Amazon, just like other companies, is responsible to create safe working conditions and work environments for their employees. Even with safety protocols in place, on-the-job accidents and injuries are still bound to happen. When they do, Amazon is bound to cover workplace injuries through its workers’ compensation insurance.
However, Amazon has become notorious for making it rather difficult for Amazon employees to file and submit workers’ compensation claims. Amazon generally attempts to downplay the seriousness of work accidents and injuries.
They have been known to not keep a record of accident reports, even after Amazon workers have followed the proper company procedures and reported their injuries and accidents to a supervisor or manager. There have been accounts from injured employees of retaliation by Amazon for seeking medical care for their injury claims.
The Potential Dangers of Working for Amazon
The vast majority of employees at Amazon are warehouse workers who work in Amazon fulfillment centers across the country. These workers often do repetitive tasks like bending, lifting, and packaging products for shipments.
Other employees may be responsible for unloading goods and placing them in the warehouse. Then there are more employees who sort and load packages onto Amazon trucks to be delivered to customers.
As you can imagine, all of this activity and movement in a warehouse environment can pose certain dangers, such as back injuries, falling objects, neck injuries, hand injuries, and leg injuries. Not to mention, there are risks of employees accidentally being run over by forklifts and other warehouse equipment injuries.
This is not to say that Amazon does not take the time to train their employees on job safety and how to perform their jobs correctly to reduce the risk of injuries. Yet, Amazon also places quotas on their employees to pick, pull, scan, or process a specific number of items during their scheduled shift.
It is having these quotas that often causes employees to disregard safety protocols to meet their quotas out of fear of losing their jobs if they do not.
How Does Amazon Make Filing Workers’ Comp Claims Difficult?
Seeking medical care immediately following an injury while on the job is critical for workers’ comp claims. Yet, Amazon makes it difficult for employees to do so. They have been known to require employees to finish their scheduled shifts before they can leave to seek medical care.
By delaying when an employee obtains medical care for their injuries, they can downplay the seriousness of those injuries. They can take the stance that if the injuries were so serious, why did the employee wait to seek treatment until after their shift or even the next day?
They also drag out the process of filing workers’ compensation claim forms. Even though Amazon has a responsibility to adhere to worker compensation laws, they have been known to deliberately take their time, in hopes that employees will either drop their claims or quit their jobs.
Amazon will even send employees to its AmCare clinics, often found onsite at its warehouse locations, when employees complain of an injury. The clinics will treat the immediate injuries but do not encourage employees to file workers’ compensation claims. In many cases, they send the employees back to work after being treated, which potentially could lead to further on-the-job injuries.
The Hazards of Working at Amazon Are Not New
Back in 2018, the National Council for Occupational Health and Safety released their dirty dozen list of the employers that put employees at risk from unsafe work practices. Amazon was rated number one on that list.1
Since that time, further details about the increase in injuries at its facilities have become better known. So much so that Washington state, where Amazon has its world headquarters, is facing higher workers’ compensation insurance rates.
What Should You Do if You Are Injured and Work for Amazon?
Amazon cannot circumvent worker compensation laws. You have a right to seek medical care and treatment following an injury. If need be, go see a doctor or go to the hospital. Make sure to document everything and take pictures if possible.
You also need to report the injury to your supervisor or manager. Remember to document when you do this too. If Amazon gives you the run-around or tells you that you must have your injuries treated through their AmCare clinic or just to avoid the hassles entirely, contact a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately.
What if I Work for Amazon in Texas?
In Texas, Amazon has claimed to be a non-subscriber, which means it does not have to provide workers’ compensation for its employees. However, Amazon can still be held accountable for certain types of workplace injuries even though it claims non-subscriber status.
To file a claim against Amazon in Texas, you do need to get assistance from a law firm with expertise in non-subscriber compensation claims.
Whether you work for Amazon in Texas or elsewhere in the United States, and you are injured on the job, you are entitled to have your medical expenses paid for and are entitled to recover lost wages. You may be entitled to other monetary compensation, depending on the circumstances of your injuries.
For assistance in filing a workers’ compensation claim against Amazon, please feel free to contact the workers’ compensation lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P. for a free consultation by calling 716-364-0723 today!