What Walmart owes you if you’ve been injured on the job in one of its stores
Walmart is one of the biggest retail companies in the world, and it’s easy to see why—the company has over 4,740 stores in the United States alone. Walmart is also one of the biggest employers in North Carolina with more than 59,850 associates.
With almost 100,000 workers between the 2 Carolinas, it’s important to understand the company’s responsibility to protect its employees from injuries and the rights of injured workers.
In both North Carolina and South Carolina, Walmart is required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. While this is an asset to any employee who gets injured, it’s important to understand that getting benefits doesn’t just happen automatically.
Instead, you’ll be required to follow a specific set of steps to begin the process of notifying Walmart of your injuries and filing your claim. Understanding how Walmart workers’ comp cases work helps you to protect yourself in the event of an injury.
What are the most common injuries among Walmart employees?
Work-related injuries can range from minor inconveniences that can include simple cuts and scrapes to major health problems that limit your ability to continue working either permanently or for a period of weeks to months.
Walmart reportedly offers special training to its associates to make sure they know how to do tasks safely such as lifting heavy boxes the correct way to avoid injury. Walmart associates are also called upon to follow the protocols for their role and to report unsafe work conditions they encounter during the course of completing their duties.
The majority of injuries that lead to a Walmart workers’ compensation settlement are linked to employees being on their feet for long periods of time while handling products. Whether you serve in a warehouse or retail center position, you’ll want to be alert for these common injuries:
- Back strains
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee pain
Avoiding these common mistakes will help ensure a successful workers’ compensation claim.
What rights do injured workers have?
Workers’ compensation covers most Walmart employees who get hurt at work in North or South Carolina. The primary guidelines for who has a right to file a claim is that you must be employed and sustain the injury in the course of performing your duties.
In addition to having the right to file a claim, you also have the right to appeal a claim that gets denied. Making sure that your rights are upheld can get complicated due to the nature of how Walmart handles workers’ comp claims and the tendency for the typical employee to make mistakes along the way.
What to do if you get hurt working at Walmart?
Time is of the essence when you get hurt working at Walmart. You are required to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible, and you’ll want to document this by putting your notice in writing and filling out a Walmart employee accident report.
In North Carolina, you have 30 days to report your injury. However, reporting your injury as soon as you are able to do so means that you can start the process of processing your claim faster. In South Carolina, you have up to 90 days, but the sooner you report your injury to your employer, the better.
In either state, you have 2 years to file your claim for workers’ compensation. In North Carolina, this is done by submitting Form 18 to the North Carolina Industrial Commission. In South Carolina, this is done by submitting Form 50 to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
However, the nature of your injuries could extend the timeline. Some injuries take time to fully develop. For instance, repetitive stress injuries could worsen over time.
You may still be able to file your claim if you discover the full extent of your injury beyond the 2-year mark. With this in mind, you’ll still want to remember that having a diagnosis for an occupational injury on a specific date could start the clock.
Once your claim is processed, you’ll typically be offered a settlement. The amount of money that you receive for your injuries depends upon the severity of your health condition, how much time you lost from work and whether or not you can expect a full recovery.
Some employees receive partial benefits that help to cover a portion of the financial damage that occurred after an injury. Others may receive ongoing benefits that cover long-term health care or coverage for catastrophic injuries.
Learn about the 4 types of workers’ comp benefits available to injured workers at Walmart.
What should Walmart employees know about their rights?
Walmart is a massive company with seemingly endless resources, making it well-equipped to defend itself against workers’ injury claims. It operates as a self-insured entity for its workers’ compensation needs. This just means that instead of purchasing an insurance policy to cover the claim, Walmart is the one paying the benefits.
Regardless of how the claim is administered or paid out, the process for starting the claim remains the same. The injured worker must both report the claim in writing to their employer and file the claim with their state Industrial Commission.
The same deadlines apply for all claims, regardless of how the employer is funding the claim, whether through their own funds or through an insurance policy. A large employer, such as Walmart, is not allowed to determine their own deadlines or procedures for the administration of workers’ compensation claims.
Who’s Walmart’s insurance company?
To manage the complexities of claims processing, Walmart employs Claims Management Inc. (CMI), a third-party organization. A CMI claims adjuster is tasked with handling all of Walmart’s claims, including those related to work-related injuries. Their role involves assessing the validity of claims, overseeing the payout process, and ensuring that both the employee’s and employer’s interests are adequately represented.
This arrangement allows Walmart to have greater control over its workers’ compensation program while benefiting from the specialized expertise that CMI offers in claims management.
Although it’s a separate company, because Claims Management, Inc. serves as Walmart’s insurance adjuster, you should be aware that any information or inconsistencies you provide could be used against you to deny your claim. So, your best bet for a successful claim is to reach out to an attorney before you make any statements to anyone other than your medical doctor.
How does Walmart being self-insured affect injured workers?
The self-insured status of Walmart does not fundamentally change the rights of workers who are injured on the job. Employees are still entitled to file workers’ compensation claims and receive benefits such as medical care, wage loss payments, and rehabilitation services, as per state and federal laws.
However, workers need to be aware that CMI is acting in the interest of Walmart, which means part of its job is to minimize the cost of claims. As a result, it’s advisable for injured workers to consult with an experienced work injury attorney before agreeing to any settlement offer to ensure they’re getting the compensation they deserve.
What can I do if Walmart denies my workers’ comp claim?
Just like all other employees in North and South Carolina, Walmart employees are entitled to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim. The same rules apply in a denied claim when the employer is self-insured.
Injured workers need to file Form 33 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission or Form 30 with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to request a hearing and begin the appeal process.
To increase your chance of success, it’s highly recommended that you seek out the help of an experienced work injury attorney to help you navigate the process.
Can Walmart fire me for an injury?
No, employers in the U.S., including Walmart, are prohibited from retaliating against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Termination solely because you were injured and filed a claim is usually considered retaliatory and could give you grounds for legal action.
If you feel you’ve been unjustly terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim, you should consult with an attorney who can explain your rights and legal options.
Were you injured while working at Walmart? Get help from a skilled North Carolina work injury attorney.
As a Walmart employee, you may enjoy perks like job security by working for a major company, but you should understand that your employer is financially motivated to protect itself in the event of an injury claim.
Make sure that you have someone on your side as you begin the process of filing a claim. A competent lawyer knows how to help you hit each important deadline and provide documentation of your injuries and the truth behind how they occurred.