I Slipped and Fell at Work. What Should I Do?
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Workers’ Compensation
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident at work, it is critical that you undertake the appropriate actions. Failing to do so could jeopardize your right to receive full compensation. Below is a general description of the steps you need to take.
Seek Medical Attention
Your first priority after a slip and fall accident is to seek immediate medical treatment. This means on-the-scene first aid as well as institutional care in an emergency room. Even if you feel okay, you might not be. Many serious medical conditions, such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), generate late-breaking symptoms.
Prompt medical attention will also provide documentary evidence of the nature, scope, and type of injuries you suffered. These records will also allow you to prove the precise amount of your medical expenses. Medical records are among the most credible of all forms of evidence.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
Your second priority should be to report your accident to your employer (or have someone else do it for you). Once you report the accident verbally, your employer should provide you with a First Report of Injury or Illness. Fill it out and submit it to your employer as soon as you can. Keep a copy for yourself.
Although Florida requires you to report your accident within 30 days, do so sooner if you can. Reporting the accident not only buttresses your case but might also prevent someone else from suffering an injury.
If your accident was work-related, your claim probably falls within the jurisdiction of the Florida workers’ compensation system. This system is mostly no-fault, meaning you will not have to prove your employer was at fault to win your slip and fall claim. In most cases, you can win your claim even if the accident was your fault. Additionally, your employer cannot terminate you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Nevertheless, you still need evidence to prove that your accident was work-related. You will also have to prove the dollar value of your claim. Such evidence might include:
- Medical records;
- Your injury report;
- Employment records (to prove lost earnings);
- Security camera footage of the accident;
- Eyewitness accounts;
- Your own notes and records (keeping a “pain journal” is a good idea, for example)’
- Damaged equipment; and
- Any other relevant evidence.
To win your claim, you must present “substantial evidence” that you qualify for compensation.
Inventory Your Damages Once You Reach Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)
MMI is the point, certified by your doctor, at which your medical condition is unlikely to improve any further. It is at this point that your claim can be classified as a:
- Temporary partial disability;
- Permanent partial disability;
- Temporary total disability; or a
- Permanent total disability.
Only after you reach MMI are you likely to be able to calculate the true value of your claim with any certainty. Depending on the severity and duration of your injury, you might qualify for a lump sum payment, or a long-term weekly benefits check.
File Your Worker’s Compensation Claim
You must file your claim within one (1) year from the date of your last compensation payment or medical treatment. If you miss the deadline, your claim will expire, no matter how meritorious it is. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you prepare and file your claim in a manner that maximizes your odds of success.
If your claim is successful, the workers’ compensation system will pay all of your “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses. It will also pay two-thirds of your average weekly salary, up to a statutory maximum of $1,197 per week (as of 2023). The workers’ comp system also pays out death benefits to survivors of workers who die in work-related accidents.
Special Case: Third-Party Liability
If you can identify a third party, such as a worksite property owner, who was responsible for your slip and fall accident, you can potentially file a personal injury claim against them. You will have to prove that the third party was at fault in order to succeed. You will also become eligible for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, which workers’ compensation insurance does not offer.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you suffer a work-related injury or illness that generates significant medical expenses or lost earnings, your best bet is to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. If your claim involves a third party, you might also need your lawyer to be familiar with ordinary personal injury law. Either way, your outcome is likely to be better with a lawyer than without one.
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg workplace accidents law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,