Slipping and falling at work is not just embarrassing but can cause serious injuries that require a hospital stay or therapy. However, trying to get workers' compensation out of a slip and fall incident may feel impossible. In many cases, an employer may try to deny your claims to keep from paying you any money.
Don't take this kind of treatment without a fight, particularly if your fall led to injuries. In most situations like this one, you should be eligible for workers' compensation. Unfortunately, you might have to get into a serious legal fight to get the money you deserve. However, you can be ready to pursue your rights for compensation against an employer who wrongfully tries to deny you compensation.
Employers Must Compensate if Their Negligence Caused a Slip and Fall
Slip and fall cases often seem rather cut and dry, though they can be complicated if they occur at a place of employment. For example, you must prove that the employer somehow contributed to your fall through their negligence. Examples of neglect that create employer liability include:
- Knowledge of a dangerously slippery area
- Failure to repair a dangerous location
- Disregard of repeated complaints about a slippery area
- Allowance of worsening conditions around the slick spot
The last point on this list is a little harder to prove because this requires showing that your employer did something on purpose to exacerbate the situation. For example, if your employer — whether a manager, employee, or the owner of the business — removed lighting around a potentially slippery area or failed to replace burned out lights, they may be guilty of negligence.
However, the most critical part of any workers' compensation case — especially when personal injuries are involved — is whether the employer knew about a situation and did not act to improve it.
During this type of lawsuit, your employer will be forced to turn over records — such as repair logs and surveillance video — to prove either that they knew about the problem or did not. And if your employer tries to deny coverage in spite of their negligence, they may act illegally.
Denied Compensation May Be Against Your Rights
You pay workers' compensation taxes from every paycheck your employer gives you. These taxes create a fund for workers' compensation payments. And any person who gets any injury that occurs at a work site — and which is the result of employer negligence — should receive cash from this fund. However, your employer may try to deny your slip and fall coverage for a variety of reasons.
First, your employer may claim that they were unaware of the conditions that led to your fall. This defense is often a hard one for them to argue if records show multiple complaints about the slippery conditions that led to your fall. A more likely argument is either comparative negligence (where you are partially to blame) or an attempt to shift blame entirely to you.
For example, your employer may argue that you behaved in an unsafe way on an area known to be slippery. They may produce eyewitnesses who stated that you ran, jumped, or acted improperly on this surface. Comparative negligence like this argues that you were at least partly to blame for your injury and may limit the amount your employer has to pay to you.
Winning a slip and fall case for workers' compensation is often impossible without help. In a sense, trying to navigate these murky legal waters alone is likely to strand you on dangerous shores. Contact the Law Offices of Goldberg & Ibarra to learn more about your employment rights and ways to protect them.