Learn about the process for filing for workers’ compensation with Walmart
With over 32,000 employees working at Walmart stores across the state of Arizona, compensation for a work-related injury is a serious concern for many residents. As of 2019, the nationwide chain boasted 120 stores in the state. Phoenix has historically been one of the company’s largest test markets when rolling out new services.
Like any company, Walmart employees can get hurt at work and need to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you’ve been hurt on the job at Walmart, the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski has the experience and training to handle the most complex workers’ compensation claims and trials.
Common accidents and injuries at Walmart
Walmart employees perform many vital functions, including:
- Cashiers who work at checkouts and perform bagging
- Cart attendants who retrieve carts from parking lots and cart corrals
- Inventory receiving associates who mostly work in the stockroom
- Salesfloor associates who assist in their respective departments
- Stockers who replenish products on the shelves
Certain types of injuries are especially common among Walmart employees. Strains and sprains are among some of the most common injury types. Slipping on a slick surface is a common way these injuries might happen.
Back pain might result from unsafe lifting practices, or even falls, especially from heights. Examples include lifting boxes or other items that are too heavy without proper support. Stocking shelves often involves the use of ladders that might contribute to slip and falls or head injuries like concussions.
Cashiers or associates who do a lot of work on a register are susceptible to carpal tunnel syndrome or bursitis because of repetitive movements. In the busy environment of most Walmart locations, associates often have to complete tasks somewhat different from the ones they are trained to perform. Standing on hard surfaces for long periods also increases joint injury risk.
Walmart workers’ compensation claims also often include injuries such as dislocated shoulders, fractured hands and cracked ribs due to falls or problems with equipment. Torn ligaments and tendons are examples of soft-tissue injuries that may occur.
What benefits can injured Walmart workers receive?
In Arizona, workers’ compensation is required of all companies, regardless of whether their employees work full or part-time. Workers’ compensation benefits are not determined by fault, meaning compensation is usually payable regardless of who was responsible for the injury—as long as the injury occurred on the job.
If approved, injured workers can receive compensation for lost wages, medical coverage and permanent disability. You will be able to receive benefits if you are out of work for at least a week, and these benefits will last while your doctor is treating you. If you cannot resume working full-time, lost time benefits can continue.
How does Walmart handle job-related injury claims?
When it comes to workers’ compensation, Walmart is a self-insured employer. This means that the company does not use an outside insurance company for its workers’ compensation coverage. Walmart is notorious for denying valid claims.
Workers seeking compensation should expect a denial and possibly have to file an appeal to get Walmart to pay for their medical bills and lost wages.
In addition, Walmart’s light-duty policy sets the company apart from many of its competitors and offers a unique set of challenges for injured workers. The light-duty policy allows the company to provide an injured worker another job with fewer hours or less pay than the previous position for 30 to 90 days. However, some workers are so ill or injured that even a light-duty position would be too much of a burden. In these circumstances, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney.
Workers’ compensation claims must be filed within 1 year of the injury or illness. You must report all injuries to a supervisor as soon as possible and you must file a claim with the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). The insurer uses the claim to determine whether to approve or deny benefits.
Walmart will choose the doctor for the first medical visit related to the claim. You should be able to go to the doctor of your choice after this initial visit. Arizona law requires coverage for all necessary, reasonable treatment related to your illness or injury.
If you should reach a point where the doctor thinks your condition won’t improve, you might be determined permanently disabled. The disability percentage the doctor gives you, coupled with your earning capacity, work history, education and age will determine your compensation amount, up to a state-determined maximum monthly rate.
You can request a hearing within 90 days if you disagree with the compensation amount or you get a denied claim. The ICA offers a form for requesting a hearing, and requesting a hearing by letter is also possible. Hearings usually occur about 3 months after the request.
Questions and answers about compensation for a job-related accident, injury or illness in Arizona
When to consult an Arizona work injury attorney
When you have an attorney through all these steps, you may stand a chance of a better outcome. Every case is different, and the assortment of tasks that Walmart employees fulfill creates even more distinction among these cases. If you’ve been denied benefits or have otherwise encountered difficulties, it’s time to reach out to an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney.