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Slip and fall injuries can have long-lasting negative impacts. You may find yourself unable to work or enjoy your usual hobbies. You may be saddled with expensive medical bills. In some cases, the slip and fall might even leave you with long-term disabilities or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
When you have a slip and fall injury at work, it's important to know your rights. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Commonwealth Law Group to discuss your options and whether you have a right to compensation.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries
Unfortunately, slip and fall injuries are quite common in the workplace. Negligent maintenance, especially of busy or older buildings, creates unsafe conditions that make it easy to lose your balance. Common causes slip and fall injuries include:
- Wet floors
- Loose hardwood or loose carpeting/rugs
- Bulges in the carpet
- Spilled food or drinks
- Potholes or sizable cracks
- Uneven surfaces such as pavement or flooring
- Tripping hazards such as exposed wiring
- Poor lighting
Slip and fall injuries could be anything from TBIs to spinal cord injuries or a neck injury. Legally, they often fall under the premises liability umbrella. There was a failure to perform a duty of care to maintain safe conditions in the workplace.
Workers' Rights Following a Slip and Fall Injury at Work
Slip and fall injuries in the workplace can be life altering, but you do have rights. Many workers find compensation for a slip and fall injury when it was caused by the negligence of the property owner. A workers' compensation lawyer or accident lawyer can help you determine if this applies to you.
Immediate Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall at Work
To prove that you are entitled to compensation, you will need to show that the property owner failed in a duty of care. That means gathering and holding onto as much evidence as you can. It also means finding advice and support from legal professionals. Here are the steps you'll need to take:
- Seek medical attention: Even if the injury doesn't seem too serious, it's better to be safe than sorry. Take care of yourself first.
- Gather evidence: Take pictures of your injury, the scene, and any relevant factors in the environment. Gather witness statements. File an incident report to make sure there is documentation backing up everything. Hold onto any paperwork you receive, such as medical records.
- Hire a workers' compensation lawyer: Even if you believe the case will be straightforward, you will want a legal professional on your side to ensure your interests are represented effectively.
- File your workers' compensation claim: Make sure you file your claim as soon as possible.
Your Right to Workers' Compensation
Virginia requires employers who have three or more employees to offer workers' compensation. This applies even to contractors and subcontractors. You likely have a right to workers' compensation if you're injured at work. In Virginia, you have 30 days to notify your employer from the date of the accident or the date that a doctor confirms you are suffering from a workplace-related accident. You must file a claim for benefits with the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission within 2 years of your date of injury. If you miss that deadline that, you will no longer be eligible for workers' compensation.
Workers' compensation covers:
- Medical bills and expenses, both immediately and for ongoing care
- Lost wages due to the injury
- Permanent partial disability benefits
- Funeral costs in the event that the injured person dies
Of course, everyone's preference would be that slip and fall accidents don't happen in the first place. There are steps employers can take to prevent accidents in the workplace, reducing the likelihood of workers' compensation claims. These include:
- Providing regular safety training and awareness: It's important for workers to know the risks that come with their job and to be educated on how to avoid accidents.
- Maintaining a clean and safe workplace: An employer is not likely to be there every time food or drink is spilled on the ground, but they can have clearly marked trash and recycling throughout the office. Put up signs to keep employees off a wet floor just after the area has been mopped. Have any necessary repairs made on the property to make sure it can be safely traversed, and block off any dangerous conditions in the meantime.
- Requiring a physical before employment: A physical confirms that the potential employee has the physical capacity to handle the job.
- Keeping a full staff: If a work team is understaffed and overwhelmed, they're more likely to get burned out and fatigued, making them less likely to be alert to their surroundings, leading to more accidents.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With Your Compensation Claim
A personal injury lawyer at Commonwealth Law Group can help you to determine if you have a case and fight for your right to compensation when you do. Our law firm will handle interactions with insurance adjusters and defense attorneys, so your claim isn't downplayed or distorted to suit the insurance company's agenda. We're experienced in dealing with insurance professionals and helping our clients get the financial recovery they deserve.
Contact Commonwealth Law Group today to learn more or schedule a free consultation.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.