You may automatically think it’s your employer’s responsibility to pay for any medical expenses if you slip and fall at work. You may also wonder if they are at fault or if you can sue your employer for injury from a slip and fall accident.
However, there are instances where your employer may not be responsible for these types of accidents and injuries, so it’s important to understand when a situation renders that employer liable for your workplace injury.
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits based on Title 34 Part VIII in the Pennsylvania State Code and the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. You may file a workers’ compensation claim for your injury which means you cannot sue your employer.
When You Can Claim Benefits for Your Injury
There are two instances in which you can claim a work injury for a slip and fall accident.
As You are Performing Your Duties
The legal term is “course of employment,” and it basically means that you fell and were injured while you were performing your normal tasks at work.
A prime example comes from a case in 1983, Beissel v. WCAB. A waitress slipped and fell in the restaurant she worked in. She eventually required surgery for her back injury and received workers’ compensation benefits.
Employer liability may also extend to companies in which employees work remotely. For instance, Sandberg v. JC Penney Co. Inc. was settled in the Court of Appeals in 2011. In this case, an employee working from home was injured during work hours. Even though she was working from home, the employer had the right to determine where she could work, and the did injury occur when she was performing her regular duties. Therefore, this case decided in favor of the injured worker.
Entering and Exiting Your Place of Work
You may also be entitled to workers’ compensation for your injury if it was related to your job and even if you weren’t working at the time. For example, you may have fallen while walking into the office or job site.
To qualify for benefits, you must prove that you were on the employer’s property at the time of the accident and that the incident was caused by the condition of the property. You must also be able to show that you were required to be at the location because of your employment. Icy parking lots are a prime example of situations that may lead to this type of incident.
It’s important to note that the employer may not actually own the property where the accident occurred, but it must be part of the employer’s business. The example of the parking lot incident is a good case to consider. For instance, the employer may receive deliveries from vendors in the lot, which makes it an important part of the business. They are also responsible for the upkeep of the lot so that vendors can have access.
If the parking lot is owned by a third party who is responsible for maintenance, the employer wouldn’t be responsible for accidents that occur. An injury in this lot wouldn’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, that third party could be found liable. If that is the case, you would then have grounds for a third party lawsuit and settlement.
What Defines Employer Negligence?
You might be able to sue for compensation over a slip and fall injury if your employer was negligent.
However, this definition isn’t always easy to recognize or to prove.
For example, let’s say that you fall in a puddle of water that was standing right where you needed to walk. You didn’t see the water, and you fell. If there was no attempt to clean up the mess and no signs to show the wet area, your employer might be held liable for your injury based on negligence.
A lack of proper training is another instance of employer negligence. If new employees aren’t trained on dangerous equipment or taught basic procedures and are injured as a result, the employer may be deemed liable due to negligence.
If I Slip and Fall, Can I Sue?
It’s not always easy to determine when you qualify for workers’ compensation or when you can sue if your claim is denied. You must be able to prove that the employer was at fault to have a case.
Consider certain factors that may contribute to slip and fall injuries at work:
- Water or ice on the ground
- Oil or other slippery substances on the ground
- Cables, cords or other hazards in the main walkways
- Inability to see the dangerous area due to low lighting or if you’re required to carry objects that obstruct your view
- Lack of signage for dangerous areas
You must be able to prove that you didn’t cause the accident because of carelessness or failing to follow safety protocols and instructions.
What You Should Do If You are Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at work, you should be aware of the steps you need to take.
Follow these procedures and you may have a better chance of getting approved for workers’ compensation benefits or winning a case:
- Get medical care. Go to a doctor approved by workers’ compensation as soon as possible.
- Report the incident to your supervisor or manager right away.
- Document everything about the incident and any medical care you receive. Get as many details about what happened and write everything down. Don’t rely on your memory.
- Don’t give any statements to the insurance company until you have a chance to contact an attorney.
- Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from the start. They can help you navigate the complicated and confusing aspects of workers’ compensation benefits while you focus on recovery.
Contact Us To See If Your Employer Is Liable
Workers’ compensation law in Pennsylvania is confusing and complex, and the laws can be subject to change.
That is why it’s important to work with an experienced law firm like Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo to help you get the compensation you need and deserve. We can find out if you are entitled to benefits and answer any questions you have about workers’ compensation in Pennsylvania.
Contact us for a free consultation with no obligation and see how our attorneys can help you. Give us a call today at (844) 243-4932.