Often when we think slip and fall accident, we think personal injury. But what if a slip and fall occurs at work?
If slip and fall refers to cases in which someone falls and suffers harm because of a dangerous condition on some else’s property, wouldn’t this include the workplace? It does, and it happens often.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 260,610 workers in the United States suffered injuries associated with slip and falls in 2008 and 847 of those were fatal. Slips trips and falls result somewhere between 15-25 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries, the highest frequency of injury.
We often think of slips trips and falls as minor, but they are sometimes serious and can result in permanent, even disabling, injuries, including:
- Broken bones
- Back or spine injuries that may cause paralysis
- Muscle strains
- Death — someone dies in a fall on the job practically every day
Compensation for a Slip and Fall at Work
Most on-the-job injuries are handled by your state’s workers’ compensation insurance, preventing you from suing your employer. You also don’t have to prove employer fault through workers’ compensation. However, although you do not have the responsibility of proving fault, workers’ compensation laws limit the amount you can receive.
Some states do not require workers’ compensation for small companies. But if your injury was caused by your employer’s intentional or reckless action, or the actions of a third party, such as another company making a delivery to your employer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that company.
You should always consult with a lawyer if you are the victim of a slip and fall accident. An experienced lawyer can advise you of your rights and responsibilities.
Who’s Looking Out for You?
When a slip and fall accident occurs in the workplace it is usually due to the employer’s negligence.
For your safety and that of your co-workers it is important to recognize slip and fall hazards. These are some things to look for:
- Cluttered floors
- Loose floorboards
- Defective sidewalks
- Parking lot potholes
- Poorly constructed staircases
- Torn carpeting
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
Slips trips and falls are preventable by following a few simple steps:
- Clean all spills immediately
- Mark spills and wet areas with signs
- Regularly mop or sweep debris from floors
- Remove obstacles from walkways, always keeping them free of clutter
- Tack or tape mats, rugs and carpets that do not lay flat
- Always close file cabinet or storage drawers
- Cover cables that cross walkways
- Keep working areas and walkways well lit
- Replace used light bulbs and faulty switches
Although your employer may have workers’ compensation insurance and in-house medical staff, you want to be sure that you aren’t rushed back to work too soon or that you are saddled with medical bills.
To sort out your legal rights, it’s important to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in your state. You want to make sure that you are given the proper amount of time off to heal and receive a fair compensation for your injuries.
Your consultation with a lawyer is free, and you won’t have to spend any money out of pocket — either you get paid or you don’t pay at all!