Warehouse and factory work injuries are very common. Some may include injuries while working on an assembly line or conveyer belt, back injuries from picking up and lifting heavy boxes or other materials, machine-press accidents, shoulder and knee repetitive trauma injuries, forklift accidents, accidents on loading docks, crushing injuries on hands, feet and other parts of the body, collapsing of heavy, stacked items, falling boxes and more.
Types of Claims:
Normally, when a worker suffers an on-the-job injury, he or she is eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if the accident is the result of faulty equipment or another party, a civil injury claim may also be filed. An attorney can help an injured worker determine if a personal injury claim should be filed in addition to the workers’ compensation claim.
After the Injury:
After an injury, an employee should report the injury to the employer as soon as possible. The employer will provide medical treatment for the injured worker. All injured employees can choose from the employer’s group of preferred providers or another physician that the employer recommends. The injured worker is allowed to change doctors one time only without the approval of the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Collecting Benefits While Unable to Work:
An injured worker can collect temporary total disability benefits (TTD), which is two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage. If the employee is able to work part-time at his or her usual job, or if the injured worker can work at a light-duty position at a lesser rate of pay than his or her pre-injury wages, the injured worker may be eligible to receive temporary partial benefits at two-thirds of the difference between his pre-accident and light-duty wages.
If an injured worker is found by his or her treating physician to be unable to go back to his or her regular job and the employer has no alternate job to offer, the injured worker will be able to receive vocational rehabilitation services. This would include job counseling, employment searches, assistance from a rehabilitation counselor and retraining for a new job, if necessary.
The employer is required to pay maintenance benefits and all costs and expenses related to the vocational rehabilitation program. Maintenance benefits will not amount to less than temporary disability benefits.
Permanent Disability Benefits:
Warehouse and factory work injuries often leave an injured worker permanently disabled. This makes the worker eligible for permanent disability benefits based on the level of disability arising from the injuries.
Settlement or Trial:
An employee with warehouse and factory work injuries will usually be offered a settlement in an amount that is based on the level of permanent disability the employee has sustained.
If the employee decides not to accept the settlement offer, his or her attorney will try the case before a workers’ compensation judge. If the judge rules in favor of the worker, he or she will be paid a monthly benefit based on the total dollar amount of the award.