Understand your right to workers’ comp benefits if you’re injured working at a Phoenix grocery store
Fry’s Food Stores and WinCo Foods are 2 prominent grocery store chains with a significant presence in Arizona.Fry’s Food Stores, a member of the Kroger family of supermarkets, has been serving the Arizona community for many years and has 14 locations throughout the state, from Phoenix to Tucson and beyond. Likewise, WinCo Foods, an employee-owned company known for its competitive prices, has been gradually expanding its footprint in Arizona as well, now with 7 stores for shoppers to choose from.
Both Fry’s and WinCo have become integral parts of the Arizona community, providing residents with a wide range of affordable groceries and workers with well-paying jobs and opportunities for advancement.
But these fast-paced environments also leave workers susceptible to injuries. Fortunately, Arizona has a system in place to help injured or ill workers through workers’ compensation.
This article will help you understand your rights if you’re injured working at Fry’s, WinCo or any other Phoenix-area grocery store.
Common accidents and injuries among grocery store workers
Grocery store employees are susceptible to all kinds of injuries during the course of their routine job duties. Here are some common types of accidents that can occur in grocery stores, along with the types of injuries they may cause:
- Slip-and-fall accidents. Often due to wet floors, spilled liquids or obstacles, these incidents can lead to sprains, strains, broken bones and head injuries.
- Falling objects. Improperly stacked items can fall from shelves, causing bruises, contusions, fractures and potentially severe head injuries.
- Shopping cart accidents. Collisions or faulty carts can result in bruises, contusions and soft tissue injuries.
- Cuts and abrasions. Sharp edges on cans, broken glass jars or shelves can cause cuts, lacerations, and sometimes even chemical exposure if the broken item contains a hazardous substance.
- Burns or electrocution. Faulty freezers, hot food counters or exposed wiring can result in burns or electric shocks, potentially causing skin damage or more severe internal injuries.
- Heavy lifting. Constantly lifting and shelving heavy merchandise can lead to soft tissue injuries like muscle and tendon sprains and strains in the back and shoulders.
- Repetitive activities. Constant repetitive motions, such as lifting heavy items or scanning groceries, can lead to repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
- Violence from customers. Verbal or physical assaults from customers can result in psychological trauma, bruises or more serious injuries, depending on the severity of the attack.
It’s important to know that as long as an injury, illness or disease is the direct result of your job or job duties, you may be entitled to Arizona workers’ compensation benefits.
If your job makes you sick, find out what will be covered by workers’ compensation (and what won’t).
Injured worker rights in Arizona
The Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) is responsible for regulating and enforcing Arizona’s workers’ compensation law.
One important thing that all Arizona workers should be aware of is that the state uses a “no-fault” system, which means that compensation and medical care are available regardless of who caused the accident or illness—even if you caused it yourself.
The benefits that workers might receive include the following:
- Medical benefits that cover all necessary medical expenses, including appointments, surgeries, medication and rehabilitation.
- Wage loss benefits that cover two-thirds of a worker’s average weekly wage while they recover.
- Death benefits for family members if a worker dies from an on-the-job injury or illness.
Injured workers are generally not permitted to sue their employers in Arizona, except under a limited set of circumstances. The workers’ compensation process is the standard means of ensuring that injured workers receive the help that they need.
Workers pursuing a claim do have the right to:
- Receive medical care following their injury or illness
- Request a hearing if their compensation claim is denied
- Protest the accuracy of any compensation received within 90 days
- Reopen a closed claim upon discovery of a worsened condition
- Retain an attorney to help handle their case
Injured workers need to understand their rights so they’re better prepared as they go through the compensation process. Overlooking even one of these essential rights can have a major impact on the outcome of a case.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
How to file a workers’ comp claim in Arizona
Prompt medical treatment is essential for ensuring workers’ compensation benefits after an accident or sickness related to work. See a doctor as soon as possible so they can document your injury, which makes it easier to tie it to your work accident.
Also, be sure to follow the doctor’s treatment plan very carefully. Otherwise, your employer may have grounds to deny your claim. Workers should document as much evidence about the incident as possible because any supporting evidence can help make a stronger case.
Next, you should notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible, and preferably in writing. Your employer is then required to notify the Industrial Commission of Arizona and their workers’ comp insurer of your injury within 10 days.
Within 1 year of your injury, you’ll also need to submit the necessary forms, including the Worker’s Report of Injury form and the Worker’s and Physician’s Report of Injury (obtained from your doctor).
In most cases, workers seeking compensation can expect a decision within 3 weeks. The decision can be appealed, if denied, within 90 days.
While you can undergo this process on your own, it’s best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
Contact an experienced Phoenix work injury attorney
If you were hurt on the job, a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation cases in Arizona can help you avoid unnecessary pitfalls to get the compensation you deserve.
At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, we can negotiate with your employer’s insurance company to ensure you get maximum workers’ comp benefits after an injury, just like we’ve done for our other clients over the past 45 years.
Reach out to the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski today for your free consultation, and let’s get started on your case right away.