A Guide to SC Workers’ Comp Benefits for Grocery Store Workers
Learn about your rights and the potential challenges after getting injured while working at a grocery store in South Carolina
In the bustling aisles and stockrooms of grocery stores like Walmart, Food Lion, and IGA, South Carolina employees face a variety of risks every day. From the potential for slips, trips and falls to the strain of repetitive motions, working in the grocery industry can present unexpected challenges to your health and safety.
Fortunately, if you’ve suffered an injury while working in a grocery store in Columbia, you have the right to workers’ compensation benefits. At Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega, our team of experienced work injury attorneys is committed to ensuring that you receive the compensation you’re entitled to under South Carolina law.
Want to learn more about your rights after an injury? Contact our office today for a free consultation.
Is working in a grocery store physically demanding?
Yes, working in a grocery store can indeed be physically demanding. Employees often engage in tasks that require heavy lifting, repetitive movements, extended standing, and exposure to potential slip-and-fall hazards. The physicality of these tasks can lead to various injuries and occupational diseases, including:
- Repetitive strain injuries. Over time, continuous scanning of items or prolonged standing can lead to occupational diseases like carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, tendonitis or chronic pain.
- Musculoskeletal injuries. These include sprains, strains and back injuries, often resulting from lifting heavy items or repetitive stocking activities.
- Slip-and-fall injuries. Wet floors or cluttered aisles can lead to falls, causing fractures, bruises, or more severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
- Cuts and lacerations. Using box cutters or handling broken items can result in cuts that can lead to infection without proper treatment or even finger amputations in severe cases.
- Stress-related illnesses. High-paced work environments, customer interactions, and long hours can contribute to stress and related health issues.
- Occupational illnesses. Working amongst the general public can lead to an increased chance of acquiring certain communicable illnesses, like the flu or COVID-19.
Are grocery store workers in SC entitled to workers’ comp after an injury?
Yes, grocery store workers in South Carolina are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for medical expenses and lost wages while they recover, but there are specific criteria that must be met. In South Carolina, most employees who work for an employer with 4 or more employees, including part-time and full-time grocery store workers, are covered under workers’ compensation.
So, if a grocery store employee suffers an injury, illness or disease that is directly related to their job, they’re typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
To be entitled to these benefits, the injury or health condition must be work-related. This means it should occur during the course of employment and be a direct result of the work performed.
For instance, if a grocery store employee sustains an injury while lifting heavy boxes during their shift, this would likely be considered work-related. However, if an injury occurs during a break or while commuting to or from work, it may not be covered.
How do I file a claim after getting injured in a grocery store in South Carolina?
- Report the injury. Notify your employer about the injury as soon as possible. South Carolina law requires that you report the injury within 90 days, but it is best to do so immediately after the incident to ensure your right to compensation is protected.
- Seek medical attention. Get medical treatment for your injury. It’s important to let the health care provider know that your injury is work-related. In cases other than emergencies, you may be directed by your employer to see a specific doctor to be eligible for workers’ comp coverage.
- Employer’s responsibility. Once you report the injury, your employer is required to report it to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Make sure they do this. If they don’t, you may need to take additional steps to file a claim yourself. This can be done by submitting paperwork to the Commission.
Navigating workers’ compensation claims can be complex, especially if there are any disputes or if your claim is denied. Consider consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney who can help you understand your rights and guide you through the process.
What challenges might a worker face when filing a workers’ comp claim with a large chain like Walmart?
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim against a large chain like Walmart can be more challenging since these corporations often have intricate procedures and policies for handling workers’ compensation claims, which can make the process more daunting. Additionally, the size and bureaucratic nature of a large corporation can lead to slower response times and potential delays in processing claims.
Other aspects that make the process of filing a workers’ comp claim with a large corporation more difficult include:
- Potential for claim disputes. Larger employers, like Walmart, have more resources to dispute claims. They may question the severity of the injury or its relation to work activities.
- In-house legal teams. Large chains often have in-house legal teams or external law firms that handle workers’ compensation claims, which can be intimidating for an individual claimant.
- Pressure to return to work. Sometimes, a worker may face pressure from a corporate employer to return to work before fully recovering, which can exacerbate their injury.
Given these challenges, it’s often beneficial for workers filing claims against large chains to seek legal assistance before filing a claim. A workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure your claim is properly documented, negotiate on your behalf, and navigate any disputes that arise, improving the chances of a successful claim.
Injured while working at a grocery store in South Carolina? Our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys can help.
If you’ve been seriously injured while working in a grocery store in Columbia, don’t navigate the workers’ compensation claim process alone. Let the experienced team at Smith, Born, Leventis, Taylor & Vega guide you through the process and handle the negotiations with your employer so you can recover the compensation you deserve.
Contact our office today for a free consultation and take the first step toward securing your medical and financial recovery.