Most of Amazon’s workforce is concentrated in its e-commerce business. Its workers number more than 1.1 million across the United States.
Amazon shopping is done exclusively online. Its physical infrastructure is comprised of warehouse, distribution and delivery facilities. Most of the workforce is employed in those facilities, and that’s where worker injuries often occur.
The statistics on Amazon’s workplace injuries are not good, and they’ve recently prompted some negative publicity.
- In 2021, Amazon warehouse workers had twice the rate of serious injuries as other warehouse companies.
- For every 100 Amazon warehouse workers, there were 6.8 serious injuries compared to 3.3 in other warehouse companies.
- In 2021, Amazon employed 33 percent of U.S. warehouse workers, yet they accounted for 49 percent of all injuries in the industry.
Common Amazon worker injuries
The most common Amazon worker injuries occur in the warehouse, distribution and fulfillment facilities. Dock workers are particularly vulnerable to unsafe workplace conditions and injuries, including:
- Overexertion injuries like muscle strains and sprains
- Knee injuries from repetitive movements such as lifting and carrying heavy objects, which places strain on the knee joints over time
- Slip- or trip-and-fall accidents from wet or cluttered floors resulting in broken bones and head injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back and shoulder injuries from lifting, carrying and transporting heavy boxes
- Crush injuries from falling loads or getting stuck between equipment
- Hernias from lifting heavy boxes
Alabama workers’ compensation system
Alabama employers with 5 or more full- or part-time employees are required to provide worker’s compensation benefits to their employees. Most employers comply by obtaining worker’s compensation insurance. An employer who fails to provide the required coverage is subject to severe civil and criminal penalties.
If you’re injured on the job at one of Amazon’s Alabama facilities, you’re entitled to the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Payment of the costs for your hospitalization, medical, surgical, and chiropractic treatment, medications, and medical and surgical supplies.
- Payment of physician costs—but only to a doctor selected by Amazon. If you’re not happy with the Amazon-selected doctor, you’re entitled to choose another from a list of physicians selected by Amazon. You must follow the doctor’s instructions to preserve your benefits.
- Up to $6,500 for your burial expenses if you die from your injuries.
- Weekly payments to replace your lost wages during your recovery from your injuries. Your weekly payment will be two-thirds of your average weekly earnings multiplied by a given number of weeks, depending on the definition of your disability.
- Death—500 weeks
- Permanent disability—Unlimited
- Permanent partial disability—300 weeks
- Temporary total disability—Unlimited
- Temporary partial disability—300 weeks
What should I do if I get injured while working at Amazon?
It’s important to understand that Alabama has a statute of limitations that limits the time you have to file a workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp lawsuits must be filed with the proper court within 2 years after the accident. If weekly payments have already started, the complaint must be filed within 2 years after the last payment.
Before you get to the lawsuit stage, you must carefully follow the proper procedure for filing a claim for benefits and comply with Amazon’s rules and procedures to protect your claim. Accordingly, you should contact a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.
If you’re injured on the job at Amazon, you should immediately (within 5 days) inform your supervisor. While reporting your injury to your supervisor, ask them to identify the Amazon-approved doctor who can examine your injury. Your employer will then need to complete and file WCC Form 2, known as the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Occupational Disease form.
It’s always a good idea to consult an experienced workers’ comp lawyer as early on in the process as possible because even small mistakes can compromise your benefit claim.
If Amazon denies your claim, you can apply immediately to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Division. You should do so only with the assistance of counsel who will represent you before the division or in a trial in court if necessary.
Workers’ compensation benefits do not include some compensatory and punitive damages that are available in other personal injury cases (like pain and suffering damages). This is the trade-off for a no-fault system.
However, it’s possible that a 3rd party (other than Amazon) might be negligently responsible for your injury. For example, a manufacturer of defective dock or warehouse equipment could be liable for your injuries if that equipment malfunctioned.
You’re not prevented by Alabama workers’ comp law from making a claim against a 3rd party. However, you can’t “double-dip” for the same injury. This means that any compensation you get from a 3rd party will be offset against your workers’ compensation award.
Also, Alabama has a wrongful death statute that provides that a deceased worker’s personal representative can sue for damages on behalf of the deceased’s surviving family.
You should ask your workers’ compensation lawyer about potential claims you might have outside of Alabama workers’ compensation law.
When to hire an Alabama workers’ comp attorney
Employers don’t like to pay out benefits because doing so often leads to increased insurance premiums. Because of this, employers are motivated to deny claims, and they hire legal teams to mitigate their losses. Amazon is no different, and its history of denying claims reflects this policy.
Unfortunately, valid claims are denied every day. In order to ensure you don’t miss your chance to be compensated, you should consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.
If you’ve been injured while working for Amazon in Alabama, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Nomberg Law Firm. We can negotiate with Amazon and their insurance company on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injury. Contact us today, and let us devise an individualized plan for you.
About Nomberg Law Firm
Nomberg Law Firm has been helping people in Alabama recover fair compensation for their injuries since 1967. We know our clients are hard-working men and women who deserve the best representation possible.
We understand how hard it can be to pay your bills and get back on your feet while trying to recover from a serious injury. That’s why we dedicate our entire practice to fighting for your rights and obtaining maximum financial compensation.
The sheer number of clients at larger law firms means you’re one of many. As a small, family-owned injury law firm, we can focus on your needs, provide individualized assistance, and offer you one-on-one attention that larger firms simply cannot match.
Get the legal support you need to recover and move forward with your life.