Charlotte Worker’s Compensation Attorneys Handling Food Processing Plant Claims
Protecting the employees of North Carolina’s food and beverage industry
North Carolina provides a lot of food to a lot of people. Our food processing plants employ tens of thousands of workers – in fact, 62,500+ work in the state’s food and beverage manufacturing industry. If you are one of those employees, and you have been hurt in the course of your duties, you could be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, under NC law.
At Warren & Kallianos, we represent food processing and manufacturing employees to solve this problem. If you have suffered an injury in the workplace in a food processing plant, we can help you obtain workers’ comp benefits to which you are entitled. As well, we can investigate the circumstances of your injury to determine if you have a claim against a non-employer third party whose negligence resulted in your injury.
Understanding the Scope of the Food and Beverage Industry
North Carolina’s unique combination of existing industry strength, pro-business climate, skilled workforce, and strategic location make it a principal venue for food processing and manufacturing companies.
With more than 960 food and beverage manufacturing establishments, the food production industry in North Carolina benefits from a prime access location to local and regional suppliers. Various flourishing sectors of the food processing industry in North Carolina include agriculture, the animal processing and manufacturing sector (the second-largest sector in the nation), and the confectionary production sector (the sixth fastest expanding sector in the nation).
As a food processing plant employee and have sustained an injury or illness during the course of your work duties, you may require time away from your job in order to recover. If you are unable to obtain workers’ compensation benefits in the aftermath of your injury to help you pay for medical bills and lost income, you could face serious financial difficulties.
Hog Farming and Pork Processing in North Carolina
The eastern portion of North Carolina in particular is a major hub for the hog farming and pork product processing industries. This industry sector employed close to 13,000 people in the state throughout all phases of the value chain. As a national leader in pork products, Smithfield Foods, will operates numerous facilities in the state and serves as a significant source of revenue and jobs.
Hog farming is a key component of a wider industry that includes every facet of the pork production process, including everything from the rearing and butchering to the selling of hogs. The pork production process in North Carolina is divided into several categories. These are: research and development, hog farming, pork processing, finishing and packaging, distribution of product, and retail sales.
The Dangers to Food Manufacturing Industry Employees
The work performed by food processing plant employees typically involves cutting, trimming, packaging, and processing food items for eventual retail sale. This work is often highly repetitive in nature and physically strenuous. It can also involve the exposure to and use of dangerous equipment and machinery, extreme temperature ranges (hot or cold), and slippery floors.
With these work conditions prevalent in the industry, it is not a surprise that some food processing and manufacturing employees sustain a wide range of workplace injuries resulting from their job duties.
Injuries Sustained By Food Processing Workers
As the most common type of injury suffered by food manufacturing workers in the U.S. and in North Carolina, sprains and strains (also referred to as musculoskeletal disorders) can include the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (injuries to the hands and wrists due to repetitive motion)
- Back injuries
- Tendon and ligament tears (resulting from repeated bending, crawling, climbing, twisting, reaching, or from overexertion)
Food processing workers are subject to the type of accidents that affect workers in other manufacturing plants. These include:
- Trips, slips, and falls
- Impact by vehicles or equipment
- Exposure to toxic substances such as fumes and molds
- Fires and explosions
It is important to document any injury you receive as a food processing worker as thoroughly as possible. As an injured employee, you should have access to workers’ compensation benefits through your company in order to pay for medical bills and help cover lost wages during the time of your recovery.
Partial Disability Coverage for Food Processing Plant Employees
Workers’ compensation that covers lost wages includes payments for temporary and partial disability. This form of compensation includes any difference in income you receive from a job to which you are assigned (due to your injury) compared to the income earned from your original position prior to your injury.
This is an important form of compensation for injured food processing plant employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal slaughtering and processing carries a higher rate of injury or illness compared to the average of all private industry. Securing workers’ compensation benefits is vital for a worker who is forced into a job transfer or restricted work duty due to disability.
Overcoming Workers’ Compensation Disputes Through Effective Legal Counsel
The unfortunate truth is that many food processing plant employees fail to receive the benefits they are owed in the aftermath of an on-the-job injury they suffered. At times, employers will dispute the workers’ comp claim of an injured worker. In other cases, the injured worker is overwhelmed by the complexity of the workers’ comp system regarding its various rules and regulations, and fails to fight for his or her right to compensation in the face of a claim denial, delay, and/or other issues.
Our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys can represent you skillfully from the beginning to the end of the claims process. This includes serving as your strong advocate in any required hearings before the state’s Industrial Commission. In addition, we help ensure the work you return to at your place of employment is suitable to your present physical condition and restrictions based on the evaluation made by your doctor. If your injury has left you unable to work, we fight to make sure you recover the full array of benefits to which you are entitled under the law.
In situations where the actions of others at a plant led to your injuries, our investigative team can help determine if you are eligible to file a third-party claim against other liable individuals or entities.
Get the Compensation You Deserve For Your Food Processing Workplace Injury
If you have suffered a workplace injury as a food processing plant employee in North Carolina, our experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers at Warren & Kallianos are here to help you. We understand the injury hazards food manufacturing workers face on a daily basis we are committed to helping you secure the financial compensation you deserve for your losses. To arrange a free consultation about your case, call us today at 704-377-7777 or complete our contact form.