing a third party, you must demonstrate that they were negligent, and it caused your injuries.
Even if you do not have the proof necessary to file a third-party lawsuit, you could still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
Why Hire Horton & Mendez for Your Warehouse Injury Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Our attorneys have a demonstrated record of success in high-stakes workers’ compensation cases.
Whether you are filing an initial claim in a complex workers’ compensation, or you are appealing a denial of your claim, we are here to fight for you. Our attorneys can assemble the evidence that you need to file a persuasive claim and negotiate a settlement on your behalf.
The workers’ compensation process can be difficult, especially when you are seriously injured and unable to work for a long time. The insurance company may make your life more difficult, or they could refuse to cover treatment that you need. When you have suffered a serious injury, it helps to have an advocate.
Contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you have been injured while working in a warehouse, the attorneys at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys can help. We understand the work conditions in warehouses and can assist you in overcoming some challenges that may be associated with your claim. You may need our counsel from the outset of the workers’ compensation claims process.