It's pretty common for people who work in physically demanding jobs such as package delivery to blow off aches and pains and to walk off their injuries. Muscle soreness and back pain are to be expected after an eight-hour shift spent lifting, carrying, loading, and unloading heavy packages—right? Maybe.
But all of that stress and strain can take their toll and eventually lead to an injury that prevents you from doing your job. Or an accident could cause a sudden injury you simply can't ignore. Either way—despite what your supervisor at UPS, Amazon, or FedEx might try to tell you—you have the right to file a workers' comp claim for your injury if it is connected to the work you do. If you deliver packages for a living, it's likely that your back, knee, hip, or shoulder injury is job-related.
How Package Delivery Drivers Are Injured on the Job
We have helped many clients over the years who were injured while working for UPS and other package delivery services. Some were injured in a specific incident—like tripping on a curb and twisting a knee—and others succumbed to chronic pain after years on the job. They come to us when their employer will not help with a workers' comp claim or after they file a claim and it is unjustly denied. We've seen many different ways delivery drivers are injured on the job. Some of the most common include:
- Slips, trips, and falls. As they take packages out of the vehicle and rush them to a front porch or office building, delivery drivers can slip on wet or icy surfaces, trip over obstacles, or fall from ramps or stairs, resulting in sprains, fractures, or head injuries.
- Vehicle accidents. UPS drivers spend a lot of time on the road, so it is not unusual for them to come across a distracted driver, hit a patch of ice, or take a corner too quickly. Collisions with other vehicles or obstacles can cause various injuries, including whiplash, fractures, head trauma, or spinal cord injuries.
- Falls from heights. There is nowhere a delivery driver won't go to do their job. Climbing ladders, accessing elevated areas, or delivering packages to upper floors can lead to falls, resulting in fractures, head injuries, or internal organ damage.
- Repetitive motion. Years of continuous repetitive movements, such as reaching, bending, or scanning packages, can lead to repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis.
- Struck-by accidents. Drivers spend a considerable amount of their day outside of their vehicles, and they can be struck by other vehicles, falling objects, or swinging doors while loading, unloading, or maneuvering packages, causing potentially serious injuries.
- Ergonomics. Poor ergonomics in the driver's seat, such as uncomfortable seating positions or improper posture, can contribute to chronic pain, musculoskeletal disorders, or nerve compression injuries. When packages are poorly loaded in the back of the vehicle, the safety of the driver is compromised.
- Dog bites or animal attacks. It sounds like material for a sitcom, but delivery drivers actually encounter aggressive dogs or other animals while making deliveries, resulting in bites, scratches, puncture wounds—and worse.
- Robberies or assaults. Delivery drivers can be victims of robberies, physical assaults, or attacks, and not just in big cities. More and more, drivers are being targeted as they go about their routes. Injuries can range from bumps and bruises to gunshot wounds and PTSD.
- Exposure to extreme weather conditions. What's the saying? Rain, sleet, snow, and gloom of night? Ohio is happy to provide all of those conditions—often on the same day in spring and fall. Delivering packages in extreme heat, cold, or inclement weather can lead to heatstroke, frostbite, hypothermia, or dehydration.
- Lifting and carrying heavy packages. Simply put, the ordinary tasks of the job can become too much for the body over years of employment. The greater the pressure to deliver more packages more quickly becomes, the more likely it is that chronic strain injuries, such as back pain, herniated discs, or muscle strains, will occur.
It's important for delivery drivers to understand that workers' comp is no-fault insurance. That means it doesn't matter if your own misstep caused your injury. Your medical bills and lost wages should be covered.