Workplace slip and fall accidents can lead to serious or even fatal injuries. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 603 Americans die from workplace slip and fall accidents every year, and 213,000 workers suffer from slip and fall injuries annually. These accidents are common across many different industries. If you’re involved in a slip and fall accident at work, you need to know what to do in order to ensure your safety and receive compensation for lost wages and medical bills.
Common Causes of Work-Related Slip and Falls
Workplace slip and fall accidents can happen in any industry, but some workers have a higher risk of injury. These include healthcare workers, factory workers, office workers, and those who work in the restaurant industry.
Some of the most common reasons why these accidents occur include:
- Uneven surfaces
- Objects or wiring on the ground
- Loose rugs and mats
- Oil spills
- Other liquid spills
- Snowy or icy ground
- Poor lighting
- Lack of handrails
- Wet or soapy surfaces
- Polished or waxed floors
- Crowded areas
When someone experiences a slip and fall at work, they may suffer from a number of different injuries that can lead to permanent disability or death. Some injuries that can occur after a slip and fall accident include:
- Sprain or strains to joints
- Broke bones
- Concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries
- Soft tissue, muscle, or nerve damage
- Spinal cord injuries
How to Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls at Work
There are many different ways that managers and workers can reduce the likelihood of someone suffering from a serious or fatal slip and fall injury. These include:
- Install handrails along stairways and other at-risk areas
- Keep walkways clear
- Clean walking surfaces
- Require workers to wear non-slip footwear
- Install better lighting
- Avoid placing cables in the middle of walkways
- Provide signage for areas with a greater risk of slip and fall accidents
- Clean up spilled liquids immediately
- Regularly survey your floor conditions
What To Do If You Slip and Fall at Work in Maryland
Even though many workplaces implement safety precautions for reducing the likelihood of slip and fall accidents, it’s impossible to prevent them entirely. If you ever suffer from a slip and fall at work, you need to take the following actions:
- Receive emergency medical treatment: If your accident leaves you with serious or life-threatening injuries, you need to seek immediate medical attention. Make sure to hold onto all documentation related to your medical treatment, including receipts, prescriptions, doctor’s notes, and other proof that you suffered from a workplace injury.
- Report the injury: You need to report your injury as soon as possible after it occurs. Otherwise, you may have difficulty proving that your injuries resulted from the slip and fall accident. If you wait more than 10 days to report the injury, you will not recover workers’ compensation.
- Fill out a workplace accident report: You may need to supply evidence that you were injured as a result of the slip and fall accident. After filling out the accident report, your employer should report it to their workers’ compensation insurance company.
- File a claim through the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission (MWCC): The MWCC provides the claim form online, and you can also request a paper form. You have 60 days to file after your accident, but you should fill out the form and submit it as soon as possible.
- Receive further medical assistance: You need to continue receiving all necessary medical treatments after your accident. Continue keeping track of all documents related to your injuries.
- Wait to receive the insurance company’s decision: After your employer submits your injury claim to their workers’ compensation insurance company, you should hear back within 21 days about whether you’ll receive compensation for your medical bills and lost wages.
Workers’ Compensation Denied in Maryland
Although employees are often able to recover compensation from insurance companies, this isn’t always the case. Insurance companies often look for reasons to deny or underpay claims. They may deny your claim if you:
- Missed important deadlines
- Had a pre-existing condition
- Failed to retain medical documentation
- Didn’t fill out the workers’ compensation form correctly
- Didn’t provide proof indicating your injuries resulted from your workplace accident
If your employer’s insurance company denies the claim, you can try to appeal their decision through the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, Maryland Circuit Court, or Maryland Appellate Court. It’s often incredibly challenging to appeal an insurance company’s denial of benefits, so you should consider hiring an experienced Maryland workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with the appeal process.
Slip and Fall at Work Settlements
Those injured at work have every right to seek workers’ compensation, and injured employees don’t need to provide proof that someone was at fault. Slip and fall at work lawsuits, on the other hand, are far more difficult to prove. In order to reach a work settlement for your injury, you need to provide proof that your employer:
- Directly caused your accident to occur
- Was aware of the likelihood of an accident but didn’t take the necessary steps to keep others safe
- Should have been aware of the potential hazard
It’s incredibly difficult to win personal injury claims against employers, but you could also file against a third party, such as another employee, supplier, property owner, or manufacturer if they were at fault for your injuries.
Contact a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If your employer’s insurance company denies your workers’ compensation claim, you may have to pay out of pocket for expensive medical bills and lost wages. In the event that you believe your claim was unfairly denied, you need to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you with the appeals process. For workers’ compensation legal support in Maryland, call Zirkin & Schmerling Law at 410-753-4611, or get a free case consultation by clicking here.