Walmart’s Distribution Operations Include a “Private Fleet of Trucks and a Skilled Staff of Truck Drivers”
Our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys at Waple & Houk, PLLC represent truck drivers who were hurt at work, so they can effectively pursue the benefits they are entitled to from their employer’s insurance coverage.
One recurring challenge is that a trucking company, fleet operator, or truck driver’s employer will challenge their workers’ compensation claim by stating that the driver is an independent contractor — not an employee.
Independent contractors usually do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This is why some employers categorize their employees as independent contractors to avoid paying compensation and insurance premiums.
One company that touts the opposite for its fleet members is Walmart.
According to the corporate website, Walmart has a fleet of 11,000 tractors, 80,000 trailers, and more than 13,000 drivers who support a distribution operation that is one of the largest in the world, servicing stores, clubs, and direct delivery to customers.
Walmart can effectively move goods to and from distribution centers because it maintains a private fleet of trucks and a skilled staff of truck drivers that are “part of one of the largest and safest fleets, and every year they drive more than one billion miles to make millions of deliveries to our stores and clubs.”
The company’s fleet development system includes a 12-week program that allows existing supply chain associates to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL), participate in real-world experience under trained instructors, and have a dedicated mentor to help them smoothly transition into their new role as a Walmart Private Fleet driver.
North Carolina alone has six Walmart distribution centers and one fulfillment center, which means we see the Walmart Private Fleet more often than most.
Like other North Carolina workers, truck drivers must contend with many on-the-job hazards and accidents that may keep them out of work for several weeks, months, or even permanently. Injured or sick truck drivers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits that cover medical expenses and lost wages. In Walmart’s case, based on their driver program, there is very little room to call these drivers independent contractors to avoid paying their workers’ compensation benefits. This does not mean Walmart’s workers’ compensation coverage provider will not deny their claims for other reasons.
This is why we are here. If you have been injured at work as a Walmart truck driver and are receiving resistance from the workers’ compensation insurance company for your claim, we can help. Contact our dedicated truck driver workers’ compensation attorneys in North Carolina today to discuss your case during a free consultation.
What are the Most Common Types of Work-Related Truck Driver Injuries in North Carolina?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) occur when the body uses muscles, tendons, and ligaments to perform tasks, assume positions, or frequent activities that can create pain and injury over time.
Overexertion and repetitive motion are the primary causes of these injuries.
Ten occupations comprised 40% of all MSD cases in the private sector last year. Of these ten heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers made up 14,810 cases with a median of 21 days away from work due to MSD.
These truck driver injuries should be covered by Walmart’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage, as should traumatic injuries that occur during:
- Truck-involved traffic collisions.
- Slips and falls while getting in and out of the truck.
- Strain injuries incurred while loading and unloading cargo from the truck.
- Struck by objects injuries.
Some of the traumatic injuries that commonly occur in truck accidents include:
- Broken bones.
- Head trauma.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Back and neck injuries.
- Internal organ injuries.
- Rib and torso injuries.
Many job-related injuries that truck drivers experience may manifest slowly over the course of years and cause chronic occupational diseases that have the potential to impact other parts of the body and may lead to permanent disability. These too should be covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina Today
If you are a Walmart truck driver who has been injured at work and is struggling to receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, contact our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys in North Carolina today by phone at (704)-954-8697 or schedule a free consultation online to learn more about how we can help you pursue the best outcome for your injury claim.