Slip and fall injuries are fairly common, and many personal injury cases involve these types of incidents. However, if they happen on the job, they will be treated quite a bit differently than they would under normal circumstances. When you slip and fall at work, your claim goes through workers’ compensation rather than personal injury law.
Various workplace scenarios may lead to a slip and fall injury, including spills, obstacles in high traffic areas, ice and water accumulation, and so forth. Given the risk, it’s important to know how to handle these claims.
Work Injuries and Fault
In a civil lawsuit involving a slip and fall, it would be necessary to prove that someone was at fault for the accident. With a work-related injury, this isn’t strictly necessary because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that your employer is responsible for compensating their employees for any injuries they suffer while on the job provided they report the injury and follow the necessary steps.
Of course, there are certain limits to this liability, but in most cases, your employer should cover the costs of your slip and fall injury if it resulted from fulfilling your work-related duties.
Third Party Claims
There may also be situations where a third party is at fault for a slip and fall accident. For instance, a third party contractor may be responsible for a hazard that led to an accident, making them liable.
In this case, an employee would have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit rather than a workers’ compensation claim. This can be advantageous in that the worker could recover more than what workers’ comp would be able to provide, such as damages for pain and suffering and (in some cases) punitive damages.
On the other hand, it does involve proving fault, which can be difficult in some cases.
Even without a third party suit, there are still ways in which a job-related accident could become complicated. Your employer may attempt to show that the injury wasn’t related to your work duties. In some situations, this may be true, such as if you were preparing to commute to work. While some might think this is “work-related,” it isn’t actually considered as such.
An employer may also try to minimize the severity of your injury, thereby getting away with paying you less. For this reason, it’s important to see a doctor about your injury and get his/her diagnosis in writing.
One final way in which your employer may try to deny your claim is by showing you were in violation of company policies. For example, if the company has strict safety rules in place, violating those rules could render you ineligible for benefits. In this case, your case becomes a bit more difficult, and you’ll need legal representation.
Securing Benefits for Slips and Falls on the Job
If you have suffered a slip and fall accident on the job, hiring an attorney can only help. In many cases, injured workers recover more compensation with the help of a lawyer than they would otherwise, so it’s recommended that you contact a workers’ comp attorney such as us at Hart David Carson LLP.