Every year, more than a million people visit the emergency room after suffering injuries caused by slip and fall accidents. Many of those incidents happen on the job. Although fatal slip and fall work accidents are not particularly common, plenty of them result in serious injury and missed days for workers. In fact, slip and fall injuries are the top cause of lost days from work accidents.
Slip and fall accidents at work are so common that every employee should be aware of the problem and what can be done if they are involved in such an unfortunate event.
What Types of Injuries Are Involved in Workplace Slip and Fall Accidents?
Injuries that are sustained in slip and fall accidents can range from simple bumps and bruises to life-threatening or fatal injuries to the brain or other vital organs. Fractures are the most common type of injury suffered as a result of a slip and fall accident. Broken bones eventually heal, but some can take a great deal of time and be quite serious. A broken hip, for example, can be particularly debilitating, especially for older individuals who may take longer to bounce back, if they are able to do so at all.
Injuries to the neck, back, head, or spinal cord can be completely devastating. A common slip and fall accident has the potential to cause a life-altering injury that could lead to a permanent disability, an incapacitating brain or spinal injury, or death.
What Are the Possible Non-Physical Health Implications of a Slip and Fall Accident?
Depending on the severity of the injury, a slip and fall accident can involve extensive treatment and recovery time. Some injuries suffered in a slip and fall may require surgery, ongoing physical therapy, or other interventions. These can be costly and time consuming. Often recovery involves an extended leave from work or at least a reassignment that accommodates a recovering worker who must avoid work that is physically taxing while they regain their usual strength and mobility.
Sometimes after an injury, a worker may be unable to do the work they used to perform easily. When workers are unable to perform work tasks, they may have to adjust their work temporarily. Other times, this arrangement must become permanent. Unfortunately, this reduced capacity to work can affect how much money they can make in the future.
The financial costs of treating a serious injury and concerns about lost or reduced income can introduce another level of harm stemming from the accident.
What Conditions Cause Slip and Fall Injuries at Work?
Slip and fall accidents at work can be caused by wet floors, loose carpets or flooring tiles, icy walkways, cluttered walking paths, poor lighting, or missing handrails, among other possible hazards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission attributes more than two million fall injuries to floors and flooring materials every year. Slippery surfaces are consistently responsible for around 85 percent of Workers’ Compensation claims.
What Should I Do if I Am Hurt in a Slip and Fall Accident at Work?
If you are hurt in a slip and fall accident on the job, there are a number of things you should do to ensure that you are properly addressing your injuries and setting yourself up for success with a Workers’ Compensation claim for benefits after the workplace incident. Some of the major steps to take after a slip and fall accident include advice to:
- Seek medical attention. You should address your injury with appropriate medical attention. Even if you do not think your injury is serious, you should keep in mind that symptoms can show up long after the initial fall. A visit to get checked out by a medical professional can identify potential problems and provide an official record of any injuries triggered by the accident.
- Notify your employer. It is important to report the incident to your employer so that they have a record of the event and its impacts. File the incident report as soon after the accident as possible, as there may be time limits involved that will affect your claim. Obtain a copy of the report for your records.
- Gather evidence. Collect evidence to prove what happened. Take photos of the physical surroundings at the scene of the accident, including any problems with the walking surface or pathway obstructions that may have been a factor in the accident. Photograph your visible injuries as well. Take notes about what you recall from the incident, including the location, time, and date of your fall. Record any statements from witnesses who were there at the time you fell and can attest to what occurred.
- Keep good records. Save medical bills, insurance correspondences, and records of your interactions with your employer regarding the work accident. If you have issues with how your employer responded after your accident, keep notes about those exchanges, such as if they ordered you back to work or threatened your job. Keep medical records regarding diagnostic tests and treatments as well.
- File your claim before time runs out. Delaying the filing of your claim can lead to a denial of benefits. Be sure to file before the deadline.
- Contact a lawyer. An experienced employment lawyer can review your case and support your claim with a thorough investigation of the incident and a clear understanding of your rights.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC Help Workers Recover after a Slip and Fall Accident
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident at work, your employer’s insurance should pay for any medical bills you incurred as a result of the incident. The program should also replace income you may have lost. The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Kotlar, Hernandez & Cohen, LLC can help you prove that your work accident should be covered under your employer’s plan. Call us at 856-751-7676 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are in Mount Laurel, Cherry Hill, Trenton, and Vineland, New Jersey; and Trevose, Pennsylvania. We serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.