Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeffrey Bezos. Headquartered in Seattle Washington, it is an online retail company that has a customer base that includes consumers, sellers and entrepreneurs. The premise of Amazon is to sell products from its own company as well as items sold by third party sellers.
As its number of customers continued to grow, the demand for delivery workers also increased. In 2018, Amazon unveiled a new delivery program called Delivery Service Partners. The program offers individuals the opportunity to run their own delivery business for a $10,000 investment. While the business is not owned or operated by Amazon, the company provides 75 delivery vehicles with their logo to be used by the business owners and their employees only to deliver Amazon orders.
Amazon’s other delivery program, Amazon Flex, consists of delivery drivers who are independent contractors of Amazon. The drivers use their own vehicles to deliver Amazon packages. Amazon Flex have several delivery opportunities, including:
- Package pickup from an Amazon delivery station delivered directly to customers
- Grocery and household item pickup from an Amazon delivery station delivered directly to customers
- Pickup from local stores and delivery directly to customers
Amazon Delivery and Workers’ Compensation
Workplace injuries occur every day. When an employee suffers an injury on the job, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation from their employer. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance that provides benefits and compensation for employees injured at work or during the course of their employment. No-fault insurance means that the employee is entitled to compensation even if they contributed to their job-related injury or illness. New Jersey laws provide that the exclusive remedy for an employee to receive compensation for a work-related injury or illness. Under the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Act, employers must have insurance coverage for their employees. Both states provide penalties for employers who fail to carry insurance.
After a workplace injury, the employee must notify the employer. Next, the employer must report the incident to its workers’ compensation insurance provider. In New Jersey, and employer who carries self-insurance, may handle the injury claim themselves or contract a third-party administrator. If the employer, third party administrator, or workers’ compensation insurance provider denies the workplace injury claim, the employee may file a claim with the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation. The Division is the exclusive remedy in the state to handle workers’ compensation issues in New Jersey.
Workers’ compensation claimants in New Jersey may seek benefits to cover expenses caused by their injuries and receive weekly wage payments until the injured employees can return to work. They may be eligible to receive are:
- Medical benefits
- Partial disability benefits
- Total disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefitsf0
- Death benefits (claim brought by the spouse or family member of an employee who dies from a work-related injury or illness)
Amazon Delivery Drivers Workplace Hazards
Amazon delivery programs consist of approximately 150 delivery stations in the United States. The stations have 90,000 works and manage 75,0000 drivers. The Amazon delivery program utilize delivery stations to deliver purchases to customers. In the delivery stations, workers prepare orders for last-mile delivery directly to customers from the stations.
Delivering packages can be hazardous. Delivery people must lift the packages and carry them to their destinations. The items are differences sizes and weights. The delivery workers may have to drive or walk far distance to ensure customers receive purchases. Exposure to weather conditions, such as extreme heat, rain and icy roads, increase their risk during travel.
One delivery vehicle may contain hundreds of packages. By the end of a delivery shift, Amazon employees are tired and worn out, which can result in pain or injury. Other delivery workplace hazards include:
- Being the victim violence or other crimes
- Dog or other animal bites
- Slip and fall
- Vehicle accidents
Knee injuries at Amazon delivery may occur due to the amount of time the workers spend walking and lifting. The stress of being on their feet for long hours can cause wear and pain to their knees. Many knee injuries are a result of bending or twisting the knee. The overuse and excess weight from carrying heavy packages also add stress to these joints. Delivery workers may have the following workplace knee injuries:
- Knee sprains
- Knee strains
- Knee dislocations
Back injuries can last a few days or for the rest of a person’s life. The most common location for back injuries is the lower back. Amazon delivery workers routinely and repetitively bend over to pick up boxes. They may have to carry them upstairs or for long distances. While some employees may brush off back pain as just needing to rest, the pain may be a sign of something more serious. Signs and symptoms of a back injury include:
- Muscle aches
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Intensifying pain when bending, lifting, standing or walking
Most common back injuries include:
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Bulging or ruptured discs
- Herniated discs
Pinched Nerve Injuries
Pinched nerve injuries occur when too much pressure and compression is applied to the nerves by the tissue that surrounds them. The nerve injury can occur in different parts of the body. It can cause pain, tingling and numbness at the site of the pinched nerve. If the symptoms present while carrying a package, the delivery worker may drop the item, which may result in an additional injury. Recovery may occur within a few days or weeks. Some pinched nerve injuries, however, require surgery to alleviate the pain. Moreover, a pinched nerve injury may lead to chronic pain and permanent nerve damage.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a disruption in the brain that prevents normal function. TBIs are a result of a bump, blow or jolt to the head. They also occur when an object penetrates the head, skull or brain. Some TBIs are mild, while others are severe. Each TBI affects a person differently; therefore, they may be temporary or permanent.
An Amazon delivery worker may suffer a TBI while working and not realize they have had one. Symptoms of a TBI include:
- Loss of coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory problems
- Loss of balance
Hiring Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and time-consuming. The claims process can be overwhelming while you recover from your injury. It is best to contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney to protect your rights and find out the eligible benefits for your workplace injury.
Petrillo and Goldberg Law, founded in 1993, has over 25 years of handling personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death and workers’ compensation cases. The law firm primarily serves South Jersey communities as well as the metropolitan area of Philadelphia. Our attorneys are well-versed in New Jersey law and effectively represent clients.
For information or assistance with a claim for compensation, contact us today at (856) 249-9288 for a free consultation or case evaluation. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pennsauken, New Jersey; and Woodbury New Jersey.