Do you know who the largest employer is in Illinois? I would have assumed it’s the State or the City of Chicago, but it turns out that with over 50,000 workers, it’s Walmart. They are the largest private employer in the world along with the biggest grocery store, but I didn’t realize their foot print in Illinois was that big.
We’ve been involved in hundreds of cases against Walmart over the last 20 years. For a company that employs so many, they really seem to treat their workers badly. And as you’d expect with over 50,000 workers, many of whom are doing repetitive or heavy duty jobs, they have a lot of Illinois workers’ compensation cases filed against them.
There is a belief amongst many of the workers that I’ve spoke to that because they are such a behemoth of a company that bringing cases against them is difficult. I’m here to tell you that is not the case.
While Walmart is large, they fall under the same Illinois work comp laws as any other employer. And that means that you don’t have to prove negligence if you were hurt on the job. If your injury is work related, 100% of your medical bills should be covered, you can choose your doctor, you get paid for your time off work (as authorized by a doctor) and are likely entitled to a settlement for the extent of your injuries.
In fact, Walmart doesn’t even handle their work comp cases directly. Instead, as is common with a lot of larger employers, they outsource the handling of their cases to a company called CMI which stands for Claims Management Inc. CMI is what is known as a TPA or a third party administrator. In plain English that means their company does the work of an insurance company, but in the end Walmart pays the bills. What is unusual about CMI is that it was created an controlled by Walmart. But it’s not your store manager or regional GM making decisions on your case.
The biggest hurdle we see Walmart workers regularly facing is getting drug tested after an injury. This is the right of any company under Illinois law. That said, while 99% of their injuries have nothing to do with a worker having done drugs, they will often use evidence of drugs being in the system as a basis to initially deny a claim. The good news is that in most cases this is a hurdle we can overcome by showing that the fact you smoked marijuana on a Saturday has nothing to do with you getting hurt the following Tuesday.
As for the types of injuries we see, with that many employees you pretty much see everything. But there are a lot of repetitive trauma cases that result in carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries and shoulder problems. There are also a lot of slip and fall accidents and back injuries from lifting or moving heavy products.
We have helped cashiers, forklift drivers, warehouse workers, delivery drivers, bakery workers and even store greeters throughout the years. My message to you is don’t get intimidated by Walmart or stressed out because of how you perceive them. If you want to win your case you just need to do the following:
1. Report the injury to a supervisor as soon as you are aware of it.
2. Get medical treatment and tell your doctor about your job and how you were injured at work.
3. Listen to your doctor, physical therapist, etc.
4. Don’t give a recorded statement to CMI.
5. Get a lawyer in your corner who knows how to handle Walmart workers’ compensation cases.
Although we are based in Chicago, we have a state wide network of attorneys and can connect you with the best work comp attorney in your area for a free, confidential consultation. If you’d like to speak with a lawyer, fill out our contact form or call us at 888-705-1766 any time.