While retail work isn’t as hazardous as other positions like the construction industry, it still comes with its own risks and dangers. People who work in large merchandise stores like Walmart, food and beverage stores, or building material and garden supply stores suffer job-related illnesses and injuries more often than most realize.
If you were injured at your retail job, you may be able to file for workers’ compensation benefits (which covers costs like medical bills and lost wages). Our skilled Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys can help secure the benefits you deserve while you recover from your injury.
Here’s what you need to know about retail work injuries and how workers’ compensation can help you get back on your feet after an unexpected on-the-job accident.
Job Hazards Faced by Retail Workers
The most common hazards and injuries reported by retail workers include:
- Cut or impaled by sharp objects - Improper manipulation of box cutters, knives, and other sharp objects can lead to lacerations, penetrative wounds, and infections.
- Improper lifting and handling - It’s common in retail work to lift and move heavy or large objects. Unsafe handling of unwieldy or bulky materials can cause strains, sprains, and other painful injuries.
- Overexertion - Repetitive motions, overworking, and sudden movements can cause stress injuries or aggravate pre-existing conditions. Examples of overexertion injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and joint pain.
- Slips, trips, and falls - Uneven, unsteady, or slick surfaces are common workplace hazards in retail spaces. Snow and ice, spilled liquids, loose rugs and bunched carpeting, clutter, and poor lighting can all cause an on-the-job injury.
- Struck by or shoved against incidents - A retail worker can be injured when struck by a falling object or slammed against a fixture or shelf. The injury’s severity will be based on the object’s size, weight, shape, and speed of impact.
- Workplace violence and assault - Unfortunately, there are many cases of retail work injuries being perpetrated by a co-worker, customer, or trespasser.
Retail Work Injury Statistics
Of the more than 400,000 retail injuries and illnesses in 2018, over one-third of cases involving days missed from work involved overexertion. Another third were from contact with objects and equipment and a significant portion involved slips, trips, and falls.
Slips, trips, and falls are the third-most common cause of work injuries in wholesale, retail, and private industries. Injuries from falls cause a variety of sprains, strains, fractures, concussions, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis. Older workers are more likely to be involved in work-related falls.
Incident rates of workplace injuries placed retail salespersons among the top ten occupations with the most job-related injuries and illnesses in 2019. People working in the retail trade also experienced the second-highest rate of non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses.
Other hazardous retail sectors (according to a study by AmTrust Financial Services) are meat, fish, or poultry; hardware; automobile parts; and barbershops or hair salons.
Can You File for Workers’ Compensation After a Retail Accident?
Georgia allows workers, whether part-time or full-time, to apply for workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury, regardless of fault. In tragic cases where the victim dies from their injuries, surviving family members may be entitled to death benefits.
No one expects to get injured while working, especially in a place that feels as safe as retail. However, should the unimaginable occur, here are four simple steps you can take to protect your workers’ compensation claim:
- Report the injury to your supervisor as soon as possible. Although you will most likely notify them verbally or via text, the best thing you can do is follow up by informing them through email. Doing so ensures your work accident is properly documented for later.
- Seek immediate medical care. Don’t wait to get treatment or try to tough the pain out. The workers’ compensation insurance may use any delays against you. Also, make sure to let the doctors know that you were injured at work and that they document these facts in your medical records.
- Document your injuries and circumstances. Write down the names and contact information of employees, medical personnel who treated you, and other witnesses who saw your accident or injuries. Collect all relevant information regarding communications with your doctor, human resources, and insurance adjusters. Keep a journal about your medical treatment and how your injury and pain affect your daily life and mental health.
- Consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, it is often difficult for the average worker to navigate and get the benefits they deserve. Hire an attorney at the earliest chance to ensure you understand all your legal rights and avoid crucial mistakes.
Consult an Atlanta Attorney About Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Retail jobs can wear down the body, making a person vulnerable to sudden or chronic injury. Sometimes an injury can result from improper training or a lack of emphasis on safety procedures.
As a retail employee, you may worry about missing days from work or your boss blaming you for the accident. First, your health is more important than any job — neglecting it could seriously impact your future quality of life. Second, don’t let your boss or the insurance company guilt-trip or intimidate you into remaining quiet about your injuries.
Talk to an expert work injury lawyer who knows Georgia workers’ compensation law inside and out. Gary Martin Hays & Associates offers fast consultations that are completely free and fully confidential. If you were injured in a retail work accident, give us a call today at (770) 934-8000.