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Slip and Fall Accidents at Work – What You Need to Know

When workers are injured or killed in slip and fall accidents at work, the worker and his or her family may be able to file claims for compensation and money damages in one or more of the following ways. First, if the worker was an employee, then a Workers’ Compensation claim for medical, wage loss and possibly death benefits can be filed. Second, if the injured worker was an independent contractor or if the employer was uninsured or if the responsible party that caused the fall was a third-party other than the worker’s employer, then a lawsuit seeking compensation for pain and suffering can be filed. 

Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of missed work days due to workplace injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 850 workers suffer fatal injuries due to falls at work.[1] Thousands more face injuries as a result of falls. Falls can happen at all types of workplaces, including office-type jobs, and employees need to know what to do if they are injured in a slip and fall accident at work to protect their right to seek compensation.

These cases, however, are complicated due to workers’ compensation insurance. As such, you need to know your rights to ensure you do all you can to protect your finances and well-being after a fall. Our team of nationally recognized attorneys, who specialize exclusively in maximizing the settlement value of slip and fall cases like yours, are available to help you wherever your slip and fall at work accident happened. We can join forces and co-counsel your case with the top trial attorneys in your state or we will connect you with a premises liability lawyer who holds himself or herself to the same high professional and ethical standards that we do. 

We are here to help you – wherever and whenever you need us.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents at Work

Slip and fall accidents at work can happen for a variety of reasons. However, some causes are more common than others. These include:

  • Slippery walkways
  • Spills that are not cleaned up quickly
  • Tripping hazards in the walkway
  • Dust on floors
  • Loose floor mats or tiles
  • Uneven flooring
  • Obstructions in the walkway
  • Poor lighting
  • Ice and snow accumulation on outdoor walkways

Each of these hazards increases your risk of a fall. They also make the employer liable for any resulting injuries if you do suffer a fall.

Understanding Workers' Compensation Benefits & Eligibility

Workers’ compensation benefits are provided to employees and their families when an employee is injured or killed in a slip and fall accident at work. These benefits help injured workers pay for their slip and fall-related medical bills. They also reimburse injured workers for lost wages they would have earned if their injuries had not disabled them from working. Additionally, Workers’ Comp death benefits provide financial support to families who have lost loved ones in fatal slip and fall accidents in the workplace.

The two key eligibility factors for Workers’ Compensation benefits in most states – including Michigan – are: (1) the worker’s status as an “employee” of the employer, and (2) the fact that the injury occurred at work, i.e., the injury arose out of and in the course of the injured person’s employment.

Most states consider multiple factors in determining whether a worker qualifies as an “employee” and, thus, is subject to a state’s Workers’ Compensation laws. Frequently, a worker is deemed to be an “employee” for Worker’s Comp purposes if his or her employer is required to withhold federal income tax from the worker’s paychecks.

 

Importantly, eligibility for Workers’ Comp benefits does not depend on fault or negligence by a worker’s employer. In other words, a worker who is injured in a slip and fall accident in the workplace does not have to show that his or her employer was negligent in order to recover Workers’ Comp benefits.

Pain and suffering compensation for slip and fall accidents at work

You can sue for pain and suffering compensation after a slip and fall accident at work only under the following limited circumstances: (1) a negligent third party such as a property owner caused your slip and fall, (2) you were an independent contractor, not an “employee,” or (3) your employer did not have Workers’ Comp insurance.

The circumstances above are important and critical exceptions to the “exclusive remedy” provisions that exist in many states’ Workers’ Compensation laws – including Michigan’s – whereby the only remedy that injured employees have against their employers is a recovery for medical expenses and lost wages only. Subject to the few exceptions mentioned above, most “exclusive remedy” provisions prohibit injured workers from suing their employers for compensation for their pain and suffering.
It is important to note that – unlike a claim for Workers’ Comp benefits – a slip and fall lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation under one of the exceptions above depends on the injured worker being able to prove negligence on the part of the third party or his or her employer.

When a slip and fall accident at work has taken the life of your loved one and an exception to the “exclusive remedy” rule applies, you and your family may be able to pursue a claim for pain and suffering compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This allows families to recover damages for loss of their loved one’s society, companionship and financial support.

The Aftermath of Work Slip and Fall Accidents

If you suffer a fall and an injury, the steps you take afterward are important. Not only do they protect your physical health, but they also ensure you have the right to file any potential claim and recover damages. Yet, when facing lost wages and the pain of an injury, you may find it challenging to focus on the next steps. Here is what you need to do to protect yourself:

What to Do After a Slip and Fall at Work

Report the incident to your supervisor immediately after a work slip and fall accident, even though the law gives you 90 days to provide your employer with notice of your slip and fall injury. However, do not take the blame for what happened, even if they push you. Saying the accident is your fault could jeopardize any possible pain and suffering compensation claim you may have.

 

Once you have reported and documented what happened, contact an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer to discuss what happened at your workplace. The sooner you get legal help, the better your chances of being awarded full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Documenting Your Injuries and Medical Care

After your accident, visit the doctor as soon as possible. This visit starts the process of documenting your slip and fall injuries. It also shows that your injuries are severe enough to cause you to seek medical care and compensation. This documentation becomes an integral part of building a case and is critical to helping you get back to health.

Gathering Evidence of Accident Scene and Injury-Related Expenses

If you can, take photos and videos of the scene where the accident occurred. These will help you prove why you fell, which will be critical to your ability to identify and determine who is liable for your fall and injuries. Document any injury-related expenses, such as doctor’s visits and travel expenses to appointments. They can all be part of the damages you seek after the accident.

Understanding Your Legal Rights After a Work Accident

If your workplace created an unsafe environment that caused you to fall, you deserve compensation through a Workers Compensation claim and possibly a lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation. However, you must file the claim properly and in the right time period to make such a claim. Here is how this works under Michigan state law:

Proving Your Employer's Negligence

As noted above, your employer’s negligence is not relevant to a claim for Workers’ Comp benefits and thus you do not need to prove that issue in order to be entitled to benefits. However, if you are filing a lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation under one of the exceptions to the “exclusive remedy” rule, then you will need to prove that your employer or the responsible third-party was negligent in causing your slip and fall. 

To prove negligence, the following facts must be true:

  1. Your employer or the responsible third-party owed you a duty of care to protect you from dangerous conditions and to make the premises safe for you. 
  2. Your employer or the responsible third-party breached their duty of care. 
  3. That breach of duty caused your slip and fall accident at work.
  4. You suffered injuries, including noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages. 

 

Michigan's Statute of Limitations for Work Slip and Fall Lawsuits

The statute of limitations for work slip and fall lawsuits varies depending on whether you are filing a Workers’ Compensation claim or a claim for pain and suffering compensation based on one of the three exceptions to the “exclusive remedy” provision.

If you are filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, then you must provide notice of your slip and fall injury to your employer within 90 days of your fall and you must make a claim for compensation for your injury to your employer within 2 years of suffering your fall injury. (MCL 418.318(1)) Failure to file a claim for compensation before the expiration of the 2-year statute of limitations invalidates your claim, meaning you lose your right to claim and recover Workers’ Comp benefits.

If you are filing a slip and fall lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation because your injury was caused by a negligent third-party other than your employer, or because you were an independent contractor (not an employee), or because your employer was uninsured, then the statute of limitations gives you 3 years from the date of your injury to file your lawsuit. (MCL 600.5805(2)) Failure to file within the 3-year statute of limitations results in your claim and lawsuit being time-barred, meaning you cannot file the lawsuit and you are prohibited from seeking compensation for your pain and suffering.



Potential Damages Recoverable to a Work Slip and Fall Case

You may be able to recover the following compensation, damages and benefits for your slip and fall accident at work: 

  • Medical care for injuries
  • Therapies and rehabilitation to support healing
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages, both current and future
  • Disability and ongoing medical problems
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident at Work? Call now!

Michigan Slip and Fall Lawyers is here for you and can help you no matter what state you were in when you were injured in a slip and fall accident at work. Our attorneys are nationally recognized for their commitment to specializing exclusively in helping slip and fall victims get the maximum settlements possible in their cases. That means we can be there to help you. If you were working outside the state of Michigan at the time of your injury, then we can work with some of the most knowledgeable premises liability attorneys in your state to make sure you win the full and fair compensation you are entitled to. If we can’t help you, we can often put you in touch with both an experienced workers compensation lawyer and premises liability lawyer in your state who can get you the best possible settlement.

Call us right now (855) 905-0332 for a free, no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced slip and fall lawyers. We will answer all of your questions about your legal rights to Workers’ Compensation benefits and compensation for your pain and suffering.

We do not charge up-front fees or costs and we will never ask you for payments of any kind while your case is pending. And, ultimately, you only pay our fee if we deliver you a winning settlement or trial verdict.

Detroit Slip and Fall Attorneys FAQs

Here we address the questions that people most frequently ask. We hope our answers are helpful to you and your family. However, if you still have additional questions or questions we have not answered, we hope you will reach out to us. You can call us anytime for a free consultation.

If you fall at work, is it workers' comp?

If your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and you slip and fall on the job, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. However, if a third-party is responsible for your fall or if you are an independent contractor or if your employer did not have the legally required Workers’ Comp insurance, then you may also be able to file a lawsuit for pain and suffering compensation.

Can you sue for falling at work?

You may be able to sue for pain and suffering compensation as a result of your slip and fall accident at work if one of the three exceptions to the “exclusive remedy” rule apply. Generally, Workers’ Comp benefits is the exclusive remedy for an injured worker, meaning the worker cannot sue his or her employer for pain and suffering compensation resulting from the employer’s negligence. This limitation does not apply if the injured worker was an independent contractor or if the employer was uninsured or if the responsible party that caused your fall was someone other than your employer. 

What should be done immediately after an injury in the workplace?

After falling at work, the two most important things are to report the accident to your employer and to seek medical attention. Only then should you talk to an attorney.

If you fall at work, what should you not do?

If you fall at work, sometimes considerable pressure can be put on employees to admit fault by their employers, who think this will save them money on their own workers compensation premiums, or will save them from facing a claim that may raise their rates. Do not be bullied into  admitting fault. Also, you should never sign a settlement release without first reviewing the document with an attorney.

Get a Free Consultation With A Metro Detroit Farmington Hills Slip and Fall Lawyer Now

To speak with an experienced attorney about your case, call us now or fill out our contact form for a free consultation. There is absolutely no cost or obligation. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can answer all your legal questions about Michigan’s slip and fall law and explain how we can make the law work for you.

 

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