Colorado Workers’ Compensation for Walmart Employees
Steps to take in workers’ compensation process for Walmart employees
Approximately 27,500 associates work at Walmart stores across the state of Colorado. Walmart has 106 total retail stores, and 70 of those stores are supercenters. In many small, rural towns, the local Walmart store is a major employer.
Regardless of where they live and work, all Walmart workers are entitled to workers’ compensation if they become injured while on the clock in Colorado.
Common workplace dangers Walmart employees face
Falling boxes full of heavy merchandise can injure Walmart employees, as well as other falling objects. These accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries, concussions, neck damage, nerve damage and shoulder trauma. In extreme cases, very heavy merchandise, such as an appliance, can fall on a worker’s limb and cause an injury serious enough to require an amputation.
Employees sometimes slip and fall on wet floors and suffer injuries. When falling, you may tear a ligament or tendon, or you may strike your head on the floor and suffer a head injury. You may even suffer a broken bone or a spinal cord injury.
Some Walmart employees are injured by reckless or violent coworkers or customers. For example, employees might engage in horseplay or a customer may not be paying attention while pushing their cart and hit you.
Workers sometimes accidentally bump into pallets, counters and cabinets and sustain injuries. If a pallet falls on you, you may suffer broken bones if you’re not wearing protective gear.
Workers using box cutters can also injure themselves. A box cutter can slice a worker’s hand open, resulting in an infection or an injury bad enough to require a finger amputation.
Even cashiers can become injured as they often need to perform repetitive tasks and stand for long periods of time. All associates frequently perform repetitive motions using their hands, arms and back.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Colorado
In Colorado, all private employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, post a “Notice to Employer of Injury” poster, record all lost time due to injuries, and meet all reporting requirements to their insurance carrier.
Following a work injury, your employer and their insurance carrier should cover all injury-related medical care. This includes everything from the initial emergency room or urgent care visit to therapy and medications. Medical benefits should continue until the providers you are seeing for your injuries determine that they have done everything they can for you.
If you are losing time from work because of your injuries, you may be entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) or temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits. However, you must miss 3 shifts from work before these benefits are payable.
In Colorado, temporary disability benefits are payable either every 7 days or every 14 days. If you are entitled to TTD benefits, they should equal two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are entitled to TPD benefits, they will be payable at a rate of two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury average weekly wage and what you actually made at work in a given week while working in a modified capacity. Generally, TTD and/or TPD benefits are only paid when under formal work restrictions from your workers’ compensation doctors.
While TTD or TPD benefits may be discontinued due to a return to work or failure to attend medical appointments, most workers’ compensation benefits are payable up until the point that a treating physician determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). Once you have reached MMI, your doctors will determine whether you have any permanent impairment.
Permanent impairment is measured as a percentage. For instance, they might determine that you have lost 25 percent of the functionality of your hand. If you suffer a loss of function of your lungs, spine or your mental faculties, you may receive a “Non-Scheduled” (whole person) impairment. Your impairment rating is then used to calculate a permanent partial disability award.
Alternatively, if you are unable to return to work in any capacity, then you may be entitled to a permanent total disability (PTD) award. PTD benefits are payable for life to workers who are so severely injured that they will never work again.
What to do if you were hurt while working at Walmart in Colorado
The first step is to seek emergency medical care if needed. If your injury is not an emergency, your employer should give you a designated provider list, and you should seek medical attention from one of the providers on that list as soon as possible after your injury.
Remember to report your injury within 4 working days of when it occurred. In some cases, due to your injury, you may be incapable of formally reporting your injury. However, you should do so as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, the road to securing workers’ compensation benefits as a Walmart employee is often bumpy. Some managers may assert that you’re not as injured as you claim and they may not take your injury seriously.
To fight for your rights, begin by contacting a Colorado workers’ compensation lawyer whose ultimate job is to help you secure your benefits. At The Babcock Law Firm, our main priority is making sure you receive everything you’re entitled to as you recover from an injury on the job.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers keep up-to-date on the latest changes in Colorado law to make sure that you take all the steps necessary to maximize your benefits so that you do not jeopardize your benefits.