If your occupation involves any level of manual labor or interaction with heavy equipment, there is some risk of injury involved. For those who work in a warehouse, they face even more risks — and not always in the most obvious of ways. While this, undoubtedly, isn’t news to anyone with a warehouse job, it’s important to know how seriously the law takes your safety. Your employers are required to provide appropriate safety protection and training alongside reasonable hours and breaks. If they fail to do so and you end up hurt, you deserve compensation. If they do provide these precautions and an accident occurs anyway, you still have a way to receive financial coverage for your injuries by way of workers’ compensation.
Anything that creates an unsafe environment or an unnecessary risk, such as the Amazon robots that recently trapped a warehouse worker between shelves, could cause an accident that your employers are more liable for than they want you to know.
It may seem daunting, especially when all you want to do is rest, but severe injuries can quickly turn into lifelong expenses and complications. When you elect not to seek the compensation to which you’re entitled, you’re agreeing to pay for your own suffering.
Common warehouse injuries to be aware of
Depending on your individual role in your warehouse job, you could be at risk for a wide range of severe, life-altering injuries and accidents — if you survive them at all. While it’s not fun to think about, having an only theoretical understanding of the potential dangers around you is a recipe for disaster. The fact of the matter is that warehouse work fatalities are the highest they’ve been in 12 years. For those that did survive, 2020 alone saw over 213,000 warehouse-related injuries. These numbers are obscene considering the sheer amount of regulation and protocols warehouses should be following, but obviously are not, especially since things are only getting worse.
Worker fatigue and lack of improper training and equipment are the biggest causes of warehouse injuries, and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re exhausted and overworked, you’re likelier to make mistakes or react too slowly. If your equipment is faulty and your training is weak, that’s just another accident waiting to happen.
When these accidents do finally occur, the injuries one could sustain are vast and complicated. Overexertion and overuse injuries are the most common due to repetitive movement, and these painful tears, strains, and bone injuries can be excruciating and permanent. They are nothing to scoff at just because they don’t happen in a single, dramatic event. Aside from these, warehouse workers face risk of broken bones, torn limbs, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and shoulder injuries. Any one of these can take a person out of work for an incredibly long time while also raking up the medical debt to frightening levels, but depending on the accident, a victim may suffer multiple injuries at once.
Even if it was a genuine accident and not a result of gross OSHA negligence, those injured should not have to quite literally pay for a lifetime of painful injuries and complications. You do not have to point any fingers to receive compensation of some sort — but you should if someone is getting away with mistreating their workers in such a dangerous way.
Claiming Oklahoma workers’ compensation after a warehouse accident
You are eligible for workers’ compensation if you are injured on the job — any job — during the course of your normal duties. It’s a right. Almost every employer needs to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, and depending on the severity of your accident and injuries, you could be entitled to such benefits like coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical care, temporary wage loss, or even permanent disability based on your level of impairment and disability determination.
However, insurance is still insurance, whether it’s for worker’s comp or not. In other words, they do not want to pay you, no matter how much you’re entitled to it. Your employer does not want to pay and the insurance company does not want to pay, and both may try to do whatever it takes to prevent it from happening — or, at least, to minimize the payout. Profits are always, unfortunately, put above people.
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming you can’t fight a workers’ compensation denial, so you might as well roll with what they say. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as your accident happens is the best way to tip the chances of a fair payout in your favor, because your Oklahoma City lawyer can provide guidance even before you try to submit a claim. Having professional legal help each and every step means it’s that much harder for insurance companies to rip you off and leave you in the dust. If your claim works better as a personal injury case, that’s all the more reason to make sure someone trained in the law is on your side.
If you’ve been injured on the job in a warehouse, these are the steps you want to follow:
- Seek medical attention immediately, no matter how minor or severe your injuries. Having official, hospital documentation of your injuries is incredibly important. Not only that, but some major injuries do not present symptoms immediately, but could be caught and treated by a doctor if seen in time.
- Report the injury to your employer right away. You don’t have to assign blame or liability, but you must report the injury to receive compensation.
- Keep in contact with your employer to make sure they actually submit your workers’ compensation claim.
- Hire an attorney as soon as possible, and heed the advice they give you.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City workers’ compensation attorneys want to help when innocent, injured people get taken advantage of by greedy employers and insurance companies. We will fight tirelessly to make sure you do not join those ranks and can instead focus on adjusting to your new normal, whatever that may be. For answers to your questions and all the ways we can help, call us today at (405) 232-1212 or use our contact form.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More