Did you know that slip and fall accidents are the leading reason people file workers’ compensation claims? Not to mention, they are also the leading cause of missed work. Fractures are typically the most serious injuries of slip and fall accidents, but 5% of job-related deaths of women and 11% of job-related deaths of men are the result of falls.
If you’ve experienced a slip and fall accident at work, there are a few steps you should take to ensure that you get your rightful compensation and aren’t penalized at work. To learn more about what you should do if you find yourself in this situation, read on.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you think your injuries are minor, you still need to seek medical attention. Some employers may require you to go to a certain hospital or doctor for work-related injuries, so check with your employer before you get care. If your injuries are serious, you may require an ambulance to transport you, but for less serious injuries, you may be able to transport yourself.
Either way, if you think you are in any way injured, you need to have an evaluation by a doctor. Keep track of any medical attention you receive, and make sure you document everything. Information you may need later includes:
- Medical records and discharge instructions
- Bills and receipts for anything paid out-of-pocket
- Copies of x-rays or other scans
- Photos of your injuries
- Any documentation of your injuries by a physician who examined you
If you seek legal advice, your attorney will likely want all of this information, so having it available from the moment they take your case can help move things along.
If there was a hazard that caused you to trip and fall, you need to document this. If you can identify the cause of your fall, take pictures of it and the surrounding area.
Some of the common reasons people fall at work include:
- Uneven flooring
- Floor mats that are not properly secured
- Potholes in the parking lot or on sidewalks
- Cracks in flooring or in the parking lot or sidewalks
- Wet flooring with no hazard signs
- Clutter or debris on the floor
- Uneven stairs or missing handrails
- Poor lighting
- Cords or cables on the floor
- Newly waxed floor without properly marked hazard signs
Take photos of any of the things that contributed to your fall as well as a picture of the entire area. If there were any witnesses to your accident, you should document them as well. Your employer’s insurance company will likely conduct a full investigation, but this information will be useful if you hire an attorney.
Notify Your Supervisor
In Texas, you are required to report any injuries to your employer within 30 days. If you don’t follow this timeline, you might be ineligible for benefits. If you are seriously hurt, getting medical attention should be your first priority, but you also need to ensure that you report the injury as well.
Your employee handbook may also have a process for reporting. It’s important that you follow all of these processes and meet any deadlines, because if you do not, you may forfeit your right to file a workers’ comp claim.
When you do this, don’t make any statements taking blame or downplaying your injuries. Be objective and state the facts and nothing more.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Once you notify your supervisor or employer about your accident and injury, you need to file a formal workers’ comp claim. This will start the process to have your medical bills covered and to have your wages replaced if you are unable to work as a result of the injury.
In Texas, you have one year to file a claim. You must file it with the Texas Department of Insurance to collect any benefits. In order to do this, you must complete a DWC Form-041, which is the Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupations Disease.
Contact a Lawyer
Texas is one of the few states that does not require employers to have workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not have this, your recourse for on-the-job injuries is to sue your employer, and you should hire a slip and fall attorney.
Even if your employer does have workers’ comp insurance, they still may try to deny your claim. Some of the common reasons claims are denied include:
- You did not notify your employer within the required time frame
- You were not treated by an approved doctor or medical provider
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident
- You didn’t seek medical attention
- Your employer disputes your claim
- You didn’t file your claim with the state on time
- Your injury was due to your own negligence at work
- Your injury is from a preexisting condition
It’s smart to have an experienced workers’ comp attorney to handle your case. They will make sure you get everything that you are entitled to, negotiate on your behalf if your claim is denied, and represent you in the event you and your employer cannot settle your claim and it goes in front of an administrative judge.
Have You Experienced a Slip and Fall at Work?
If you have experienced a slip and fall accident at work, you need to make sure you follow the steps outlined here to ensure that you get the workers’ comp benefits that you are entitled to. Not following the procedures could impact you significantly.
If you are ready to hire an attorney to represent you in this process, contact us today. Our attorneys at Ivey Law Firm can help you with your injury claim.