With the upcoming holidays combined with government requests for people to stay home, many holiday shoppers are ordering gifts online. In an already impressive year for Amazon and other online shopping services, the number of orders could be record-breaking in the coming months.
For delivery drivers, more deliveries mean more money, but it also means an increased risk of injury. In addition to potential repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) from lifting heavy packages repeatedly, drivers often speed to meet impossible deadlines.
If you receive an injury while working, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance company. Because many delivery drivers are part-time, it may be more challenging for them to receive benefits.
The workers' comp team at O’Connor Law PLLC has extensive experience in workers’ compensation lawsuits in New York State and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Many of the common injuries delivery workers face gradually become worse. Others, like those sustained from a vehicle accident, may come on suddenly. As soon as you notice an injury, you must report it to your employer and see a doctor. In NY, you have 30 days to notify your employer in writing, but the sooner you report the injury, the faster you’ll receive your benefits.
Repetitive Stress Injury
Repitive Stress injuries include injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and tennis elbow. They occur through overuse of a muscle, lifting heavy objects, or if you remain in the same position for long periods. They usually occur in the hands, wrists, neck, or shoulders and often require physical therapy, medication, and sometimes surgery.
If you notice the same area in your body aches regularly, is swollen, stiff, tender, or weak, you may have an RSI. Inform your employer and keep a record of any diagnosis or therapy your doctor orders.
Whiplash is a common injury after a car accident. If you are involved in an accident while delivering, you should immediately tell your employer and see a doctor as soon as possible. Injuries like whiplash can take several hours or days to surface, and a doctor can help ensure you don’t injure yourself further.
Dog bites can range from mild to severe. Even if you believe the bite was mild, it’s best to get it checked out by a doctor and report the incident to your employer. Even a small dog bite can become infected.
More severe bites can result in heavy bleeding. Some victims even require amputation. While workers’ compensation will cover many of your expenses, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the dog owner to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
Back, Neck, and Shoulder Injuries
Whether from falling packages, lifting too heavy boxes, or an accident, delivery drivers are at risk for back, neck, and shoulder injuries. Injuries to these body parts can often result in long-term problems, including chronic pain, limited movement, and nerve damage.
Because delivery drivers use their back and shoulders frequently, it’s important to get any injury checked out by a medical professional. Repeated use of an injured area can increase the damage and result in more time off work healing.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
In NYC, employers must have workers’ compensation insurance that covers all their employees, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers. You don’t need to prove that your employer caused your injury. All you’ll need to show is that your injury occurred while you were at work or fulfilling your work duties.
Workers’ compensation covers your medical care, lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, death benefits, and a Schedule Loss of Use (SLU) if your earning power diminishes.
If you receive an injury while delivering, you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible. However, your workers’ comp insurance will only cover the costs if you see a doctor approved by the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. These criteria don’t apply in an emergency, but for all follow-up and non-critical medical appointments, you’ll need to confirm your doctor is on the approved list.
Lost Wages and Death Benefits
If you are unable to work, you will receive up to 2/3 of your previous wages. The percentage is based on whether you are fully or partially disabled. Every year on July 1st, the cap changes to reflect inflation. If you can no longer work as a delivery driver and have to take a lower-paying job, you’ll receive up to 2/3 of the difference between your old and new paycheck.
Your family will receive up to 2/3 of your wages (based on your average weekly salary for the year preceding the accident) and some funeral expenses if you die while working. The maximum funeral expense benefit is $12,500 in Metropolitan New York and $10,500 for all other counties.
If you are seriously or permanently disabled, you may be entitled to Social Security benefits.
Vocational Rehabilitation and SLU
If you cannot return to your old job, workers’ comp will cover some training for a new field. You can apply for an SLU if you received permanent damage to an extremity that decreases your earning capability.
Work with a Workers' Compensation Lawyer for Your Delivery Injury
If you received an injury while working as a delivery driver, or a loved one lost their life while working, contact the New York City workers' comp lawyers at O’Connor Law PLLC. We have extensive experience in handling workers’ compensation claims throughout the city and will work to ensure you receive appropriate compensation. Call us toll-free at (844) 692-6671 today to arrange a free consultation.