Slip-and-Fall Injury at Work in Wilmington

individual walking down wet stairs

Slip and falls are serious dangers in Wilmington workplaces. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that falls caused more than a quarter of all nonfatal work injuries involving days away from work. The CDC says falls are among the top three causes of work-related injuries that result in trips to the emergency room. 

If you’ve suffered a slip-and-fall injury in the workplace, you could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, we’re ready to help you demand compensation to give you peace of mind about the future. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience helping workers in the Wilmington area and throughout North Carolina. We are ready to help you, too.

Don’t wait another moment to demand the money you’re owed. Contact our offices today to speak with a Wilmington work accident lawyer at no cost to you.

What Is a Workplace Slip-and-Fall Injury?

A workplace slip-and-fall injury is a fall caused by a slip or trip suffered on the job. Depending on the angle of the fall, the part of the body hits, and a range of other factors, the results can range from muscle sprains and broken bones to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries. 

Even relatively minor slip and falls can result in time off from work – but when they’re severe, they can result in a lifelong medical condition that requires expensive treatment.

Common Reasons for a Workplace Fall Injury in Wilmington

Many potential hazards in the workplace could cause a slip-and-fall accident, including:

  • Uneven floors – Large rugs, multiple flooring materials used in the same space, and other hazards can make a floor uneven, causing employees to lose their balance and fall to the ground.
  • Wet floors – Spilled drinks, running water in bathrooms, newly cleaned floors, and similar hazards can make for a slippery floor surface, increasing the likelihood of a slip-and-fall accident.
  • Weather hazards – Employees may track rain, snow, or other precipitation into the workplace, especially near entryways, that can cause an accident. In bad weather, employees might also slip and fall in a parking lot or on a building’s exterior grounds.
  • Loose cords or rugs – While heavy floor mats can absorb water and make a floor less slippery, lighter rugs can slide out from under someone as they walk, causing them to fall. Similarly, power cords strewn about the floor can cause someone to take a wrong step and fall.
  • Poor lighting – If you cannot see where you are going, you also cannot see potential hazards in your path.
  • Unmarked stairs – Unmarked or poorly marked stairs are a slip-and-fall hazard because workers may have difficulty seeing individual steps without these markings.
  • Potholes – Potholes in a workplace parking lot can throw off an employee’s balance if they step in one, especially in bad weather.
  • Clutter – Never leave boxes or other loose objects scattered on the floor of your workplace, as workers can easily slip or trip on the clutter and fall to the ground.
  • Lack of railings – Staircases, escalators, and entry ramps should all be equipped with handrails so workers can hold on to them and keep their balance. That is especially important in outdoor areas, as rain, snow, and ice can make maintaining your balance much harder.
  • Narrow stairwells – Narrow stairwells are hard to navigate, especially if multiple people are trying to use the stairs at the same time. That makes overly narrow stairwells a significant slip-and-fall accident hazard.

Am I Able to Sue My Employer After a Fall Injury at Work?

In general, North Carolina does not allow injured workers to sue their employer after a slip-and-fall accident. Under the state’s workers’ compensation system, employees give up their right to file a lawsuit in return for receiving no-fault benefits to help them recover after an injury suffered on the job.

Workers’ compensation benefits cover all necessary medical treatment and offset a portion of your lost wages, but they do not make up for all your losses in a slip-and-fall accident. However, if someone other than your employer or a co-worker is responsible for a slip-and-fall accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against them and pursue compensation for losses not covered by workers’ compensation.

There is one exception where you could potentially file a lawsuit against your employer: if they deliberately caused you to fall. If you believe that was your situation, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help determine if you have a case.

What Compensation Could I Receive for a Workplace Fall in Wilmington, NC?

If you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina and your claim is approved, your employer’s insurance provider will cover all reasonable and medically necessary treatments related to the accident. 

You are also entitled to wage loss benefits if you are unable to return to work or if you can return to work but in a limited capacity. In the case of the former, these benefits are equal to two-thirds of your average wages and are capped by state law. In the latter case, the benefits equal two-thirds of the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident wages.

You may be able to recover additional compensation if someone other than your employer or a fellow employee is responsible for the accident. While you usually cannot sue your employer after a slip-and-fall accident at work, a third-party personal injury claim allows you to seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • The total amount of your lost wages
  • Your reduced future earnings due to a disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Damaged personal property

What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in Wilmington?

There are two critical deadlines to remember if you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident at work. The first is that you must notify your employer about your injury within 30 days of when the accident happened. The second is that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. If you miss either of these deadlines, your workers’ compensation claim will most likely be denied.

Steps to Take After a Wilmington Workplace Fall Accident 

Here is what you need to do after a workplace fall in Wilmington:

  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, even if you initially don’t think you’ve suffered severe injuries. You likely need to see a company-approved doctor if you are not taken to an emergency medical facility.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, any hazards that may have caused you to fall, and your injuries.
  • Report the accident to your employer in writing, or ask someone you trust to do it for you if your injuries are too severe.
  • Hold on to all your medical records.
  • Do not give any statements to your employer’s insurer until you have spoken to an attorney.
  • Consult with a Wilmington workplace injury lawyer.

Contact an Experienced Slip-and-Fall Attorney in Wilmington Today

If you have been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident at work in Wilmington, you could be owed compensation through either the workers’ compensation system or a third-party lawsuit. 

Contact Poisson, Poisson & Bower for a free case review and learn more about your options from an experienced slip-and-fall attorney in Wilmington.