Every year, hundreds of thousands of people in the US experience a slip and fall at work. While they don’t commonly cause fatal injuries, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and the most common cause of missed work days.
Many of these falls are preventable if your employer follows proper safety precautions. However, if they are responsible for your fall or refuse your workers’ compensation claim, it may be time to speak to an attorney. If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident at work, read on to learn more about your rights and when to call an attorney.
Common Causes of Slips and Falls at Work
If your employer is following workplace safety rules set in place by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips and falls can almost always be avoided. Some of the common reasons people experience slip and fall injuries at work include:
- Holes in the floor
- Ripped carpeting or flooring
- Wet, slippery, and cluttered surfaces
- Improperly positioned ladders or step-stools
- Improperly used fall safety equipment
- Unprotected edges of flooring, decks, etc.
Your employer is responsible for providing a safe working environment and also responsible to train employees on proper safety precautions. OSHA requires them to provide:
- Danger-free working conditions and environment
- Clean and dry work areas
- Protective equipment and training on how to use it
- Training on potential job hazards (in a language that they understand)
If you are injured on the job and hire an attorney, they are going to investigate whether your employer follows the requirements put in place by OSHA.
If Your Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance
Most states require employers to have workers’ comp insurance, however, some states make it optional and others only require it if you have a certain number of employees. If your employer does not have a workers’ comp policy that will cover your medical expenses, rehabilitation, missed work, and other expenses related to your injury, you will want to contact an attorney.
Further, if your employer is required to have a workers’ comp policy, you also need to contact an attorney, as they may be in violation of state law. If there is no policy in place, you may be able to sue your employer, particularly if the slip and fall were preventable and due to their negligence.
If your employer does have a workers’ comp policy, you typically cannot sue them unless there was gross negligence or misconduct that contributed to your injury.
If Your Employer Denies Your Workers’ Comp Claim
In some cases, your employer may try to deny your workers’ comp claim if they believe that your injuries were not due to your accident at work or the slip and fall were due to your negligence, such as being under the influence on the job or not following proper safety precautions.
Some states have no-fault workers’ comp programs that do not require fault to be established, but others will investigate to see who was at fault for the accident. Some of the most common reasons your claim may be denied include:
- The injury isn’t covered (an example is a mental illness)
- You did not follow proper reporting procedures (most states and employers require you to report within a certain amount of time)
- No witnesses were present
- There are discrepancies in your report
- You were under the influence
- You were the aggressor in a physical fight at work that resulted in the injury
- You intentionally hurt yourself
- You have a pre-existing condition that caused the injury
- You refuse to cooperate with the insurance company
Just because your claim gets denied does not mean that’s the end of the road. You are able to appeal and may be eligible to go in front of an administrative law judge if the insurance company refuses to cover your expenses. If your claim is denied for any reason, contact an attorney who specializes in workers’ comp cases and personal injuries.
If a Third-Party Was Responsible
If you can show that a third-party was responsible for your workplace slip and fall, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in addition to a workers’ comp claim. There could be a third party involved if there is a subcontractor on the job and they do not take proper safety precautions.
If a manufacturer makes a faulty product, they may also be held responsible for the injury. If safety equipment is not working properly due to a manufacturing defect or something along those lines, you may be able to sue the third-party as well as seeking workers’ comp.
The main purpose of workers’ compensation is to cover any lost wages, medical expenses, rehabilitation and therapy costs, and future medical care related to your injury.
If your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp and you sue them, you could demand compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future wages
- Pain and suffering
An attorney will be able to adequately estimate your expenses, especially your future expenses and lost wages, as these expenses are sometimes difficult to estimate.
Hire an Attorney Today
If you have experienced a slip and fall at work, you should consider hiring an attorney. If your employer denies your claim, does not provide a safe work environment, or a third-party is responsible for the accident, you need a personal injury attorney to ensure that you get what you deserve.
Contact Sweet Lawyers today for your free consultation. Our attorneys specialize in personal injury cases and are here to help you.