“Help! I was hurt working for Amazon.”
Our Georgia workers’ compensation attorneys can explain your rights if you or a loved one were hurt while working in a warehouse or fulfillment center.
Amazon’s slogan is “Work Hard. Have Fun.”
But getting hurt while hard at work is no fun at all. And it’s certainly not fun when you feel like it’s just you against a billion-dollar company that doesn’t seem to care about you and your family.
Sadly, many hardworking Amazon employees find that their employer doesn’t actually have their backs when they get injured or become ill due to their job. Amazon warehouses, referred to by the company as “fulfillment centers,” don’t just churn out inventory — these chaotic and stressful workplaces also churn out workplace injuries.
In Georgia, workers’ compensation law says that any employer with 3 or more part-time, full-time or seasonal employees must have no-fault workers’ compensation insurance to reimburse injured workers for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses caused by a work-related injury or illness. Unfortunately, massive companies like Amazon often think they’re above the law and don’t feel responsible for offering safe working conditions for their employees.
Whether you were injured while working for Amazon as a warehouse sorter, fulfillment associate, warehouse technician, operator, order picker/packer, supervisor or another team member, it’s essential that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities regarding your workers’ compensation benefits.
At Gerber & Holder Law, we will work hard for you by standing up to corporate giants like Amazon. If your claim is being denied or you’ve been given an unreasonably low settlement offer, don’t hesitate to contact our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your work-related injury claim. With over 75 years of combined experience, we’ve helped thousands of injured workers get the compensation they deserve.
We have handled many cases involving Amazon throughout the years. Often, these injuries are caused when supervisors and managers place unrealistic demands and quotas on the worker. This pressure results in a spike in injuries caused by repetitive stress and unsafe working conditions.Attorney Ben Gerber
Don’t take your employer at their word if they say your workplace injury isn’t covered.
Contact us today for your free consultation.
What to do after an Amazon warehouse injury
Whether you just started working for Amazon or you’re a long-time “Amazonian,” it’s important to understand your rights as an employee in Georgia. It’s also important for you to know that Amazon’s onsite medical clinics may not provide adequate care if you are moderately or severely hurt while on the job. Generally, Amazon doesn’t employ doctors — only certified EMTs.
Follow these steps if you are hurt while working at an Amazon fulfillment center:
1. Get medical attention
First and foremost, if you have been seriously injured, you should get yourself checked out by a doctor. If the injury is severe, go straight to the nearest hospital.
2. Notify your employer
As soon as you can, notify your superior, manager or someone from HR that you’ve been hurt and want to begin the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. This step of informing your supervisor in writing is an important one because any delays could impact your ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
3. Attend follow-up treatment
Amazon may have specific doctors — either on staff or contracted out — to review your injury. If so, you should visit that doctor for evaluation and treatment. Even if you’ve already seen your own doctor, Amazon’s workers’ compensation insurance company will likely insist that you treat your injury with a company-approved physician.
4. Consult an attorney
Before you agree to a settlement or sign any documents, we strongly recommend you speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer near you. Countless reports and news stories have shown that Amazon puts profits over people. Make no mistake that they will do everything they can to limit how much they owe you.
For instance, Amazon may try to tempt you to settle early by offering a quick cash offer. The problem is that this low-ball offer will likely fail to fully cover your future medical costs. Once you accept an offer, your chance of receiving additional compensation is over. The best thing you can do is consult with a knowledgeable attorney before accepting an offer.
5. Gather evidence and documentation
In Georgia, you don’t have to prove that anyone was at fault for your workplace injury in order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This is because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. However, it’s a good idea to gather some evidence to show that your injury actually happened while you were working and it wasn’t caused by a preexisting condition.
All medical bills and paperwork, as well as any communications with your employer or the insurance company, should be kept and given to your attorney. Having any shred of evidence that your injury occurred while you were on the job is critical because a primary way workers’ comp claims are rejected by insurers is that they are not convinced your injury happened while you were at work. Previous doctor’s appointments where the injury was discussed can also help support your claim. There also might be witnesses who saw your accident. Take down their statements as to what they saw.
Amazon warehouse work is one of the most dangerous occupations
Both in 2018 and 2019, Amazon was listed on the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s “Dirty Dozen” report — a list that highlights which companies continue to put its workers and American communities in danger due to unsafe working conditions.
A company as large as Amazon, which employs more than 750,000 people, is bound to have work injuries and illnesses. But experts say Amazon often fails to provide a safe workplace and has made little effort to address worker complaints about stress, overwork and other conditions.
According to the National COSH Dirty Dozen 2019 report, Amazon has experienced 13 worker deaths since 2013, and 6 worker deaths within the span of 7 months between November 2018 and April 2019.
Workers frequently report unsafe and unsanitary conditions while trying to fulfill orders, including conditions where some workers are forced to urinate in bottles.
In December 2019, The Atlantic and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting collaborated on a story where reporters accessed internal injury records from 1 in 5 Amazon fulfillment centers. These records revealed that the rate of serious injuries was on average 2 times higher than the national average for the warehousing industry.
Reporters uncovered that one warehouse in Eastvale, California had an injury rate that was 4 times higher than the national average. This same warehouse hit a coveted milestone when they reportedly shipped 1 million packages in a 24-hour period over the 2017 holiday season. This achievement was only possible because warehouse workers were held to strict quotas, so breaking safety rules and risking injury is common because employees don’t want to be written up or fired.
This dangerous workplace culture is one of the many reasons why Amazon warehouse injuries are so common. Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys have written about the dangers workers face at Amazon warehouses (aka “injury mills“) before, and we strive to offer the best representation for injured Amazon employees in Georgia following their serious workplace injury.
What benefits are available to injured Amazon employees?
If you or a loved one were injured while working at an Amazon fulfillment center or warehouse, you should know that Georgia’s workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning you don’t have to prove someone was at fault for your injury in order to receive benefits. In addition, you are still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were partially or fully responsible for the accident. So long as the injury or illness is work-related, you typically qualify for compensation.
Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys can help you secure medical and indemnity benefits. You may even qualify for disability benefits and further rehabilitation or medical coverage. We will fight to make sure you get the compensation you’re owed, including reimbursement for:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation and training
- Funeral and burial expenses (for fatal work accidents)
Common causes of Amazon fulfillment center injuries
Amazon warehouse employees sometimes compete against one another to see who can fulfill an order the fastest, and these competitions are encouraged by management. These competitions, when combined with dangerous working conditions and overworked employees, can lead to workplace accidents. Many Amazon warehouse employees walk more than 10 miles per day attempting to fulfill orders, and they often push themselves to a breaking point.
Everyday dangerous tasks that commonly cause on-the-job injuries include:
- Driving and working around forklifts
- Lifting heavy items
- Climbing high ladders to access items
- Working around conveyor belts
- Repetitive lifting and repetitive motions
- Order sorting and packaging orders
- Working with pallets and pallet jacks
- Unpacking and stocking products
- Driving and making deliveries
In 2019, U.S. legislators asked OSHA to look into work conditions at Amazon’s fulfillment center warehouses. The action came on the heels of a work stoppage in the summer of 2019 during Amazon’s “Prime Days” when employees walked out to protest unsafe working conditions.
Amazon responded by saying that it spent $55 million to improve worker safety in 2018-2019. But in a letter to legislators, Amazon employees highlighted the demands placed on them to do their jobs successfully, which sometimes means walking more than 10 miles per shift to fulfill orders, being allowed only minimal rest periods and repeatedly lifting heavy loads.
Amazon history, facts and statistics
For a mega e-commerce company with an estimated 750,000 employees that has been called “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world,” Amazon sure started out small. Founder Jeff Bezos, who was helped by his wife, launched the company in 1994 from his garage. Within a decade, Bezos built a simple online retailer and turned it into a fledgling empire.
How big of an empire? According to publically available data, Amazon made the following dollar amounts in revenue in 2019:
- $4,700 per second
- $280,000 per minute
- $17,000,000 per hour
- $230,000,000,000 (that’s billion) per year
In 2019, Amazon sold a whopping 175 million items during Prime Day, making that event more profitable for the company than all Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales combined. If Amazon was a country, its yearly revenue would make it about the 50th wealthiest country in the world. Unsurprisingly, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, is estimated to be worth $130 billion — making him the richest person in the world.
All of this success and profits are made possible by the 750,000 employees who work for the mega-company. So when an Amazon worker is hurt on the job, you would think that the company wouldn’t hesitate to jump in and provide financial help to its hardworking employees.
But sadly, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Amazon has roughly 75 fulfillment centers spread across North America. In Georgia, Amazon operates facilities in Macon, Braselton, Jefferson, East Point, Lithia Springs and Union City, with 2 more locations slated for 2020 openings in Stone Mountain and Newnan, GA. An estimated 3,500 people are employed at these fulfillment centers across the state.
Our record of winning accident cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Talk with an experienced Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney today
Workers’ compensation laws in Georgia are complex and it’s easy to get confused by the myriad of complicated rules. Not to mention that Amazon is a trillion-dollar company with endless resources and very deep pockets to dispute your work injury claim.
If you’ve been injured while working at an Amazon fulfillment center, we invite you to talk with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today. Your first consultation is free, and you have nothing to lose by learning more about your potential case. Don’t wait to talk with an attorney if you’re in pain. Seek both medical and legal help immediately. Contact Gerber & Holder Workers’ Compensation Attorneys today to get answers and advice.