Amazon Workers’ Compensation: What to Do If You're Injured at Work
March 31, 2023 · 4 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality workers' compensation advice to those injured at work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and help thousands of Americans get the benefits they deserve each year.
If you've been injured at Amazon — whether it was the result of a one-time accident or over-time strain — you likely qualify for paid medical care and lost wage relief. This is true regardless of why or how you were injured.
Here’s how to ensure you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
4 things you should know about Amazon workers’ comp
If you’re an Amazon employee who was injured on the job, here are the most important things to know:
Workers’ compensation is a “no fault”system. You qualify for workers’ comp benefits regardless of who was to blame for your accident or injury. There are only a few exceptions, like if you were intoxicated on the job. For most people, you should receive medical care and payments to cover lost wages regardless of “why” you got hurt.
Employers are legally required to hold workers’ compensation insurance*. Amazon has this coverage (through Sedgwick). You are not required to take a short-term disability insurance option when there is workers’ compensation available. And you still qualify for workers’ comp benefits even if you lose your job after the incident.
When you’re hurt, you should notify someone as quickly as possible. If you’ve been injured, tell your manager. Try to get it in writing. Timely notice is important for workers’ comp cases and you’ll have an easier time with your claim if you report your injury quickly. Every state has different rules about how long you have to notify an employer before failing to do so jeopardizes your claim’s outcome.
It’s not just one-time accidents that qualify. We talk more about the types of injuries that qualify below. But many Amazon employees don’t realize that workers’ compensation covers the aggravation of pre-existing conditions and new injuries that result from repetitive, over-time strain. If you hurt your back after months of lifting and pulling pallets, or hurt your wrist repeatedly unpacking boxes, these injuries can also qualify you for workers’ comp.
*There are some exceptions to this rule. Namely, in Texas, where employers can opt-out of buying workers’ compensation insurance. In Texas, Amazon is a “non-subscriber” employee. That means they can forgo having workers’ comp insurance, but lose protection from employee lawsuits. If you’ve been injured at an Amazon facility in Texas, it’s still possible to be compensated, but you’ll want to speak with a lawyer to determine the best path forward.
What will I receive in an Amazon workers’ compensation settlement?
There are two main benefits that you can receive through workers’ compensation:
Lost wage relief: If you’re out of work, Amazon/Sedgwick should pay you a percentage of the earnings you would have received if you had been working. If you’ll be unable to work for a longer duration, you’ll get a workers’ comp settlement offer. Your settlement will include money for “future wages” that you will be unable to earn due to your injuries.
Medical care: Amazon or Sedgwick should cover your medical treatment. This includes all medical care reasonably related to your injury and required for your recovery — specialist consultations, surgeries, medication, physical therapy, hospital visits, etc. In some states, you’ll be required to see a doctor Amazon or Sedgwick chooses. This doctor will determine what care you need, when you can go back to work, and what kind of work you’re physically able to do.
What should I expect when filing a workers’ compensation claim?
While the duration of a workers’ comp claim varies, claims generally follow these basic steps:
You report your injury. If this was a one time incident, you’ll report it as soon as possible. (Prioritize getting any emergency medical care first!) If it’s a condition that develops from work over time (these are called “cumulative trauma” injuries) — report it as soon as your injury impacts your work, or as soon as your physician notes your condition. Make sure to communicate which actions you take at work caused the injury.
Amazon will give you an incident report to fill out. Once Amazon is aware of your injury, they should report it to Sedgwick. At this point, you’ll get a form to fill out so that Sedgwick can begin to evaluate your claim.
Continue getting medical care and following doctor recommendations. Report all treatment and diagnoses to Amazon and Sedgwick. Your workers’ comp doctor is not only responsible for caring for your medical state. They also make critical recommendations about your level of impairment, called your “impairment rating.” the doctor also decides your capacity to work — when you can return, whether or not you can return to “light duty,” etc. Some of this, like your impairment rating, can be negotiated by a lawyer if you disagree with the doctor. (That rating has a direct impact on the amount of your settlement.)
Your claim is either denied, or you’llbe offered a settlement. If your claim is denied, you can appeal that decision. If it’s approved, you’ll be offered a settlement. While a lawyer is helpful at any stage of the workers’ comp process, they’re particularly essential for fighting a denial or negotiating a settlement. (We wrote more on how a workers’ comp lawyer helps. But generally speaking, settlement payments are five times as much when a lawyer gets involved.)
What injuries are covered by Amazon’s workers’ comp insurance?
Many workplace injuries qualify for workers’ comp. If it keeps you from working or requires treatment, it’s worthwhile to file a claim.
Musculoskeletal injuries are the most common injuries amongst Amazon warehouse workers — making up 40% of injuries. These are things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions, and often occur over time. At Amazon, they’re most common in the first six months of employment.
Less common, but still qualifying, are conditions that result from exposure to harmful substances. If you get sick from hazards in your workplace — like chemicals or asbestos — you should also see a doctor, report it to your supervisor, and file a claim.
Yes, Amazon offers workers’ comp coverage through a company called Sedgwick. If you get injured at work, you should report it directly to your supervisor or manager.
Can Amazon fire me for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
Firing an employee in retaliation for a workers’ compensation claim is illegal — even in “at-will” states where employees can be fired for any reason. If you were injured at work and then fired, you may want to speak to an employment lawyer.
Can I get workers’ comp after leaving my Amazon job?
Yes. If you’re worried about receiving lost wage pay after filing your claim, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help ensure you get the compensation you’re entitled to.
The workers’ comp doctor says I can go back to work, but I’m not ready to yet. What should I do?
Sometimes, your workers’ comp doctors will say you’re approved to go back to work, but your personal doctor will advise against it. Or maybe you’ll still feel pain, but you’re told to go on “light duty.” Unfortunately, our advice here depends on your state, condition, and stage of your claim. In these cases, it’s best to keep getting treatment and to speak with a lawyer before deciding your next step.
I want to file an Amazon workers’ comp claim. Do I need a lawyer?
The workers’ compensation system may feel straightforward. And as a result, many people don’t think they need legal representation unless they’re denied. But a workers’ compensation lawyer can also help you navigate the workers’ comp process and negotiate a larger settlement. You also don’t have to pay a lawyer anything until you win, and their rates are capped by your state government. We recommend them to just about everyone.
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Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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