Slip and fall injuries are more common than you might realize. They’re one of the most common types of personal injury. In the workplace, which may be littered with hazards, they’re an especially prevalent threat.
So what happens if you slip and fall while at work? What steps should you take in immediate response to an accident at work , and in the days following the accident?
Immediate Steps to Take
After you’ve slipped and fallen, these are the most important steps to take:
1. Get to safety
Your first step should always be to get to safety, in an effort to avoid further injury. If you remain on the floor of the workplace, or in an area with active hazards, you may be prone to even worse injuries. Call for help if necessary and get to a safe place .
2. Report the accident to a supervisor or manager
Next, it’s important to contact a manager or supervisor and notify them of the accident. They’ll be in charge of officially documenting the accident for company purposes, or for personal injury claims and future workers’ comp claims. This is especially important if the area is still hazardous, and action needs to be taken. Work with the supervisor or manager to collect as much information as possible, but don’t venture outside known facts; for example, don’t speculate about whose fault the accident was.
3. Document whatever you can
While your supervisor or manager should take point on documenting the accident (including any conditions leading up to the accident), it’s a good idea to take point on documenting your personal injury on your own. Take pictures, get witness statements, and write down exactly what happened. The more information you have, the better protected you’ll be. If the accident isn’t recorded properly, you’ll have backup data you can use to correct the situation. You’ll also need some independent evidence if you decide to pursue legal action.
4. Stay neutral
In the minutes and hours following your accident, you’ll be tempted to talk with your coworkers, supervisors, and other people. If you do, try to remain as neutral as possible. Talk only about the objective facts of the accident, and don’t assign or take blame for the accident. Similarly, avoid posting the details of the injury on social media. If you admit fault or publicly discuss details of the accident prematurely, it could hurt your case. Don’t be combative with people, but also try to avoid saying or doing more than necessary until you’ve had the chance to talk with a personal injury lawyer.
5. Get medical treatment
No matter how this case works out, it’s important for you to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if you feel okay after the fall, it’s still a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional; they may be able to identify internal injuries you haven’t noticed, or at least document the current state of your body. Schedule an appointment as early as possible and get official medical documentation on your injuries (and direct treatment, if necessary). Not only will this help you recover faster, it will also serve as important information for your personal injury case.
6. Contact an attorney to file a personal injury claim
Next, you’ll want to contact a personal injury attorney. It’s hard to tell exactly when it’s a good idea to seek legal action and when it’s better to file a workers’ compensation claim, but an accident lawyer/attorney will be able to provide you with solid advice—and most of them are willing to give you a free initial consultation. Listen to any advice they tell you and consider the options they present carefully. If your injury could have been prevented by a negligent employer or coworker, it may be better to seek legal action.
7. Address underlying conditions to prevent further injuries
If your injury was the result of a hazard, or a workplace condition that can be changed, you should work to address those conditions so further injuries are prevented. For example, if you slipped on a wet floor that had no warnings or advisories posted, you could ask your supervisor to remind employees of the proper policy when mopping floors. Hopefully, your managers and supervisors will use your accident as motivation to restore the workplace to proper, safe conditions.
What to Do Next
In the days and weeks following your injury, you’ll want to follow these steps:
8. Consider your compensation options
Depending on the nature of your personal injury claims case, you may be forced to consider taking workers’ compensation benefits or pursuing legal action for even further compensation. Legal action can be complicated and take longer, but you’ll get a deeper sense of justice if your injury was due to negligence, and you may be entitled to a higher payout. Your lawyer will be able to discuss the specifics of these options, including timelines, monetary value, and practical value – but ultimately, the decision on how to proceed will come down to you.
9. File for workers’ comp only if you aren’t taking legal action
In some cases, it’s possible to take legal action against an employer even after taking workers’ comp benefits. However, this is the exception to the norm. Make sure you only file for workers’ comp if you’re sure you aren’t moving forward with legal action. Avoid making any commitments until you’re sure which path you want to take.
10. Continue with medical treatment, and document everything
Even if you’re still debating which decision to make, it’s important to continue your medical treatment, especially if that involves follow-up appointments and/or physical therapy. Throughout this process, document everything you can, and keep your records all in one place. You may need to call upon them if you pursue a personal injury claim.
There are many different types of slip and fall accidents, and thousands of conditions that could lead to their occurrence. Experiencing one is never pleasant, but as long as you take the proper steps following the accident, you’ll be entitled to one form of compensation or another.