Warehouse Employee Injuries
Warehouse employees do work that includes labeling, inventory management, breaking bulk materials, assembly, packaging orders, loading trucks and shipments and making transportation arrangements. There were more than 340,000 workers filling these positions in 2012, providing an important supply chain management service that keeps goods and products moving throughout the U.S.
Unfortunately, warehouse employees take some serious risks when they go to work every day to perform these essential tasks. Getting hurt on the job or even killed while working in a warehouse is a very real possibility. If this happens to you or to a family member, the losses can be devastating.
If you are badly injured or a family member has been killed, it is important to realize that North Carolina law protects warehouse workers who get hurt on the job. You may have several options for obtaining benefits and compensation after an injury.
A work injury lawyer from Hardison & Cochran can help you to understand your legal rights, choose the best course of action and get the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney from our firm, call us today at (800) 434-8399 or complete our online form today. We’ll respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.
Warehouse Industry Risks
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 16 fatalities in 2011 in the warehouse industry. There were also 5.5 workplace injuries recorded for every 100 full-time workers. These injuries and fatalities had many different causes.
An article entitled, “Warehousing: The Safety Zone,” highlights some of the biggest risks faced by warehouse workers, which include:
- Forklift accidents – Forklifts are powered industrial trucks routinely used in warehouses to move, remove, raise or lower objects. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that forklifts can be controlled by walking operators or ridden by operators. Unfortunately, accidents involving both types of forklifts are a top cause of workplace injuries and deaths. One of the most common causes of forklift-related deaths is the forklift overturning and crushing workers. However, forklifts can also cause injury during loading and unloading. Workers can also be run over by a lift, fall between the lift and a trailer or fall while on an elevated pallet.
- Overexertion injuries – Putting too much stress on the body is a major cause of warehouse injuries. Injuries often occur when a worker tries to lift too much. The back and shoulders are most likely to be hurt when a worker overexerts himself, but other body parts can be affected as well. Pushing, pulling, carrying and lowering are also causes of overexertion injuries along with lifting.
- Truck accidents – While many warehouses contract with outside trucking companies, others provide transportation services. Warehouse employees operating trucks are in danger of becoming involved in accidents while moving materials from one place to another.
- Being hit by objects – Workers who are hit by industrial lift trucks or handling equipment are often at risk of very serious injuries or even death. Workers can be hit not just by handling equipment but also by falling loads or shifting inventory.
- Loading dock injuries – Loading docks can be the most hazardous area in warehouses. Workers can fall off docks, be crushed while loading or unloading, be hit by trucks or vehicles that come too close or hurt themselves while in the process of moving materials from the dock to the truck for shipment.
- Fall injuries – Slippery or wet areas are common on the floors of many warehouses. There are often dissimilar flooring surfaces or uneven floors. The accumulation of debris, empty containers, pallets or even excess inventory can also create tripping hazards. The poor lighting in many warehouses can make it difficult for employees to avoid obstacles. All of these factors result in many warehouse workers falling on the same level. Workers can also fall off ladders, loading docks and other elevated areas.
All of these different injuries can happen in any warehouse and to any worker. Unfortunately, these injuries can be fatal or cause lasting harm that puts an end to the labor-intensive and physically demanding career of a warehouse worker.
Your Options After a Warehouse Injury
Every warehouse worker has the right to a safe workplace and should be able to count on going to work and coming home again at the end of the day. Unfortunately, the job of a warehouse worker is a dangerous one, and injuries are a frequent reality.
North Carolina law allows several options for warehouse workers who get hurt on the job to obtain benefits or compensation, including:
- Workers’ compensation benefits – Workers’ compensation is a strict liability and exclusive remedy system in North Carolina. This means that you must make a work-injury claim against your employer only through workers’ compensation because the exclusive remedy rules say that you cannot file a lawsuit against an employer. The fact that workers’ compensation claims are strict liability claims is beneficial to you since the law also says that you have no obligation to prove your employer did anything wrong or contributed to your injury in any way. In other words, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for any work injury regardless of what your employer has done. The job of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Hardison & Cochran is to make sure you get all of the benefits that you deserve, including medical benefits, temporary or permanent disability benefits or death benefits if you have lost a family member to a warehouse accident.
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit –The exclusive remedy rules say you can’t sue your employer, but you could potentially sue a third party if someone else was to blame for your work accident. A personal injury lawsuit allows you to seek monetary compensation that is not available through workers’ compensation, such as payment of damages for pain and suffering or for loss of companionship if your loved one was killed.
If you wish to make a personal injury claim, you’ll need to show that someone did something negligent, careless or wrongful in a way that led to your injury. For example, if a forklift company released a dangerous or defective forklift on the market, that company could be held accountable.
Our Attorneys Help Injured Warehouse Employees
At Hardison & Cochran, our work injury lawyers understand just how devastating it is to get hurt at work and to worry about your medical bills and financial future.
Our goal is to use our legal knowledge and experience to do everything possible to advocate for you and seek the maximum compensation for you and your family.
To learn more about how we can help with your work injury claim, give us a call today at (800) 434-8399 or contact us online.