What to Do if You Slip and Fall at Work

March 4, 2024 @ 6:06 pm

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of workplace injuries, and you don’t have to fall far to get hurt. Aside from the embarrassment we associate with falling, the most concerning factor may be how simple the cause can be. 

Most causes revolve around housekeeping issues or maintenance oversights—unlabeled floors slippery from moisture or dust, uneven flooring or walkways, loose mats or floor coverings, loose or damaged flooring, poor lighting, obstructions, trailing cables or cords, poor lines of sight or visibility, unstable handrails, or wet or muddy ground, for example. 

What is not as simple is knowing what to do when something does cause you to slip and fall at work. Here are the steps we recommend taking when a slip and fall accident occurs at work or other public space:

  • Stop to assess your condition. You don’t always realize how badly you’ve been hurt right away because falls trigger an adrenaline rush in the body. Adrenaline is great for sending more oxygen into your lungs, increasing your strength and sharpening your mental focus. However, it also can temporarily decrease your body’s ability to feel pain. Your body may need an hour or more for the effects of an adrenaline rush to wear off, so don’t brush yourself off and move on too quickly.

  • Notify your supervisor. Even if you don’t think that you were hurt, report the incident to your supervisor immediately. Be sure to file a written accident report so that the incident is formally documented. Filing an accident report right away is the first step in protecting yourself in case your injury is significant and you find yourself in need of workers’ compensation benefits. It also motivates employers to take follow-up actions to prevent future accidents. Even if you weren’t injured badly, someone else could be if a situation isn’t corrected. According to OSHA, “The majority of accidents are forecasted by near misses in the workplace.”

  • Seek medical attention. Treating a potential injury immediately is key to healing and a quick recovery. What at first seems to you like a minor issue may actually have lasting repercussions on your mobility and wellbeing. Medical personnel know what to look for under certain circumstances and what signs may indicate a more significant injury than is at first apparent. Getting checked out ensures you receive the medical care you need immediately and creates a record of your injuries that you may need later.

  • Record details about the incident. Unfortunately, employer accident reports and medical records may not be enough to prompt an employer to do the right thing if you are injured in a workplace slip and fall accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s own Accident Investigation Outline stresses the importance of photographs and sketches of the scene and any visible injuries. Witness statements are also important. A timeline approach may help organize records and preserve the sequence of events.

  • File a workers’ compensation claim. While laws vary by state, as a rule, nearly all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance that will cover medical expenses, lost wages and disability benefits for any employee injured on the job. According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission,
    • “All public and private employers in Louisiana, with limited exceptions, are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Any person hired to perform services for remuneration, whether full or part-time, is considered an employee.”

    • “If your injury or illness is found to be job-related, you may be entitled to receive medical care for the injury or illness, disability compensation for a portion of your lost wages, rehabilitation services, and, in the event of your death, benefits payable to your survivors.”

Typically, your employer should have you fill out the necessary forms. Then, they will submit them to their workers’ compensation insurance provider. Guidance states that employers must submit claims to their insurer within 10 days of knowledge of a “job injury resulting in death or lost time in excess of one week.”

  • Get legal guidance. If you encounter problems in receiving compensation, you may need legal help. Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies may seek to downplay the seriousness of your injuries or even claim that the injuries were not job-related. They may simply deny your claim despite its merit for any number of reasons. 

The laws and processes associated with workers’ compensation are complex, and one missed deadline or error on a form can result in denial. While employers are not required to hold your old job for you if you’re unable to perform the work, employers are not allowed to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Navigating all of the rules, regulations, forms, money issues, career challenges, medical issues and emotionally charged decisions may require legal help.

While some industries have higher incidences of slip and fall injuries, no career is exempt. An office worker can slip on a curled entryway mat, and a construction worker can trip over debris left in a walkway. Anyone can suffer a workplace slip and fall injury that makes them unable to work, and you have rights to compensation under the law.

If you slip and fall at work and suffer a workplace injury, you need to act right away. Reach out to the experienced attorneys at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik for your free consultation. Getting compensation for a slip and fall injury that happened because you were working shouldn’t be a struggle.


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