Frequently when I join a server, after the display loads (once I can see my crosshair dot and hotkey bar), there is still a 10-60 second delay (seems dependent on the hardware of the server as well as the time since last server reboot) before actions I take are registered in the game... and also before I see actions other people take.
For example, today I logged into a server, and I could see another player about 200 metres away. For about 45 seconds I watched the screen, with him not moving, and none of the zombies in the field moving either... I couldn't take out a gun.. I could move around, but I don't trust that my movements were registering on the server.
After the 45 seconds, a flurry of things happened very quickly, I heard the sounds of my gun loading that happen upon my login, I heard some footsteps from (I assume) this other player... and my screen very quickly turned to "You are dead".
If you log off in a safe corner.. you can usually ride out these 10-60 seconds when you log in, simply safe by the fact that nothing can see you while you're syncing. If another player happens to be in sight or in the same room though, you're completely at their mercy.
I suggest that you not appear in the game world until your client has fully synced with the server and is ready to accept movement and item commands. At least in this case I can hit the ground running if there are threats nearby.. and not die when I have absolutely no control.