Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, there are almost eight million emergency room visits per year because of slip and fall accidents. People who work in fast-food chains may slip and fall due to grease on the floor. Similarly, people working in the automotive repair industry may slip on automotive fluids. Even if you work in the safety of an office, you might slip and fall over loose tiles or torn carpeting.
Many people in California also do not know how costly their slip and fall accident can be. Fortunately, workers’ compensation insurance can cover these accidents. If you suffer an injury at work in a slip and fall accident, you should work with a competent and certified workers’ compensation lawyer in California, like James E. Latimer, as it is the best way to receive the compensation you need to get back to normal life.
A “slip and fall” accident is a kind of California premises liability accident. It is worth mentioning that not all falls eventually lead to slip and fall liability. Therefore, to recover damages, you have to prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident.
Some of the common causes of slip and fall accidents are as follows:
- Loose carpeting
- Plumbing leaks
- Uneven floors
- Tattered rugs
- Slippery store entrances
- Hazardous construction zones
- Debris on the ground
- Missing or broken railings
- Unmarked steps
- Broken furniture
- Low lighting in high traffic areas
- Failure to rope off construction sites
Slip and fall accidents in California can be serious incidents that can result in debilitating injuries, such as
- Broken hips
- Permanent or temporary paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries
If you slipped and fell on your employer’s property, your employer could be liable for your workplace injuries, including your medical care, physical therapy, and surgery for your injuries. If you are involved in a slip and fall accident at work, there are some things that you need to know.
1. Determine the Party at Fault
In all California slip and fall cases, including accidents that happen while you are on your job, determining fault is often crucial to the outcome of the case. This is particularly true if you do not live in a “no-fault” worker’s compensation state. People in California owe a duty of care to protect individuals who enter their property, such as office, from harm.
If your employer was at fault, you might be entitled to receive damages, such as the cost of medical care, compensation for lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering. If, on the other hand, you are at fault for the workplace accident, it is likely that you will receive no compensation from your employer or their insurance provider.
Proving fault is not simple when an accident occurs. You have to make the claim that your employer either ignored or did not take suitable action quickly enough to correct or rectify a problem. A good example of this is a big puddle of water left standing. When you come into work, you do not see the puddle of water, causing you to slip and fall.
2. Report Your Workplace Injury and Document Everything
Immediately following your work incident, you must seek medical attention for your injuries, thoroughly inspect the scene where it happened, and take photographs of the site. In some cases, you may sustain workplace injuries, which are so severe that you may not have enough time to report them and then document what happened right away.
For example, if you are in an ambulance on your way to the hospital, it is likely that everyone already knows that you are dealing with a workplace injury. However, that does not imply that you do not have any responsibility in the matter. It is crucial to collect as much evidence as you can in order to establish that the accident did happen at your workplace, and it occurred due to unsafe working conditions.
You also have to fill out all the relevant records and documentation, such as forms, for your employer. This will help ensure that when the time comes to get the compensation owed to you all the facts of the case are right in front of your employer.
You should include the following in your documentation:
- What caused the workplace accident
- Where your accident happened
- When the incident occurred (such as time, and date, etc)
- What you were doing before the slip and fall accident
- What medical treatment did you receive
- Your resulting workplace injuries
- Names of people who witnessed your accident
- Statements from witnesses
3. Your Employer’s Insurance
Fortunately, almost all employers in California are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. This insurance helps cover any losses that employees may suffer because of an injury sustained while on the job. Note that this insurance ensures that in case you slip and fall at work and then incur medical bills or suffer lost wages due to the accident, you are financially safe from the consequences of the accident.
However, keep in mind that the insurance company is not on your side and has many tricks to avoid paying a huge settlement to you. In addition, insurance companies in the state are notorious for under-calculating a claimant’s wage replacement benefits, hence making considerably lower offers to claimants not represented by competent attorneys. This is why you should hire a competent and certified workers’ compensation lawyer in Oakland, California, like James E. Latimer.
There are criteria that you have to meet to qualify for workers’ compensation insurance because of a slip and fall accident at work:
- When the injury occurred, you must have been on the job. If you were staying around off the clock or on a lunch break when the workplace accident happened, your chance of winning a slip and fall case considerably decreases.
- You have to ensure that you are following all company policies with regards to behavior when the workplace accident occurred.
4. Build a Strong Workers’ Compensation Case
When you are involved in a slip and fall at work, deadlines are critical. However, they are not the sole reason it is advantageous to get legal advice as soon as possible after the injury. It is worth mentioning that the further removed you are from the accident; the trickier it can be to assemble all the evidence needed to build a strong slip and fall case.
Preserving evidence is crucial. The first couple of things you have to preserve are your shoes and clothing that you were wearing at the time you fell. By doing so, you would be able to establish that the items you are wearing did not attribute to the fall itself.
In California, the key to winning slip and fall cases is to prove that your fall resulted from your employer’s negligence. Evidence of negligence can include:
- Video footage
- Doctor’s treatment notes
- Witness statements, if possible
- Testimony from accident reconstruction experts
However, there is the risk of destruction or altering of physical evidence, intentionally or in the usual course of business. In addition, witnesses can be hard to locate one year or two years after the event; in addition, their memories are likely to become less clear and less reliable with the passage of time.
When you retain a competent and experienced attorney immediately after the accident, they have the best opportunity to collect evidence in support of your workers’ comp case and clearly establish your claim.
5. File a Claim against Your Employer with an Attorney
Filing a compensation claim against your employer could be an uncomfortable and tricky situation. Sometimes, the fear of retaliation can be enough to deter a person from even filing a workers’ comp claim. Workers’ comp lawyers understand the delicacy of the situation and have the ability to build a compelling case. Their ability to build a compelling and thorough case will benefit you considerably whether you settle your case or present the claim to a jury.
A reputable and competent California workers’ compensation lawyer can help you:
Take care of the seemingly confusing or complicated paperwork. You have already been through enough. On top of everything else that you have been through, you do not need the stress and hassle of trying to get all your documentation in order.
Watch and prepare well for various deadlines. Regardless of whether you are in Los Angeles, Oakland or Richmond, there are certain time limits to get a worker’s compensation claim in. While you focus on recuperating after your accident, your lawyer can make sure that you stay on schedule to make all those crucial dates.
Our experienced California workers’ compensation lawyers work to make sure that your workers’ comp claim follows the due process. Taking your employer to court over a slip and fall injury at work can be intimidating. We’ll fight to help you receive the benefits you need in order to recover from your slip and fall accident and will also help you determine if you’ve additional options to maximize your compensation. Call us today at 510-444-6555.