Workplace accidents can occur at any workplace – even in a home, remote work setting. Whether it’s wet floors, hallways cluttered with equipment or debris, the workplace contains many hazards that could cause a slip and fall accident. When that accident results in an injury, you may be eligible to file a claim and receive workers compensation benefits.
If you’ve been injured after a slip and fall at work, make sure to follow these steps to protect your rights and receive workers compensation for your losses.
Can I File for Workers Compensation After a Slip and Fall at Work?
Generally, employees can claim workers compensation benefits if they are injured at work – regardless of fault. Workers compensation benefits include compensation for the cost of medical expenses as well as lost wages (or a portion of) for the period during which the employee cannot return to work or can only return to light duty.
Most employers in New York and New Jersey are required to carry workers compensation insurance to provide compensation and manage medical benefits. However, the process of actually obtaining workers compensation benefits after a slip and fall can be complex and challenging.
Seek Medical Attention
The severity of an injury suffered in a fall can be extensive, including fractures, head injuries, spinal cord trauma, back injuries, and neck injuries. In these instances, emergency medical personnel are called and medical attention begins immediately.
Keep in mind, even serious injuries can be slow to present with symptoms, which allows them time to develop into something even more serious and more difficult to treat. Head injuries and soft tissue injuries, like whiplash, are relatively common in falls.
Don’t be tempted to ignore your injuries and jump right back into work. Put your health first and seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe, getting medical attention early can be critical to proving your case later.
After you report the accident and file for workers compensation, your employer or their insurance company may require you to get an Independent Medical Exam (IME) or require medical authorization for treatment. For instance, your care may require expensive diagnostic tests, like MRIs or CT scans. Or, you may need to see a specialist for care. In these cases, the insurance company (or employer) may require medical treatment authorization before you can receive treatment -- or be left paying the costs out-of-pocket.
An element of your slip and fall workers compensation claim will include proving that your fall and resulting injuries happened at work. If you’re able, take photographs of any hazards that you believe may have contributed to the fall such as jagged or slick flooring, equipment or cords strewn on the ground, dimly lit hallways or stairwells.
Keep your medical records, bills, expenses and any other documentation related to your injury. You may also want to take pictures of the injured areas as you recover.
Report the Accident Promptly
Most states have rigid deadlines to file a workers compensation claim. New York mandates 30 days while In New Jersey, employees have 14 days to notify their employer of a workplace accident with few exceptions. Filing a late claim or failing to report the accident to your employer could result in your claim being denied completely.
Many employers may have a policy or procedure to follow after a workplace accident. Make sure to follow company procedures. Be wary of how you phrase your condition and avoid making statements that downplay your injuries.
Contact a Workers Compensation Lawyer
Especially for serious injuries, it is important to have an advocate who understands the complexity of the workers compensation system and can guide you through the process as you focus on healing. An attorney will architect your claim and protect your rights to receive the maximum level of benefits. Oftentimes, insurance companies may delay, deny or improperly classify a disability or injury in order to pay less benefits.
While the workers compensation benefits process may seem straight-forward, it does not necessarily guarantee that you will be compensated fairly. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout New Jersey and New York with workers’ compensation cases. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result. Contact us today for a free consultation.