The last thing people want is to get injured at work. However, the precautions put in place by governments and employers to keep workers safe can’t prevent every injury that might happen. Slip and fall accidents especially are extremely common, accounting for a quarter of all workplace injuries in the United States. While worker’s compensation might be able to cover the damages, sometimes it isn’t enough.
The Law Place can help you pursue slip and fall injury lawsuits. Our team of accident attorneys have the combined experience of over 75 years and can offer exceptional legal aid for your slip and fall lawsuit. If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident at work, you may have legal recourse outside of a worker’s compensation claim.
The Law Place recommends speaking with an attorney about your case before filing any claim with your employer’s insurance. Our law firm has a privileged attorney-client relationship meaning no one knows about the meeting except us. Explore your legal options first and find out what compensation you deserve.
Schedule your free consultation with The Law Place and speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer today. Each case is unique, and you could be entitled to more damages than you know.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444.
What Is a Slip and Fall?
A slip and fall is a type of injury that occurs when an individual falls due to a slippery floor or surface that directly causes the person to lose their footing or balance. This can happen in a myriad of places, and the individual circumstances that lead to the accident can vary widely. A slip and fall is always the result of a substance that makes walking or navigating across the ground unmanageable and hazardous. Ice, oil, or grease are examples of this.
For example, imagine you are working at a restaurant. While cutting vegetables in the kitchen, you notice vegetable oil has been spilled on the floor. You don’t have time to clean it yourself, and it is not technically in your job description. You tell the chef, owner, or manager about the spill and then go about your business. It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure a sign has been placed around the spill, warning of the hazard, and then to get it cleaned up in a reasonable time frame.
About an hour later, you slip and fall on the vegetable oil while carrying your knife, injuring your hip, and cutting your arm in the process. In this case, you are entitled to worker’s compensation covered by Florida No-Fault law, which covers your medical expenses and lost wages.
These types of injuries are far too common. According to The Center for Disease Control, unintentional falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injury in the United States. Slip and fall-related injuries are the cause of 15% of accidental deaths, second only to auto accidents. An injury resulting from a fall at work accounts for nearly 25% of all personal injury claims.
In short, slip and fall cases are serious business.
For a free legal consultation, call 941-444-4444
What Does No-Fault Law in Florida Mean?
Florida defers to No-Fault law concerning worker’s compensation claims. This means that there is no need to determine negligence in a workplace accident. Under Florida Statute Chapter 440, all businesses employing four or more employees must carry worker’s compensation insurance. All personal injury compensation claims are processed through a third-party insurer, who covers all economic expenses and lost wages related to the injury and time taken off work.
When you file a worker’s compensation claim, your company will likely make you waive all rights you may have to pursue additional non-economic damages, known as pain and suffering. However, if you work as a contractor and are injured on a third party’s property, you may be able to file suit for these types of damages in addition to a worker’s compensation claim against your employer. This can be property negligence or another type of claim, as determined by your personal injury attorney.
What Is the Best Way to Prevent Slip and Falls at Work?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information on the best ways to prevent the occurrence of a trip, slip, and fall injury:
- Make sure to keep floors clean and dry when possible
- Provide warning signs for wet floor areas
- Maintain drainage systems for wet work processes
- Use mats, false floors, and other dry surfaces on the ground when necessary
- Keep aisles and passageways clean, dry, and in good repair
- Keep exits free from obstruction
- Ensure hazardous environments are reported immediately and corrected as soon as possible
Doing all of these things and more can make all the difference in preventing different kinds of slip and falls. Failing to do so can result in lawsuits for businesses and property owners in which they will be deemed negligent and responsible for personal injury damages. The business’s worker’s compensation insurance will pay out these damages as per Florida No-Fault law.
How Do I Sue a Company for a Slip and Fall?
If you file for worker’s compensation after a slip and fall with your Florida employer, in most cases, you will not be allowed to sue in civil court for non-economic damages. However, there are certain cases in which you can file in civil court and sue your employer or a third-party company.
Filing Suit Against Your Employer
- Intentional harm by your employer – If your employer took action against you with the direct intention of harming you, you can sue them for damages. This can include punching, kicking, pushing, or other acts stemming from a physical altercation. However, this does not include negligent acts, such as not providing you with health insurance or adequate work safety precautions. You cannot sue based on these measures after a slip and fall unless your employer intentionally causes you to slip.
- Your employer has inadequate or no worker’s compensation insurance – In this case, you may be able to sue your employer outside of No-Fault law. If you are employed in a very small company with less than four employees, your employer is not legally obligated to carry worker’s compensation insurance. If you are injured in a slip and fall at work, the legitimacy of your case will have to be reviewed by a lawyer or your insurance provider.
Filing Suit Against a Third Party
- Injury resulting from the use of toxic substances – If you work with or around toxic substances and suffer an injury as a result, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of the product. In the case of a slip and fall, toxic substances may compound your injuries if you fall into harmful chemicals or slip because of them. If the manufacturer is found liable, they will have to compensate for your pain and suffering claims outside of the worker’s comp.
- Injury resulting from the use of defective products – If you slip and fall as a result of defective or poorly made products, you may be able to sue the manufacturer of those products. For example, you work as a janitor and your floor wax machine malfunctions, causing you to injure yourself by slipping, you can sue the maker of the machine. If the manufacturer is found liable, you can claim pain and suffering damages outside of your worker’s comp.
- Injury resulting from a contractor or subcontractor – If you slip and injure yourself due to the negligent actions of a third-party contractor or subcontractor, you can sue them for pain and suffering damages.
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How Much Can You Get for a Slip and Fall at Work?
The amount of financial compensation provided to you by your worker’s compensation claim is dependent on your circumstances. How much you get paid hourly or by salary, the extent and seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of time you must take off work to recover will affect the final figure. Legal advice provided by a qualified personal injury lawyer can help make sure you get the correct amount from your worker’s comp case.
If you are seriously injured, the final worker’s comp settlements can range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, these cases are rare and require extensive documentation of the financial and physical hardship you may endure after your slip and fall accident.
Most times, a slip and fall may result in minor injuries and a bruised ego. When an injury is more serious, it is important to consult with a personal injury lawyer regarding the law surrounding the situation and what compensation you may be entitled to.
How Much Time Do You Have to Sue After a Slip and Fall?
You must file your worker’s compensation claim within two years of the accident. It is important to keep photos or other types of records of the injury and to retain employer pay stubs that evidence you missed work due to your injury.
If you are injured by a third party while you are at work, you typically have the same amount of time to sue for damages. However, according to Florida Statute 440.39(4)(a), worker’s compensation insurance can sue on behalf of the employee to recoup their losses due to the third party’s negligence. If insurance files a suit, the employee is not able to sue as well. Insurance providers can file suit if the employee has not filed a claim within the first year after injury. If insurance does not make a claim, the employee is still able to sue the third party on their own.
What Do I Do If I Fall at Work?
In the case of injuries resulting from a slip at work, The Law Place recommends contacting a qualified personal injury attorney before filing a worker’s compensation claim. Your case may merit more than what insurance companies wish to provide. Your employer and their insurance may pressure you into signing a worker’s comp agreement that bars you from pursuing non-economic damages stemming from your injury and the anguish it may cause. Don’t cave in. Consult an attorney first before signing anything.
As outlined above, No-Fault law in Florida makes filing a case against your employer tough or impossible. If a lawyer determines your case doesn’t meet the requirements, your employer’s insurance is required to cover the economic burden of your fall quickly and efficiently. File a claim as soon as possible before your medical bills stack up as you recover from your injuries.
Make sure to provide the following to ensure you get the maximum compensation available to you:
- Records of medical treatment
- Medical bills and prescription records
- Employer documents
- Income tax forms
- Photos of your injury/ injuries
- Photos of the hazardous environment
Providing all of these things to your employer’s insurance will help guarantee adequate compensation for your injuries.
Consult Our Qualified Workplace Slip and Fall Attorneys Today
Have you suffered a slip and fall injury at work?
Before you make your worker’s compensation claim, consult with our qualified personal injury attorneys to find out your options. You may be entitled to more than insurance dictates, and we can help highlight the strengths of your case. Our law firm has over 75 years of combined experience, and our team of attorneys works together on every case. Attorney-client privilege means your employer won’t know we met, and you will be protected from the potential blowback of pursuing your options outside of worker’s compensation.
Schedule your free consultation with The Law Place today to discuss your legal options.
Slip and falls are no joke.
Call The Law Place today at (941) 444-4444.