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Slips, Trips, and Falls: Workplace Injuries in New York

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 20 fatalities in New York City due to falls, slips, and trips in 2021. Across the U.S., falls, slips, and trips accounted for 16% of workplace fatalities in 2021, and slips, trips, and falls accounted for 18% of all nonfatal incidents in 2020, according to NSC Injury Facts.

For help with slip, trip, or fall claims, turn to New York’s slip and fall lawyer at Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani LLP. Our firm has helped hundreds of injured workers with workers’ compensation claims since opening in 2001. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Common Injuries from Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips, and Falls: Workplace Injuries in New York

Slips, trips, and falls include ground-level falls, such as slipping on wet flooring and falling, and falls from a higher level to a level below, such as a construction worker falling from scaffolding to a floor below. Injuries from falls of any height can be severe or even fatal.

Common injuries from fall incidents include:

  • Ankle and wrist injuries 
  • Broken bones 
  • Soft tissue injuries 
  • Joint injuries, especially hips, shoulders, elbows, and knees
  • Back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Death

Falls can have serious consequences for your long-term health and career prospects. Some injuries leave victims debilitated for years after the initial incident. What can you and your employer do to prevent fall injuries?

Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls at Work

According to OSHA, four frequently cited standards in 2021 involved fall prevention and protection. Number one on the list are citations for fall protection in construction, while other citations include ladders, scaffolding, and fall protection training.

What are some other common ways that people sustain injury in slip, trip, and fall accidents at work? Some common scenarios include:

  • Wet flooring from a liquid spill that needs to be cleaned or has been cleaned and needs a “wet floor” sign
  • Failing to wear appropriate slip-resistant shoes
  • Obstacles or other trip hazards on the walking surface 
  • Failing to designate appropriate PPE for hazardous working areas
  • Improperly installing scaffolding or setting up ladders
  • Failing to use fall catch lines for workers or tools
  • Not installing catch nets for construction workers
  • Failing to provide anti-fall PPE and training in its appropriate use for workers

So does workers’ comp cover slip and fall accidents at work, and do you need to prove that your employer was negligent to request coverage?

Workers’ Compensation for Slip and Fall Accidents

Slips, trips, and falls can severely impact a worker’s ability to earn a living. When an employee can’t return to work or can only perform work in a limited capacity after sustaining an injury on the job, they can file a workers’ comp claim.

To start your claim, you must notify your employer of the incident within 30 days, although sooner is often better. Qualifying for workers’ compensation is as simple as being a regular hourly or salaried employee who suffered an injury at work. However, many employers may try to misclassify employees as independent contractors, who don’t qualify for workers’ comp.

You will also need to prove that you sustained the injury while performing work for the company’s benefit with the appropriate medical documentation. Having an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer from our firm helping you manage your claim and filing the appropriate paperwork with the correct offices can help you pursue a successful decision from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.

If approved, workers’ compensation will cover medical expenses associated with your injury, some of your lost wages up to the monthly cap, or survivor benefits for death claims.

Who Is Liable for a Trip or Fall at Work?

Slips, Trips, and Falls: in New York

When is your employer liable for your injuries, and are there circumstances when a third party could contribute to your injuries?

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit against them for negligence. However, you will have to prove that your employer was negligent.

For example, if your office recently installed a new carpet, but the installer didn’t install it correctly, and there’s a large wrinkle that you tripped over, your employer could be liable for not calling the installer back to fix the problem. Alternatively, a third party could be liable; for example, if your employer had a scaffold installed and it wasn’t built with appropriate guard rails, the scaffolding company could share liability for your injuries if you fall off the scaffold.

Liability and negligence depend on who had the responsibility to maintain safe working areas and who failed in their responsibilities to keep a work area safe. An attorney from our firm at Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani LLP can help you gather the evidence you need to file a lawsuit for a workplace injury if your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance.

Contact an Experienced New York Attorney for Fall Incidents at Work

Injuries of all kinds can happen when you’re at work, no matter what industry you work in. From slip and falls to lifting, pushing, and pulling injuries, electrocution, or vehicle accidents, there are many types of injuries you might sustain at work.

When you need to speak with an experienced injury attorney for slips, trips, and falls at work, call Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani LLP at (718) 626-7730 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation at one of our offices in the greater New York Metro.

What Are Your Rights After a Work-Related Slip and Fall Accident?

As one of the most common types of workplace injuries, one might think that a workers’ comp claim is straightforward and easy to handle. While in an ideal world, you would get full compensation for your injuries with zero pushback from your employer or the insurance company, it’s not uncommon for there to be obstacles in a workplace injury claim. For this reason, we recommend consulting an experienced New York workers’ comp lawyer to discuss your case.

What To Know About Slip and Fall Injuries at Work

Workplace injuries, including slip and fall accidents, can happen anywhere. While the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that the construction industry has the highest number of reported injuries at 24,700 incidences and 384 deaths, any job can have hidden hazards.

For example, one might think that spending the day on a boat reporting the news would be a relaxing gig, but one reporter fell overboard during a newscast. Even a seemingly safe office environment can be dangerous.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), office workers are 2.5 times more likely to suffer a serious fall on the job than non-office workers. It turns out that open file drawers, cords, slippery floors, poor lighting, and using a chair to reach the best granola bars on the top shelf in the break room are all contributors to fall-related workplace accidents.

The moral of the story is that an accident can happen at any time and in any job, especially when it comes to slips, trips, and falls.

Steps To Take After a Work-Related Slip and Fall Accident

After sustaining an injury at work, there are certain steps to take in a specific order to increase your chances of having successful accident workers’ comp. claim and avoiding insurance disputes.

  • Step 1: Seek medical attention. Your health and safety are a top priority, so be sure to get immediate medical attention without delay. Do this even if your injuries seem minor because there could be more serious damage to your body that you are not yet aware of, that a doctor can detect.
    Inform your doctor that you were injured at work, and provide the physician’s office with the name and contact details of your employer. Be sure to follow any medical advice given to preserve your claim. This includes attending all follow-up visits as recommended and keeping careful records of expenses for office visits, medical bills, prescriptions, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Step 2: Report the accident. As soon as possible, report what happened to your supervisor. Ideally, you can do this while you’re heading out to get medical treatment, but New York law does allow up to 30 days to report an incident/ accident.
    Keep in mind that if you fail to report the injury to your employer within 30 days, you may lose any legal rights for workers’ compensation.
  • Step 3. Document what happened. While the incident is fresh in your mind, make a detailed, written account of your experience. This can include taking photographs of your work area and any hazardous conditions. If any coworkers or third parties witnessed your slip and fall accident, document their status as witnesses (and be sure you have their contact information if they are not coworkers).
    Your notes should be detailed and include the date, time, and circumstances of the incident.
  • Step 4: Gather and preserve evidence. You might be surprised at what can be considered evidence in workplace safety and injury claims. In addition to the obvious sources of evidence like surveillance footage and witness statements, the scene itself can provide valuable context.
    It’s also a good idea to preserve any torn clothing, damaged footwear, or anything of note that could have contributed to the fall.
  • Step 5: File a claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. While your employer should do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of your workers’ compensation claim, you also have a responsibility to file a Form C-3 claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board as soon as possible.
    You do have up to two years to file, but it’s advisable not to unduly delay any of these steps.
  • Step 6: Consult a slip and fall accident lawyer. Going up against insurance companies or facing potential retaliation from an employer can be scary, and it can result in unfair claim denials or even unfairly losing your job. By consulting a workers’ compensation New York attorney, you can learn about your legal rights and have a powerful advocate on your side.

Common Reasons a Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied

Workers,Compensation,Accident,Injury,Concept

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, so if they can find any excuse to minimize or deny a workers’ compensation claim, they won’t hesitate to take it. Again, this is why having a New York workers’ compensation lawyer on your side is so vital. Your attorney can help you navigate the following issues:

  • Failure to promptly report the injury: In addition to having a legal limit on the amount of time you have to report a slip and fall accident at work, the insurance company can argue that a delay in reporting means your injury wasn’t serious or didn’t happen at work.
  • Lack of evidence: To be successful in a workers’ compensation claim, you have to be able to prove the elements of the case. If you don’t have sufficient medical evidence or evidence from the scene, it could result in a claim denial.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Insurance companies love to argue that the injury you sustained was actually a pre-existing condition and had nothing to do with a work-related slip and fall accident. These presumptions can be difficult to overcome, especially if you do have a related pre-existing condition.
  • Disputes over causation: Even though workers’ compensation is a no-fault system where you can still recover even if you caused your own injury or otherwise acted negligently, there are situations that can bar recovery. An intentional act, violating a company policy, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol could make proving your claim more difficult.
  • Not seeking timely medical treatment: The insurance company will closely scrutinize your injury timeline. If they believe you delayed seeking medical treatment, they can argue that your injury was not serious or that your delay exacerbated your injury.

Missed deadlines: Remember that filing a workers’ compensation claim in New York requires multiple steps, and there are deadlines associated with each. Missing even one of these deadlines can result in your claim being denied.

Contact an Experienced New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Pyrros, Serres & Rupwani Attorneys at Law have extensive experience in slip and fall accidents, one of the most common workplace injuries. To learn more about how we can help, contact us for a free case evaluation.  

FAQs

For questions about slips, trips, and falls at work, check out our FAQ.

Will workers’ comp cover a trip or fall accident injury?

Workers’ compensation will cover injuries sustained by regular employees at work. Independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ comp benefits, and injuries sustained outside of work do not qualify.

Can I sue my employer for a workplace injury?

Offering workers’ compensation insurance protects employers from lawsuits by employees injured at work. If your employer failed to have a workers ’ compensation insurance you may be able to file a negligence case against them. In addition, third-party liability may allow you to file suit against a negligent third party.

How long do I have to file a workers’ comp claim?

You have 30 days to notify your employer about your slip, trip, or fall. You have two (2) years to file your claim with the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board.

Is my employer legally obligated to have workers’ compensation insurance?

In New York, most employers are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and a failure to carry this insurance can lead to fines, penalties, and employer liability. There are some exceptions, however, and an attorney can further advise you in this area.

What if my employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance?

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can still be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or seek other avenues for compensation, including filing a lawsuit.

What if I am at fault for the slip and fall accident?

Every situation is different, and even if you are at fault for what happened, it won’t necessarily bar your recovery. An attorney can review the details of your case and advise you further.