Amazon is frequently in the news, but often not for good reason. The massive e-commerce company is notorious for treating workers poorly. In 2022, people who worked in Amazon warehouses and distribution centers were injured twice as often as those who worked in non-Amazon warehouses.
In Texas, companies can opt out of providing workers’ compensation coverage. Amazon has chosen to opt out. That means, in Texas, Amazon workers’ comp does not exist, Amazon workers’ compensation settlements do not exist, and there is no average Amazon workers’ compensation settlement amount. However, if you are injured on the job while working for Amazon, you have a remedy: a personal injury lawsuit.
At Armstrong Lee & Baker, our lawyers know personal injury and workers’ compensation law. We can help you take an e-commerce industry giant to task for your injury.
Workers’ Compensation Non-Subscribers
In Texas, employers that choose not to provide their employees with workers’ compensation are known as “non-subscribers.”
Non-subscribers must clearly inform their employees that they do not offer coverage. This includes posting notices at “conspicuous locations” at the place of business, specifically including the personnel office.
The notice must be provided in large print, in English, Spanish, and any other language commonly spoken by employees. In addition, the notice must be provided to employees when they are hired.
The employer must also notify the Texas Department of Insurance that it does not provide workers’ comp. Amazon Services Inc., Amazon’s official business name, appears on the Texas Department of Insurance’s publically accessible list of non-subscribers.
Suing Amazon for Personal Injury
To recover for injuries suffered in the course of working for a non-subscriber, you must prove your employer negligently caused your injury. Thankfully, the law allowing employers to opt out of coverage makes this easier than a typical negligence claim. The employer cannot prevent you from recovering by claiming:
- You contributed to or partly caused your own injury;
- You agreed to the risk of injury by working the job; or
- Another employee negligently caused the injury.
However, the employer can argue that you intended to injure yourself or were intoxicated to avoid liability.
What You Can Recover
When you sue for negligence, you primarily recover damages based on how severe your injury is. You can recover economic and noneconomic damages, both designed to compensate you for the harm you suffered. Economic damages include tangible harm, like medical bills or lost wages resulting from the injury. Noneconomic damages include less tangible harm, like:
- Physical pain and suffering,
- Mental or emotional pain or anguish,
- Loss of consortium,
- Physical impairment,
- Loss of companionship and society,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Injury to reputation.
In some circumstances, you can also recover exemplary damages, also known as punitive damages. These damages are designed as a penalty for harm caused by someone’s:
- Malice, or
- Gross negligence.
Exemplary damages may not exceed the greater of (1) twice your economic damages plus your noneconomic damages up to $750,000 or (2) $200,000. Although exemplary damages are more difficult to obtain, they can result in a much larger recovery.
Since the Amazon work injury policy often appears to be to walk off even the most serious injuries, depending on the circumstances, exemplary damages may be a very real possibility in claims against Amazon.
Workers’ compensation pay is much more limited than what you can recover when you sue for negligence. That means, in Texas, you may be able to recover more than is typical of Amazon workers’ compensation settlements in other states.
Non-Subscriber Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Armstrong Lee & Baker LLP’s experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys are passionate about helping people hold those who harm them accountable. Taking on Amazon can be daunting, especially since Amazon has made it clear that it does not value its employees’ safety.
Our attorneys are primed and ready to take on the challenge of fighting back against this industry giant, including taking Amazon all the way to trial if that is what it takes. Contact us today to get started.