When you’re working at an office, warehouse, or any facility there’s always the danger of injuring yourself.
In fact, the Bureau of State Risk Management recently identified “slips, trips and falls” as one of the top five cases of worker’s compensation claims over the last six years.
So what exactly is a “slip, trip and fall” and what type of compensation are you eligible for in the event that you’re hurt at work?
There are several different definitions of “slips, trips, and falls”, which are listed below.
- Trip-and-fall accidents: a foreign object in the walking path.
- Stump-and-fall accidents: an impediment in the walking surface.
- Step-and-fall accidents: an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface.
- Slip-and-fall accidents: the interface of the shoe and the floor fails.
Examples of these types of accidents range from walkways and sidewalks that are slippery from the weather; floors and high traffic areas that don’t have the proper anti-slip coverings; insufficient lighting which makes it hard to navigate steps or stairs; and changes in elevations which cause people to trip or fall.
However, what is more important to note is that, since 2003, in Maryland, you do not need to “slip, trip and fall” in order to have a Workers’ Compensation claim. The Court of Appeals changed the law in the case of Harris v. Board of Education, 375 MD. 21, 825 A.2d 365 (2003), http://mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2003/43a02.pdf.
In the Harris case, the Court ruled that there does not have to be any “unusual activity” such as a “slip, trip or fall” in order to have an “accidental injury.” Opinion, p.1. Therefore, as long as the injury occurs on the job and is “causally related” to the job injury, it is now covered. So, if an employee reaches down, without a fall, and feels a pain in her back, she is now covered, as long as the physicians say that it was caused or aggravated by the work condition. (Please note that a different standard applies to Occupational Diseases, which generally happen over time, and not because of a specific date and time.)
Should you fall and hurt yourself at work it’s important to immediately report it to your supervisor or safety manager. Don’t forget to completely fill out an accident report as soon as you can.
Documenting every aspect of your accident reduces confusion in the future, and helps guarantee that you’ll be eligible for compensation.
Filing for compensation also ensures that you have the time and funds available to fully recover from your accident. This recovery includes:
- Medical bills that are causally related to the accident and injury;
- Wage loss, which is called temporary total disability;
- A permanent partial disability award for any permanent injury as a result of the accident;
- Potential future medical expenses
- A potential increase in the permanent partial disability award if your injury worsens within an allotted period of time; and
- Vocational Rehabilitation and job placement services if you cannot return to your work as a result of the accident.
Remember, Workers’ Compensation is a No Fault law, which means that it is irrelevant whether the accident was your fault. In order to fully recover and return to work, it is wise to consult with an attorney familiar with these types of accidents and the Workers’ Compensation law.
An attorney can make sure that the proper information has been filed and that the company responsible for the accident takes all of the necessary steps to help you recover from your accident.