Slip and fall injuries are one of the most common types of workplace accidents, and they are a risk in every workplace. In fact, slip and falls cause more than 25% of workplace injuries that lead to missed work.
Although many workplace slip and fall accidents result in nothing but injured pride, a slip and fall accident can lead to serious – or even fatal – injuries. In these cases, financial concerns such as medical bills and lost wages from missed work put a strain on the entire family.
The good news? Your employer has an obligation to ensure a reasonably safe working environment, and to provide financial compensations for on-the-job injuries.
Even so, a worker’s compensation claim can be a daunting task, particularly when you are also recovering from injuries. To this end, we’ve put together a guide covering what you can expect if you’re injured in a slip and fall accident at work, and how to best ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
If You Slip and Fall at Work in Florida, Can You Sue?
Yes and no.
All Florida employers with four or more employees are required to carry worker’s comp insurance, which covers any losses that an employee may suffer when injured on the job. This ensures that if you do slip and fall at work and incur damages as a result, these financial losses will be covered.
Florida is a “no-fault” state, meaning that for worker’s compensation claims, fault is taken out of the equation, and there is no need to prove negligence. This means that even if the employer is not at fault for the accident, the employee will still receive benefits so long as the incident meets certain conditions. (We’ll cover those below.)
However, when you file a worker’s compensation claim, you will likely waive the ability to pursue a personal injury claim against your employer, which covers damages such as pain and suffering and emotional pain. Worker’s compensation pays out only direct financial damages, such as those incurred from medical bills and lost wages.
In some cases, you may be able to pursue additional damages from a third party. For example, if you work as a courier and slip and fall on another business’s property on your delivery route, you may be able to file a separate premise liability claim.
Filing a Worker’s Compensation Claim in Florida
In order to qualify for worker’s compensation benefits, certain conditions must be met:
- The employee must have been on the job when the injury occurred. If the employee was injured during a lunch break, or was hanging around work after hours, coverage is unlikely, although it’s still worth looking into.
- The employee was following all company policies regarding employee behavior when the accident occurred. For example, if the employee is injured while engaging in horseplay with coworkers, this injury would not be covered. Some employers also require that employees pass a drug test in order to receive worker’s compensation benefits.
To file a claim, you will need evidence documenting that the incident meets the above criteria. You will also need evidence documenting your financial damages, such as medical bills and pay stubs demonstrating lost wages .
Finally, you have to file within two years of the accident. If a large amount of time elapses before you file a claim, your chances of receiving damages are decreased.
Bottom line? If you’re injured on the job, you deserve fair and just compensation, and there are laws to help you get it – you just have to understand how to utilize them.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.