What to Know If You're a Victim of Warehouse Accidents in New Orleans
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Workers’ compensation for temporary employees
- Types of warehouse accidents
- OSHA regulations
- Workers may choose their doctors
- Employer-required medical exams
- Situations that may call for legal help
- Legal advice after a warehouse accident
Workers’ compensation insurance
Because accidents are a part of life, employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical care and disability expenses should someone get hurt on the job. Although many workers’ compensation claims proceed in a routine fashion, some cases result in disputes and denials.
If you’re facing difficulty accessing benefits, then you may want to learn more about warehouse accident legal help in Louisiana. The Lavis Law Firm in New Orleans, Louisiana, has an attorney prepared to manage these issues for injured workers.
Workers’ compensation for temporary employeesThose employed by temporary worker agencies often get jobs in warehouses. In that situation, the warehouse is the client company of the agency, and the agency technically is the employer of the workers. The agency should be covering the temporary workers through its workers’ compensation policy. However, the client company serves as an employer jointly with the agency. Both employers might bear legal responsibility for covering workers against the expenses of warehouse accidents.
As a temporary employee, you may get unclear or conflicting information about whose policy should cover your workplace accident expenses. The extra layer of complexity that results from the temporary agency and client company relationship can raise questions about liability. The contract between the agency and client company could play a role in this situation. A warehouse accident attorney in New Orleans might sort out who is responsible for your coverage.
Types of warehouse accidents
Employees must navigate many hazards within warehouses. Most warehouse accident injuries result from:
- Improper stacking and loading
- Chemical hazards
- Motorized equipment accidents
- Slippery floors
- Manual lifting
- Fuel and electricity accidents
Forklifts can injure people in many ways. You might get hit by a forklift or crushed between one and a wall or dock. Operators could suffer injuries if their forklifts tip over because of heavy loads. Furthermore, some of the most serious dock accidents occur when forklifts go over the edge of a loading platform.
Warehouse workers must also be vigilant with the stacking and loading of containers. Top-heavy bundles, unwrapped loads on pallets, or collapsing shelves can send materials crashing down on people.
Workers may also get their limbs or bodies caught in various motorized equipment, like scissors lifts and conveyors. Another hazard is the fuel for generators or electrical charging stations — leaks can lead to explosions or electrocutions.
Slippery floors, unguarded ledges, or uneven flooring can cause slips and falls. Leaking containers, electrical extension cords, or rain blowing in from open docks can surprise busy workers with unsafe surfaces.
In general, warehouse workers perform physically demanding jobs that can take a toll on their bodies. You may hurt your back by trying to lift too much or by repeated lifting. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that warehouse workers frequently experience injuries from exertion and repetitive stress. Such injuries result in musculoskeletal disorders and muscle and joint strains.
Injuries resulting from poor ergonomic design or insufficient training about safe lifting techniques may be harder to blame on work than an accident. After investigating your case, however, a warehouse accident lawyer in Louisiana can help you report your workplace injury and overcome doubts about its relationship to your job.
OSHA regulationsThe federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires employers to teach workers about hazards and train them in proper safety measures. Warehouses operate under OSHA’s general industry requirements that call for:
- Communication of hazards
- Emergency action plans
- Fire safety
- Exit routes
- Fall protection
- Medical and first aid supplies
Workers may choose their doctorsAs an injured worker, you have the right to choose your doctor. If you need to switch to seeing a doctor of a different specialty, you may do so without asking your employer or its insurer for approval.
Some regulations do apply if the cost of your non-emergency care exceeds $750. Although an insurer would have influence after your expenses go over $750, the Louisiana Workforce Commission insists that valid reasons justify the denial of your request.
Employer-required medical examAt times, an employer may have the right to ask you to undergo an exam by a doctor chosen by its insurer. Refusing to cooperate with this request may delay or halt workers’ compensation payments. Should the employer’s doctor dispute the findings of your doctor, you may need to request an Independent Medical Examination to settle the disagreement.
Situations that may call for legal helpAlthough some warehouse accidents result in the payment of benefits that workers deserve, many issues could threaten your access to an appropriate financial settlement. You may want guidance from a warehouse accident attorney in New Orleans when:
- An insurer denied your claim
- Your permanent disability rating is rejected
- A preexisting condition overlaps with your workplace injury
- You require expensive medical treatment
- Your injuries will prevent future employment
- You need to defend your claim at a hearing