As we mentioned in our Beverage and Food Industry page, workers employed at these manufacturing facilities in Atlanta such as Coke and Coca Cola Enterprises are particularly vulnerable to sustain occupational injuries. These may include back injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder injuries, and many more. We have found that Coke and its partners often hire a “third party administrator” such as Sedgwick CMS or Gallagher Bassett to handle these workers’ compensation claims.
Our firm has represented many Coca-Cola Enterprises or Coke injured workers who have been hurt on the job. These workers included Coke employees who were injured on the production line to those tasked with placing the product on the store shelves and building displays. Some of our past Coca-Cola workers’ compensation settlements include:
- $129,000 settlement for a back and neck injury
- $99,950 settlement for a back injury
- $90,000 settlement for a knee injury
Unfortunately for injured Coke employees, they seem to be terminated after six months of being unable to return to work due to their work injuries. The reasons for termination are often suspect to our firm but these firings and terminations appear to be immune under Georgia’s “work at will” status. However, we will still question it. From a Georgia workers’ compensation standpoint, we believe this is simply unfair and we would take the position that Coke and its partners must pay the injured worker for “firing” him or her because of the work injury. Obviously, Coca-Cola and its partners would object to our position and we would fight for the injured workers’ benefits in Court.
In addition, many injured beverage industry workers who have worked for Coke, Coca-Cola Enterprises, or Pepsi, have complained that they are denied medical treatment or have experienced significant delays in obtaining medical care. This is not uncommon to the beverage industry, but very common in the insurance industry. It is important for these injured Coke workers / employees to know what their rights are in order to secure medical treatment.
- Was there a posted panel of physicians?
- Was the panel valid?
- Were the employees educated on the use and function of the panel of doctors?
- For that matter, what is a panel of physicians?
These are basic questions that injured Coke workers should know how to handle. It seems clear that Coke and its partners utilized this system to limit the injured worker’s access to medical care. Furthermore, their third party administrators have special divisions dedicated to “handling” these claims and will work against the injured worker’s interests.
At Ramos & Law, we have represented injured Coke workers throughout the years. We have fought for Coca-Cola employees with back injuries from lifting products, repetitive shoulder and hand injuries from working in the facilities, and injuries resulting from slipping and falling in the various convenience stores and super markets while the Coke worker was assembling displays or stocking products in the stores.