No one ever wants to be injured, but especially not when at their workplace. However, workplace injuries are very common in the United States. In fact, numerous sources state that at least one person is injured every seven seconds at work. If you are in a situation where you have been injured at work due to a slip and fall incident, then you may be able to sue your workplace to recover for your injuries.
Generally, you cannot sue your employer for an injury that occurred while you were on the job. This is because most on the job injuries are handled by your state’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, not every job is a subscriber to workers’ compensation. This means that if you are injured on the job and your employer does not subscribe to workers compensation, they may be liable for the full extent of your injuries. However, if your employer is a subscriber to workers’ compensation insurance, then the amount and type of compensation that you may receive for your injuries will likely be limited.
After determining whether your workplace subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, then you may wish to file a civil lawsuit against them. Remember, you will not be allowed to do so if they subscribe to workers’ compensation insurance. But if they are not a subscriber, you will have to prove that they were negligent, in order to have a successful civil lawsuit against them.
First, you should understand that slip and fall injuries fall under the umbrella of personal injury lawsuits, specifically under the legal theory of premises liability. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you are typically seeking to recover for damages arising from the injuries you suffered. Typically those damages include medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost income, and any other damages that may have arose from the incident.
Although the laws vary by state, in order for your workplace to be liable for damages you suffered from a slip and fall injury while working, it must be proven that they were negligent. In order to demonstrate that your employer was negligent, you must typically demonstrate the following elements:
- That your employer had a duty to warn or protect you from harm. It is important to note that as an employee your employer owes you a duty to keep your workplace a safe environment;
- That your employer breached the duty of care owed to you. This means that your employer did not keep the workplace reasonably safe, and a dangerous condition that they knew or should have known to exist was present; and
- That due to that breach of duty, you suffered measurable harm.
Once again, if your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, then you will have to go through the state insurance provider in order to recover for your injuries. Further, that workers’ compensation claim will likely be the only remedy available to you.
As mentioned above, your employer owes you a duty to keep your workplace safe and free from any dangerous conditions. Dangerous conditions that may cause a slip and fall injury could be anything from icy sidewalks or puddles to defective staircases or ramps. Importantly, even if your employer did not cause the dangerous condition, they may still be liable if they knew about it, but did nothing to fix it. For example, if your employer knows that there is a hole in a walkway, and you trip and fall due to that hole, then they will be likely be liable to compensate you for your injuries.
Additionally, your employer may also be held liable for injuries that result from dangerous conditions that they should have known about. For instance, if your employer requires that you come into work during a snowstorm, they should know that the sidewalks leading into the workplace may be icy. Therefore, they owe their employees a duty to keep the workplace free from that dangerous condition by salting the sidewalks. Thus, if you slip and fall due to an icy sidewalk, your employer may be liable for your injuries.
Whether your employer will be held liable or not will all depend on the totality of the evidence against them. Therefore, it is important that if you are injured due to a slip and fall, you should make sure to collect all evidence of your employer’s wrongdoing. For example, you will want to obtain the accident report that your employer filled out, if any. Additionally, you may want to obtain testimony from any person that witnessed the incident.
Other helpful forms of evidence include any video tape that may have captured the incident, or testimony from any person that may have made your employer aware of the dangerous condition. If your employer does not cooperate and refuses to provide you with this information, all of the information may be obtained during the civil discovery phase of litigation.
As can be seen, suing your employer to recover for injuries suffered due to a slip and fall is often a difficult task. Therefore, if you have been injured at your workplace, it is important to immediately contact a knowledgeable and well qualified personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can advise you of your best legal course of action against your employer, if they are not a subscriber to workers’ compensation insurance. They may also file a civil lawsuit against your employer on your behalf, and represent your interests in court, as necessary.
If your employer is a subscriber to workers’ compensation insurance. Then you should seek out an experienced workers’ compensation attorney if you are having difficulty obtaining recovery for your injuries.