Work Related Slip and Fall Injuries

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Slip and fall injuries can happen almost anywhere- in a shopping mall, at a friend’s house, on a sidewalk, or at work. If you slip and fall when you are at a friend’s house because they didn’t shovel the sidewalk or had a broken step, you may be able to sue to recover damages for your injuries. The same is true if you slip and fall at a shopping mall after someone mopped the floor but failed to put up a wet floor sign. However, while a slip and fall injury can happen anywhere, when it happens at work the implications are different.

Worker’s Compensation for Slip and Fall Injuries

In many states, if you slip and fall at work, you may be able to recover even if your employer did not do anything negligent and the fall was a complete accident. This is because worker’s comp is a no fault system- all accidents are compensable if they arise out of the job and while at work.

If your employer has worker’s comp insurance, your recovery is limited to a worker’s compensation claim.  This means you cannot bring a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.  However, if your employer doesn’t have worker’s comp insurance,you can sue your employer for your injury just as you could sue a negligent shopping mall owner who failed to warn you about a wet floor.  If you bring a personal injury lawsuit, you have to prove negligence

Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries

There are a number of potential causes of slip and fall injuries on the job:

  • Poor lighting conditions
  • Obstructed walkways
  • Unsafe or improperly maintained walkways
  • mproperly shoveled sidewalks
  • Unsafe sidewalks
  • Slippery floors
  • Damaged and uneven carpets
  • Uneven floors

The type of slip and fall injury varies depending on how seriously you are affected by the fall. Injuries can range from a sprain or broken bone to brain damage, paralysis and even death. More often than others, slip and fall injuries on the job usually result in back or knee injuries.

Determining Slip & Fall Injury Liability

Unlike a standard slip and fall case, you do not necessarily have to prove that your employer was negligent and that this negligence led to your fall. If you were at work when you fell, as long as you did not behave improperly and cause the fall, you may be able to recover regardless of your employer’s negligence. If you were drunk, under the influence of drugs, doing something explicitly forbidden under company policy, or behaving in some other inappropriate way that caused you to fall, you may be precluded from recovering.

If you are bringing a worker’s compensation claim, proving liability is as simple as proving the fall happened at work, while you were doing your job. You also need to prove that you were in fact injured and that you suffered lost wages, medical bills, or a disability that entitles you to recovery.

If your employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance or you are not covered under worker’s compensation insurance (because you are an independent contractor, or some other circumstance precludes coverage), you will need to sue your employer in a civil lawsuit. This form of personal injury lawsuit requires you to prove negligence.

Getting Legal Help

It is important to consult with an experienced labor law attorney to help you determine whether your slip and fall injury constitutes a labor injury that entitles you to worker’s compensation. Your attorney can help prepare an injury report and file a worker’s compensation claim to minimize the risk of a denial of worker’s compensation benefits.

LA-NOLO3:DRU.1.6.3.20141021.28794