There are several things you need to know about slip and fall accidents at work. Click here to learn more about what to do after a slip and fall accident.
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common nonfatal accidents in the workplace. According to the U.S. Burea of Labor and Statistics, falls, slips, and trips accounted for 27% of the total number of accidents among workers.
Some occupations such as roofers, carpenters, and tractor-trailer truck drivers have high rates of slip and fall accidents. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on the job, you have rights. Read this article to learn what to do after a slip and fall accident at work.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Happen
Many factors can contribute to a person falling on the job. Many of these accidents lead to injuries and some are fatal. Consider these common causes of slip and fall accidents.
Does your workplace have frequent spills? Wet, slippery floors can lead people to fall at work. If the flooring is uneven, cracked or the carpeting is torn it can be an accident waiting to happen.
Some offices pile up boxes and supplies in the hallway. Cords or extension cables may run along the floor. All it takes is one misstep to cause an injury.
If you work on scaffolding or ladders there is a chance you can fall from a significant height. Poor lighting and badly maintained equipment all increase your chances of a slip and fall at work.
Companies must ensure that their workplaces are safe for their employees. Failure to address these issues listed above and others can cause workers serious injuries, permanent disabilities, and sometimes death.
Broken bones will heal in time. While you heal from your accident you may have to take time off from work. Bad accidents could leave you bedridden for weeks and some injuries never fully heal.
People involved in accidents at work sometimes assume that a workers’ compensation case requires them to prove that the employer was negligent. But that isn’t always true.
First, you will need documentation proving your injury. Then you will need to show that you were injured on the job while properly performing your job.
If you slipped and fell at work and you are unable to work, you may qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Keep reading to learn what steps to take after an accident.
Visit the Doctor
First things first, after a slip and fall accident at work it is important that you seek medical care. This is a critical step for your safety and it can also help determine evidence in your case.
A doctor can document your injuries and provide you with a diagnosis. Visit a doctor immediately after your accident if you believe that you are injured. This will help create a record on file of any injuries you may have from the accident.
Visiting a doctor also helps establish a timeline for your injury. Defense attornies on behalf of your employer will try to prove that your injuries accrued previously or in a setting outside of the workplace. Going to the doctor immediately prevents them from making the case that your injuries were a result of a different accident.
After an accident, it may be difficult to tell the full extent of your injuries. You could be injured and not even aware of the injury. Soft tissue injuries or other injuries are less apparent than broken bones.
A medical expert can perform an evaluation and identify injuries you might not be familiar with. This is critical to put you on a path towards recovery but it will also help build your case for workers’ compensation.
The best time to gather information about the scene of the accident is immediately after the accident. If you are badly injured have a friend or family member return to your place of work and gather some basic facts.
Try to determine what caused you to slip and fall. Look to see if the floors are wet, if cords were in the walkway, or if a store display caught your foot. If you can determine what caused the fall then you have a better chance of figuring out what the store could have done differently to protect you.
- Take a notepad and write down the details listed below.
- Date and time of the accident
- Description of the scene where the accident happened
- Weather on the day of the accident
- Quality of lighting at the scene
These details will prove useful at a later date when you are trying to remember the scene of the accident in detail.
If possible take photographs of the accident scene. A picture is worth a thousand words. Photographs can be used to show the jury what the scene looked like on the day of the accident.
Even if you are not sure what exactly to take photos of document everything in the scene where the accident took place. You don’t have to use a fancy camera. Most smartphones have a camera that will take good quality photos.
Take photos of the floor, shelving, carpeting, the areas around you, and anything that could help paint a clear picture of the scene. Your attorney will determine which pictures to use later on but right now the more the merrier.
Photos can provide critical evidence as you file a workers’ compensation case.
Witnesses Are Helpful
If anyone witnessed your accident first-hand they could be very important to your case. Someone else who saw your accident and can verify your version of the story helps you look more credible.
If you slipped and fell at work ask your coworkers to be a witness. It is important to write down their contact information so they can testify on your behalf. As any witnesses for their name, phone number, address, and email address.
You can also ask them to write down in their own words what they saw. Your attorney will follow up with these witnesses. They will ask them to make detailed statements in writing.
If you don’t have any witnesses to your accident, don’t worry. You may still have a strong case for compensation but having witnesses is very helpful.
File a Report
After an accident where you fell at work, it is a good idea to notify your manager or the property owner immediately. They may want you to fill out an incident report about your accident.
Go ahead and fill out their report. Do not embellish any details of the accident and make sure your facts are correct.
It is also a good idea to notify local law enforcement as well and file a police report. An official police report should include:
- When and where the accident occurred
- A description of the scene
- Name and contact information for the manager on duty and property owner
- Names and contact information of witnesses
- A complete description of your injuries
Filing these official reports can help establish the timing of your injury. This will stop the defense attorney dead in their tracks from trying to prove that you were not concerned about your injuries.
Hire an Attorney
It is the goal of the defense to pay you as little as possible even if your claim is legitimate. The defense attorneys will try to use your statements out of context to discredit you or show that your injuries were a result of a previous unrelated accident.
They may twist your words or claim you said something that you didn’t say. An experienced attorney can make all the difference in your case. They handle negotiations with businesses all the time and will fight to get you every penny you deserve.
A lawyer knows when to offer information and can devise a strategy that will work for you. They have years of experience in cases just like these handling hundreds of slip and fall cases. They have been there before and they can handle tough negotiations from your employer.
Most worker’s compensation cases are pretty straight forward. If you have suffered a minor accident and can heal quickly you probably don’t require an attorney o help with your claim.
However, if your case is denied or your employer is hassling you consult with an attorney. There is no obligation and you will feel better after you find out more about your options.
Now, if you are seriously injured, or even disabled, hire an attorney immediately. Tackling the insurance company on your own will be difficult.
Disability injuries may award you a lump-sum settlement. The insurance company will do everything they can to decrease the amount of money owed to you. An attorney will work on your side to see that you get the compensation you are owed.
The Takeaway: What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you’ve been injured and are wondering what to do after a slip and fall accident at work call Fitzerald and Associates. You may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation.
Fitzerald and Associates have helped injured victims just like you maximize their compensation for injuries that happened in the workplace.
“I tripped and fell. Now, what happens?” If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident on the job, contact us today for a free consultation and learn what we can do to help you.