Fall injuries are one of the most common types of injuries that happen in the workplace. The most serious types of falls take place from heights, but just tripping over something or slipping on the floor can result in serious injuries, too. Twenty percent of all falls result in serious injuries. Some possible types of injuries from falls include:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Shoulder injuries
- Broken wrists or ankles
- Hip fractures
- Back and spinal cord injuries
In general, most fall injuries occur to the hip, leg, ankle, spine, hand, upper arm, and forearm. The surface and the distance of the fall make a difference in the severity of the resulting injuries.
How Falls Happen at Work
Falls can occur in any work setting, in any industry. Jobs in some industries present a greater risk of falls than others. Industries that use certain types of equipment or involve work in wet areas make it more likely to cause falls. For example:
– A roofer falls from a ladder
– A painter falls from a scaffold
– A retail worker climbs a ladder to change the bulb in a light fixture
– A kitchen worker in a restaurant slips and falls on a wet floor
The majority of falls occur in the construction industry, often with traumatic results. They are also common in the health services, retail, manufacturing, building maintenance, and transportation industries. Most falls are preventable by persistently following safe practices. Unsafe practices that lead to falls include:
- Slippery or cluttered walkways
- Damaged walking surfaces
- Unprotected edges
- Unsafely positioned ladders
- Lacking or misused fall protection
If you were at your place of employment or performing job-related duties en-route to or at another location, your fall injuries may be covered under workers’ compensation. To ensure you get the full amount of benefits available to you, report the fall and your injuries to your employer right away. If you have a supervisor or other person in charge of first aid, report the accident to them as well. Make sure they create a written report that includes all the details.
If anyone observed the fall, write down their names and contact information. You may have to prove that the accident happened before your employer and their insurance company agrees to pay you workers’ comp benefits. Often, they try to find ways to keep from paying out benefits. You need to begin securing evidence to support your case even before you know you need to. It’s always a good idea to talk with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn your rights early on.
The Most Important Evidence to Support Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Fall injuries range from minor to severe. Even if your injuries don’t seem serious, it’s important to get medical care right after the fall. The primary reason is for your health. Some serious injuries like fractures and torn muscles don’t show symptoms until some time has passed. What feels like nothing more than a sore muscle or bruise can be something that needs immediate care.
Another reason you should seek immediate treatment is to help with your workers’ comp claim. The reason for workers’ comp is to pay for medical expenses and missed work due to medical injuries. If you fail to get medical treatment, your employer or their insurance company might claim you aren’t really injured.
Once you see a doctor and have your injuries diagnosed, follow any advice they give you. This includes additional diagnostic testing, taking medications, or getting other types of medical care. Create a complete medical record from the time of your injury. The more thorough your medical records are, the stronger they will be as evidence.
It’s also a good idea to keep your medical records. Make sure that everything is entered correctly and that no mistakes are made. You will need them when you talk with a workers’ comp attorney about your case. Your medical records could become legal evidence. They need to be accurate and complete. Without them, the insurance company has a stronger case for denying your claim.
When Your Accident Is Someone Else’s Fault
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that protects employees and their employers. The employee gets coverage if he/she is injured at work. In return, the employer is protected from being sued because of negligence.
Workers’ comp covers most fall injuries that occur to employees on the job. But sometimes, a third party is responsible for the accident. If someone besides your employer is responsible for your injuries, your attorney might recommend pursuing compensation through a personal injury claim.
Third-party liability is when someone who doesn’t work for your employer causes your injury. Some examples of third-party liability include defective products and safety equipment, car accidents in a company vehicle, or a toxic product made by a manufacturer. The third-party can also be a co-worker who causes your injury through negligence or by a willful act.
When to File a Workers’ Comp Claim
Nearly every worker deserves workers’ compensation benefits after they get injured on the job. Filing a claim is not the same thing as starting a lawsuit. You must follow the claims process to get the benefits you need for your medical treatment and lost wages.
Unless a third party is responsible for your injuries, you can’t file both a workers’ comp claim and a personal injury lawsuit. If your initial claim is denied, you can appeal the decision. It’s important to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you with the appeals process. Although your workers’ comp case can end up going to trial, it is not the same thing as a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits are usually made against a second party who isn’t an employer.
If you have fall injuries from a work-related fall, contact The House of Workers’ Compensation to schedule a free evaluation. If you have a denied claim, you still have options. Let our experienced, competent attorneys help you get the benefits you deserve.