Slip-and-fall accidents account for around 20% of all work-related injuries. Yet earning workers' compensation benefits for a fall injury isn't always a simple task. Discover some of the factors often weighed in workers' compensation cases. Use this information to help determine if you have a claim for compensation.
Your status at the time of the injury is essential. For legal purposes, injury victims are sometimes labeled as on-the-clock or off-the-clock. An on-the-clock employee is actively working under the direction of their employer. An off-the-clock employee is on the premises, but not in an official work-related capacity.
Slip-and-fall injuries that occur when an employee is on-the-clock are hard to refute. Off-the-clock injuries, however, leave room for an employer to deny the claim.
Consider an employee who came to the office on their day off to bring in a birthday gift for a coworker, for example. Assume the person fell and injured their knee. The employee may not qualify for workers' compensation benefits in this scenario since the individual was in the building in a non-work-related capacity.
However, an off-the-clock status does not mean an automatic denial. An off-the-clock employee in the building in an official capacity, such as for a required awards ceremony, may have a valid claim.
Reasonable Level of Care
Employers are expected to operate with a reasonable level of care concerning safety. You might have a claim for compensation if your injury resulted from your employer's failure to honor their responsibility. However, keep in mind that the term reasonable isn't always clear. Legally, the threshold for reasonableness shifts based on the scenario.
Consider a slip-and-fall injury that occurred due to a ripped piece of carpet, for example. Assume the employer learned of the tripping hazard weeks ago but failed to repair it. The actions of the employer place them outside the realm of reasonableness.
On the contrary, assume the employer blocked off the area and installed hazard signs until the appropriate repairs could be made. In this scenario, the employer would be operating with a reasonable level of care. Any employee who ignores the warning signage and injures themselves may be responsible for their own injuries.
Show that your employer was aware of the hazard and had ample opportunity to resolve the matter to prove negligence on their part.
A third-party is any person or entity operating under the direction of an employer, but not as an employee. Contractors and vendors typically fall into this category, and they could be responsible for some injuries in the workplace.
However, injured employees sometimes overcomplicate matters when a third-party is involved. Victims often assume that if their employer isn't directly responsible for their injuries, they can't file a workers' compensation claim. But that isn’t always the case.
Assume someone trips over wiring that was recently installed by an electrical contractor, for example. Legally, the electrical contractor and the employer are responsible for the individual's injuries.
Remember, workers' compensation protects employees from work-related injuries, no matter how they arise. The employee has a right to file a workers' compensation claim. They may also be able to file a personal injury suit against the contracting company. An attorney will tell you how to move forward with your claim. Don't assume you don't have options.No two claims for workers' compensation are identical. All victims should have an attorney review the details of their situation to determine if they have a valid claim for workers' compensation. At Stafford, Neal & Soule, S.C., we want to help you. Call our office to speak with a member of our legal team so that we can get to work on your behalf.