If you’ve been injured in a work-related fall, a slip and fall lawyer can help you with your workers’ compensation claim to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Slip and fall accidents on the job are among the leading causes of injuries in the workplace. As the term suggests, they result when a person, by no fault of their own, slips or trips and falls and is injured. Slip and fall accidents are a form of negligence known as premises liability and account for a third of all personal injuries in the workplace. In fact, they are a leading cause of all workers’ compensation claims.
Workers hurt in slip and fall accidents are susceptible to head and back injuries, pulled or strained muscles, cuts and lacerations, fractures, broken bones, and severe sprains. Workers often slip on oily or wet surfaces, damaged flooring, loose rugs, icy steps, and walkways. Trips occur from poor lighting, uneven or cluttered walking surfaces, torn carpets, and exposed cables.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured on the Job
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at work, there are steps you should take to protect yourself legally, including:
Seek Medical Attention
It’s important to seek medical attention after a slip and fall accident at work. Obviously, you will need immediate medical attention if you have been seriously injured. For other injuries, whether a visit to your doctor’s office is in order or a trip to the emergency room, never refuse medical attention or let anyone talk you out of it—the full extent of your injury needs to be diagnosed, treated, and documented by medical professionals.
Notify Your Supervisor or Employer
If you have been injured on the job, notify your manager or supervisor of the injury as soon as you possibly can. They need to be informed of what happened and the extent of their injuries to establish a record of their injury to help with any workers’ compensation insurance claims.
When possible, gather as much evidence as you can to prove how the slip and fall accident happened. If you are able, take photos or record a video of the accident scene, or ask a coworker to do it if you cannot. Having a visual record of the conditions that caused your injury—poor lighting, exposed cables, oily surfaces—can substantiate your claim. Write down the names of any co-workers who witnessed the accident, too. Nobody wants to be put on the spot, but it’s important that their work environment is safe for everyone’s sake.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After an injury on the job, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim at your workplace. By Maine law, employers must have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. Because slip and fall accidents are so common, they are generally covered under worker’s compensation insurance policies.
When You Should Call a Slip and Fall Lawyer
Not all work related injuries will require legal assistance. It may be that your employer will be supportive and the workers’ compensation insurance will fully cover all the expenses related to your injuries—compensation for missed work time, paying your medical bills, physical therapy and recovery, or for any disability.
Also, if your injuries from the fall are minor, such as a sprain or muscle strain, without any long-term effects, and you have only missed a few days work or no time at all, then you would not need the assistance of a slip and fall lawyer.
On the other hand, there are several instances when you should contact a lawyer if you have been injured at work in a slip and fall accident. You should not feel any pressure or guilt from your employer or the insurer about filing a workers’ compensation claim. Should your claim be denied or challenged by the insurer or your employer, or if the insurance company is slow to act on your claim, that would be the time to contact a slip and fall lawyer. You should also visit a slip and fall lawyer if your employer is retaliating against you in some way, or if the insurance company has offered you a low settlement that falls short of paying your medical bills or covering your lost wages.
Another instance in which you should hire a slip and fall lawyer is when the accident lands you on long-term or permanent disability or limits the work that you can do. An experienced lawyer will ensure that the settlement you receive from the insurance company meets your long-term financial needs. If your injury puts you out of work for more than a year, and you are eligible for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), your lawyer will make sure your settlement is structured properly and not significantly lowered by Social Security disability payments.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at work, or are frustrated with the progress of your workers’ compensation claim, contact the law offices of Hardy Wolf & Downing to assist you in your claim. We offer free consultation and will help evaluate your claim. No one should be working in an unsafe workplace. If you are hurt on the job, we’ll ensure you receive the benefits and compensation you deserve.