UPS Workers' Compensation: What to Do After a Work Injury
November 6, 2023 · 4 min read
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In July 2023, workers negotiated a historic new contract with UPS, including wage increases and protections surrounding time off. But one thing that was on most workers’ minds when negotiations began was something that seemed pretty basic: air conditioning.
Before the new contract was signed, 73% of UPS workers believed heat illness — the number-one OSHA-reported injury for UPS workers in the previous 7 years — was one of the most important issues to address.
The new contract includes health and safety protections including requirements for air conditioning and fans in trucks, but injuries are still common among UPS workers. The nature of the job can necessitate coming into contact with heavy machinery, falling packages, and even biting dogs.
If you’ve been injured while working at UPS, here’s everything you need to know about workers' comp.
Does UPS have a workers’ comp policy?
Yes, UPS carries workers’ compensation insurance through Liberty Insurance Corporation. Most states require employers to hold workers’ comp insurance, but Texas is one exception. If you were injured while working for UPS in Texas, a lawyer can help you understand your options.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, so it doesn’t matter why you got hurt—if you were hurt while carrying out work responsibilities, you should qualify for benefits. Workers who self-inflicted harm, were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or deliberately broke a safety rule that led to an injury are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Independent contractors and non-regular UPS employees are likely not covered by UPS’s workers’ comp policy.
What is the most common injury at UPS?
Between 2015 and 2022, the most common workplace injuries among UPS workers were the effects of heat and light, followed by fractures.
UPS is the largest shipping and logistics company in the U.S. with more than 500,000 workers and unfortunately, injuries are fairly common in this industry.
Top UPS injury sources
Atticus’s analysis of OSHA’s Severe Injury Report found the top sources of injuries for UPS workers between 2015 and 2022 were:
Environmental heat. Heat-related injuries can be very dangerous, and they were a top concern among UPS workers during contract negotiations. The 2023 contract included provisions for air conditioning and cargo ventilation, hopefully reducing the number of injuries due to heat.
Non-powered cart, dolly, or hand truck. UPS workers often use non-powered carts, dollies, or hand trucks to deliver packages and move packages in the warehouse. Injuries can result from overexertion when handling this type of equipment, as well as from coming into contact with these items.
Delivery truck or van. From 2021 to 2023, UPS trucks were involved in over 2,700 crashes in the United States.
Packages. Even with safety precautions, packages can sometimes fall and cause injuries.
Floors, walkways, or ground surfaces. Falls, trips, and slips are common in a fast-paced warehouse environment. UPS workers can also come into contact with ground surfaces when delivering packages.
Top UPS injury types
Atticus’s analysis found the top incident types for UPS workers between 2015 and 2022 were:
Effects of heat and light. Working in hot environments can cause heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat rashes, heat stroke, and more.
Fractures. Falls and coming into contact with packages and equipment can cause fractures. These injuries require immediate medical attention.
Amputations. Serious injuries from car accidents and contact with sliding doors and heavy equipment may lead to amputations.
Pain and soreness. One-time injuries or cumulative injuries due to overexertion or repetitive motion can cause pain and soreness.
Cuts and lacerations. As a UPS worker, you might come into contact with sharp-edged equipment and sliding or rolling doors. Cuts can be minor or serious.
To qualify for workers’ comp, your injury must happen while working for UPS. If you have a cumulative injury or medical condition, it must have a causal relationship to the workplace.
What do if I’m injured at UPS?
If you are a UPS employee and get hurt on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to cover medical costs and lost wages. The workers’ compensation process typically follows these basic steps:
Seek medical attention
In the event of a medical emergency, it is important to get immediate medical attention. Your employer should send you to a company clinic or nearby hospital. In some states, you must see a doctor in your employer’s insurance network for the first visit of a workers’ compensation case.
If you’re injured on the job, UPS should cover emergency medical costs, including an ambulance fee if necessary. Also, UPS will pay you for the rest of the shift at the hourly rate, regardless if you return to work after seeking medical care.
Notify your employer
Notify your employer about the injury as soon as possible, preferably in writing. States have different requirements regarding how long you have to report an injury, from three days in Wyoming to up to 2 years in New Hampshire. Regardless of where you live, reporting your injury quickly will strengthen your workers’ comp case.
Inform your steward
Seventy percent of UPS workers are part of a union. If you are part of a union, you should also notify your steward, who can help answer any questions you may have about the workers’ comp process.
Fill out an injury report
Your supervisor will have you fill out an on-the-job injury report. Ask for a copy of this report to ensure accuracy and keep it for your records. UPS has 10 days to respond to your injury report and two days to provide you with copies of the report.
After you submit your injury report, UPS will file a claim with Liberty, their insurer. Liberty will assign you a case manager or claims adjuster who will investigate the injury and let you know which benefits you may qualify for.
Return to work or receive long-term benefits
Your workers’ comp treating physician will evaluate your injury and help determine a return-to-work plan based on your treatment. In some cases, your employer might offer you light-duty work or a modified role, so you can continue to work as you recover.
After you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), when you’ve recovered as much as possible, weekly compensation benefits end. At this point, if you are unable to return to your work capacity before the injury, you may get permanent disability benefits.
Call us to get help with your workers' comp claim today.
What will I receive in a UPS workers’ comp settlement?
Workers’ compensation benefits cover accident-related medical expenses and lost wages. The amount you receive for medical expenses will, of course, depend on the type of injury and the extent of medical care required.
If your injury leads you to miss days of work, your weekly compensation amount will depend on where you live. In most states, you’ll receive compensation equal to two-thirds of your regular pay. This guide breaks down the payment percentages in every state.
3 common questions about UPS workers’ comp
Here are some common questions about the process of filing a workers' compensation claim with United Parcel Service:
How long do I have to report my workplace injury to UPS?
Depending on the state you live in, UPS might select a workers’ comp doctor within its insurance network to evaluate your condition. If you’re concerned about seeing a specific provider, you can speak to your union steward or a lawyer for advice.
Do you need a lawyer for a UPS work accident?
No, you do not need an attorney to apply for workers’ compensation benefits, but a lawyer can help you navigate the application process to get the maximum possible benefit amount. Working with a lawyer can increase your settlement offer by five times.
Get help with your workers' compensation claim
If you were injured while working at UPS, you can take a 2-minute quiz to see if you qualify for legal help from Atticus, and then get connected to a representative to support your case. There are no upfront costs — you only pay if an attorney wins your benefits.
Maximize your workers' comp benefits.
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How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?
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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