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Slip-and-fall accidents are one of the most common causes of workplace injuries. Falls can result in significant recovery times, lost income, and financial instability. Most employees injured on the job have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, but the process of securing those benefits can be complicated and daunting.
Getting the benefits you deserve shouldn’t be a challenge, but at Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, we realize that too often it is. That is why we are committed to helping victims of slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace seek North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits with less hassle. We’re ready to fight for your right to comprehensive benefits following a workplace accident.
If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident in North Carolina, contact our office today. We offer free, confidential case evaluations to answer your workers’ compensation questions.
What Defines a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
A workplace slip-and-fall accident happens when an employee slips or trips while at work, and the resulting fall causes an injury. An example would be an employee slipping on a spilled liquid on the floor or tripping over a cord lying across a walkway.
When a slip-and-fall injury occurs outside of work on someone else’s property, the injured individual may pursue what’s called a premises liability claim against the at-fault party, such as a property owner who failed to remedy a hazard. However, when the accident happens at a place of employment, an employee can generally seek workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of who was at fault.
If an on-the-job fall happens on a non employer’s property – for example, a delivery driver falling at a customer’s house – the injured worker could be able to bring a premises liability claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.
What Compensation Might I Be Eligible For?
The compensation you may be eligible for after a slip-and-fall accident depends on the type of claim you file. In many cases, a slip-and-fall accident will result in a workers’ compensation claim. If an employee files for workers’ compensation, they may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses and a portion of their lost income. A victim may also recover money for out-of-pocket expenses like medication or rehabilitation tools like crutches.
If a party other than your employer is somehow responsible for causing the accident, a third-party injury claim may also be an option for recovering compensation. Filing a claim against a negligent third party can be challenging, but a victim may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Filing a third-party claim is very different from filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Talk to an experienced North Carolina workplace injury attorney for advice on what options may be available to you. At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, our attorneys are very skilled at coordinating workers’ compensation claims with third-party claims when a worker is injured while working on someone else’s premises.
Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents at Work
According to data from the National Floor Safety Institute, slip-and-fall accidents are one of the leading causes of workers’ compensation claims in the U.S. Some of the most common causes of these accidents in the workplace include:
- Spilled foods or drinks
- Tears in carpeting
- Cracks in flooring
- Poorly maintained flooring
- Damaged stairs
- Incorrectly marked or improperly marked steps
- Stairs without handrails
- Poor lighting
- Obstacles in walkways
- Cords or other hazards in walkways
- Ice or snow on walkways
- Potholes or cracks in parking lots
- Escalator accidents
Injuries in Workplace Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Falls can cause devastating injuries. Some of the most common injuries related to workplace falls include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
North Carolina Slip-and-Fall Statistics
The National Floor Safety Institute finds that slip-and-fall accidents account for nearly 1 million emergency room visits each year. The organization also estimates that bone fractures happen in about 5 percent of people who suffer a slip-and-fall accident.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls, slips, and trips accounted for 27.5 percent of nonfatal injuries and illnesses resulting from days away from work in one recent year. There were 244,000 such cases that year.
The BLS also recorded 880 fatalities related to falls, slips, or trips that year, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.
Estimates from the National Safety Council suggest that, on average, victims involved in slip-and-fall accidents will be out of work for 13 days as they recover. Some are out of work for much longer.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip-and-fall Workers’ Compensation Claim?
North Carolina gives victims two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim. While victims have two years to file a claim, there are steps in the process that a victim should complete immediately to give them the best chance at filing a successful claim.
Employees are also required to provide oral and written notice of the accident and injury as soon as possible to their employer. It must be delivered within 30 days of the accident at the latest. If you have questions about filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact our knowledgeable North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys immediately.
How to Prevent Workplace Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Employers and employees can help keep each other safe in the workplace. Keep these tips in mind to keep your workplace as accident-free as possible:
- Keep clutter, products, and debris off walkways and paths.
- Wrap up loose cords and tuck them away.
- Make sure all stairs have handrails and steps are clearly marked.
- Put up caution signs when floors or walkways are wet.
- Use salt or de-icing chemicals on walkways in the winter.
- Check floors regularly for loose carpeting, chips, or cracks.
- If you notice a hazardous condition, report it to your supervisor and keep a paper trail.
- Clean up spills immediately.
- Secure rugs to the floor so they lie flat.
- Replace lightbulbs regularly.
- Recommend proper footwear.
How Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in North Carolina Can Help You
The attorneys of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, can help guide you through every step of the workers’ compensation claim process. Our firm has over 40 years of experience helping North Carolina slip-and-fall victims just like you pursue the benefits they deserve. We can help you file a claim, investigate the accident, and recover evidence that may help strengthen your workers’ compensation claim.
For a free, confidential consultation, contact our office today.