Filing for workers’ compensation when you’ve been hurt at Walmart
Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States and one of the biggest employers in Montana, as in many other states. There are about 4,970 part- and full-time Walmart employees employed in Big Sky Country alone.
From Bozeman to Billings to Missoula to Great Falls, the 14 Walmart Supercenter locations across the state have positions that include:
- Salesfloor associates
- Inventory receivers
- Cart attendants
Most Walmart employees are eligible for workers’ compensation in Montana, but it’s important to understand your rights when filing a claim so that you secure the maximum benefits you are owed.
What injuries do Walmart workers in Montana face?
Regardless of their position, Walmart employees spend a lot of time on their feet while often doing a lot of lifting and product handling.
Strains and sprains are common injuries that may come about from lifting or moving products. Stocking shelves and unloading trucks may lead to strains, while sprains may be common on a wet floor, particularly on snowy or rainy days with a lot of foot traffic.
Back pain from a fall or heavy lifting is another common complaint among retail workers. Cashiers are at somewhat of a high risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome because of the repetitive movements involved.
The fast-paced working environment in a Walmart store often involves employees performing tasks unrelated to their usual positions, which increases the injury risk. When workers stand on hard surfaces for extended times, lift heavy items or make a lot of repetitive movements, they increase their risks for:
- Back and neck pain
- Joint pain
What rights do injured Montana workers have?
Injured workers have the right to apply for benefits that include:
- Lost wages
- Medical care
- Temporary or permanent disability benefits on a full or partial basis
- Death benefits for any surviving dependents
Unfortunately, Walmart employees hurt on the job cannot file suit for pain and suffering because these are beyond the scope of a workers’ compensation case.
If the insurance company denies your claim, you have the right to file an appeal within the statute of limitations. Because the appeals process can be somewhat complex, you might benefit from a lawyer’s assistance.
What to do after getting hurt while on the job at Walmart
Montana workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. One of the advantages of this type of system is that you don’t need to prove that your employer was responsible.
A work-related injury must occur within the course or scope of your job. If the injury occurs within the scope of your work, even if the location was not your usual workplace, it is still compensable.
An occupational disease is a condition with symptoms occurring over more than 1 shift. Exposure to certain chemicals is 1 common cause of occupational diseases.
You need to file the claim yourself when you are hurt at work. The only way spouses or dependents may file is in the event of a fatality to get burial and death benefits.
You must report any injuries within 30 days of their occurrence to your manager or HR. In the case of occupational illnesses, you may report the illness up to 1 year after you knew or should have known about the disease.
You need to submit a written and signed First Report of Injury form within 12 months of the incident or occurrence. You may submit the FROI to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, your company’s insurer or your employer. The insurance company can accept or deny your claim up to 30 days after receiving the form.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible after your injury. You may choose your treating physician, which is helpful if there is a doctor you prefer to see about the injury. The doctor you see will become your treating physician if willing, so you want to make this choice carefully.
If your workers’ compensation claim results in denial, read the denial letter carefully to see the reason for the rejection. In some cases, you might get an explanation without going through an appeal. Denials can occur for circumstances as varied as insufficient information or an incorrectly completed form.
Why you should consult a Montana workers’ compensation claim
In many workers’ comp cases, denials happen for reasons other than a lack of information or technicalities. Getting in touch with a Montana workers’ compensation attorney is a good idea to help you go through the process, especially when going up against a massive corporation like Walmart that has bottomless resources at its disposal to dispute or fight your claim.