What Happens When You Fall at Work

A Massachusetts Construction Worker After a Fall From a HeightFall accidents and injuries are a significant problem for workers in the United States. The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that approximate 292,000 workers missed one day or more of work and almost 800 workers died from workplace fall injuries in a one-year period.

Given this risk, it is important to understand how falls happen, the injuries that can result, and whether you may be eligible for workers’ compensation after a fall.

Fall Accidents and Injuries at Work

Falls include both falls from heights and slip or trip and fall accidents. All workers, including but not limited to construction workers, healthcare workers, restaurant workers, and office workers are at risk of suffering a fall injury. Fall injuries can happen, for example, when:

  • The floor is cluttered. Clutter may include work materials, debris, or anything else left on the floor that may be tripped over.
  • The floor is slippery. Slippery conditions include wet floors, soapy floors, floors wet from rain, snow, or ice, and newly polished floors.
  • There is a building under construction. A building that is under construction may have openings in the floor and may require workers to work at heights.
  • There is a property defect. This may include a broken stair, ripped carpet, inadequate lighting, a broken handrail, or other defect.
  • The property is not well maintained. Walkways that are not cleared of snow and ice, for example, can create fall risks.
  • A worker is working at a height. This may include working on ladders, scaffolding, roofs, or on other surfaces. Workers should be provided with appropriate safety equipment to prevent falls from heights.

A fall can result in minor to significant injuries. Some common injuries suffered in workplace falls include:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

More than one part of your body may be injured in a fall. While any fall can result in a serious injury, falls from heights are most likely to result in catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death.

Workers’ Compensation for Fall Accident Injuries

Almost every employer in Massachusetts is required to have workers’ compensation insurance. You are covered for work-related injuries beginning on your first day on the job. If you were hurt in a work-related fall then you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits that include:

  • Medical expenses. This includes hospital stays, medications, doctors’ visits, and other healthcare costs.
  • Weekly compensation for lost income. You may be able to recover for a percentage of your average weekly wage while you are out of work. The amount that you can recover and the length of time you may receive these benefits depends on how badly you were hurt.
  • Vocational and rehabilitation services. If you can’t go back to the job that you were doing before your fall, but you might be able to do another job with some vocational training, then the training may be part of your workers’ comp benefits.
  • Disfigurement or loss of bodily function. If your fall resulted in permanent disfigurement or loss of bodily function, then you may be able to receive additional benefits based upon your specific injury.

In order to protect your receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to report your injury to your employer, to see a doctor, and to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

While state law establishes what your workers’ compensation benefits should be, these benefits will not be automatically provided to you. Instead, you will need to file for workers’ comp benefits and you should expect the workers’ compensation insurer to try to limit your benefits.

Our experienced disability lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance companies effectively and will fight hard to get you the fair benefits that you deserve. Call us, or contact us via this website today, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us to learn more.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer