Grocery store work encompasses a wide variety of jobs, from cashiers to stock clerks to administrative jobs and positions such as bakers, butchers, and meat cutters. The potential for a workplace injury is just as varied, ranging from strains and sprains to severe cuts and burns, to parking lot accidents.
If you are a grocery store worker injured on the job in South Carolina, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to be sure that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are due after a workplace accident. Employers and their workers’ comp insurance carriers may dispute a grocery worker’s injury claim and try to deny benefits to an injured worker. If you are unfamiliar with the S.C. workers’ comp bureaucracy, you should have a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you through the process.
The attorneys at Joye Law Firm have nearly 250 years of combined legal experience and can help you pursue the maximum compensation available to pay your medical bills, replace a portion of lost income, and more. We can examine your case and determine whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury action – or both – on your behalf.
Joye Law Firm has offices in North Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, and Myrtle Beach. Our workers’ comp attorney is available to meet with you and discuss your legal options. If you cannot come to us, we will happily come to you. Contact us now for a free legal consultation.
Workers’ Compensation for Injured Grocery Store
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides benefits to most employees who are injured on the job in South Carolina, regardless of the employee’s role in the injury in most cases. The South Carolina workers’ compensation system provides benefits that cover 100 percent of the injured employee’s medical bills and replace a portion of the income the injured worker may lose due to a temporary disability.
There are relatively simple and straightforward rules for applying for workers’ comp benefits. But the reality of a claim – particularly an expensive claim – is often different.
Most workers’ compensation insurance carriers try to protect their bottom line by paying out as little as possible in claims. For instance, insurers may try to avoid paying benefits by claiming that a grocery worker’s injury or illness is not job-related or that the worker’s condition is not as severe as the worker claims. An insurer may push the treating physician to certify the injured employee is ready to return to work before the worker is really ready, to halt benefits.
Employers sometimes try to stop workers’ comp claims due to concern that a large payout will lead to higher insurance premiums. An employer may suggest the injured worker rely on his or her healthcare insurance instead of filing a workers’ comp claim.
It is critical for an injured grocery store worker to have a dedicated attorney who will protect the employee’s rights if these tactics are used against them. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Joye Law can gather medical records and testimony from medical professionals and vocational specialists to establish a grocery store worker’s right to compensation and pursue the full amount of benefits that South Carolina law provides.
On-the-Job Hazards S.C. Grocery Store Workers Face
A grocery store operation is much more complex than the average shopper realizes. Much of what occurs in the receipt, stocking, storage, and preparation of packaged and prepared foods for sale at a grocery occurs out of public view. There are also administrative office operations, stockrooms, loading docks, and other facilities that employees use while on the job.
Many of the work-related injuries and illnesses experienced by grocery store workers are musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as back injuries and sprains or strains that develop from overexertion and repetitive motion.
The injuries suffered by grocery store workers are often linked to the specific hazards encountered by the occupations within the grocery store industry.
Store managers, cashiers, baggers, and stock handlers experience mostly sprains and strains. Stock handlers, baggers, and laborers suffer back injuries more frequently. Kitchen workers, butchers, and meat cutters are susceptible to cuts, scalds, and burns as well as sprains and strains. Sales personnel who work in grocery store aisles are more like to encounter slip and fall hazards, falling stock, and violent customers.
Common Injuries Suffered by Grocery Store Employees
Many grocery store workers handle thousands of items each day to unload delivery trucks, stock shelves, check and bag groceries, and prepare meat products. The job tasks include lifting, pushing, separating, repetitive motions, and standing for long periods of time.
Because of the repetitive nature of some jobs, grocery workers risk such cumulative injuries as:
- Muscle strains and back injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries (a shoulder problem)
- Elbow problem
- Trigger finger, which occurs from repeated use of a single finger.
In addition, grocery workers are subjected to the potential for accidents that lead to traumatic injury:
- Slips and falls causing broken bones, head injuries, back injuries
- Blunt force injury in “struck-by” accidents from falling stock or palleted goods
- Contact with machinery and equipment causing cuts and burns
- Motor vehicle accidents occurring during transport and delivery of groceries
- Chemical exposure due to the use of industrial-strength disinfectants and sanitizing chemicals
- Bacterial hazard exposure if cutting boards, knives or other utensils used in contact with raw foods are not properly cleaned
- Occupational violence perpetrated by customers or fellow employees.
If an injury occurs during the course and scope of a grocery worker’s performing his or her job duties, the injured worker may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. South Carolina defines “course and scope” as a work activity done in furtherance of the interests of their employer.