Trip-and-fall accidents may not sound like they would be serious, but they have the potential to cause severe injuries. Falls result in more traumatic brain injuries than any other type of accident, including car crashes. In 2020, 42,114 people suffered a fatal injury after a fall at work or home. While 25110 workers required medical treatment after falling from heights in 2019, 64,380 workers visited the emergency room or were hospitalized after a fall on the same level.
If you trip and fall, your injuries may be serious enough to require medical treatment. They can lead to lost wages and a stack of medical bills. They may alter your life in the short and long term. You may be surprised at the types of injuries that often result from these accidents. There are two paths for recovering damages for your losses, depending on whether your injuries occur at work on another person’s property.
What Are the Most Common Severe Injuries From a Trip-and-Fall Accident?
Not all trip-and-fall injuries are serious. Many only result in minor cuts, abrasions and bruises. However, the following severe harms are possible:
- Traumatic brain injury: TBIs can occur from a hard strike to the head or from a sudden shaking back and forth. If you hit your head against a hard surface when you hit the ground or as you fall, it may cause a TBI. These injuries can range from mild concussions to comas and permanent cognitive and physical disabilities.
- Spinal column injury: Spinal column damage includes vertebra fractures, slipped or bulging discs, pinched nerves and soft tissue damage. These injuries can occur from striking an object as you fall or landing on your back. They may also result from your body moving unnaturally during the fall.
- Bone fractures: Broken bones are very common and often occur in the hips or extremities. Sometimes these injuries are severe enough to require surgical repair and can take significant time to heal. Broken bones can also lead to soft tissue and nerve damage.
- Soft tissue damage: Muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves are all susceptible to damage in a fall. Sometimes these injuries don’t cause anything more than discomfort and minor inconveniences. Other times, they may prevent you from doing your job and can be serious enough to require surgery.
If a trip-and-fall accident leads to injuries that need medical attention and cause you to miss work, you may be able to receive compensation to pay for your losses.
What Happens if You Trip and Fall at Work?
No matter your job, a workplace accident is possible, especially a trip-and-fall. If you have an accident at work that requires more than simple first aid treatment, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits. In Massachusetts, nearly every employer must have workers’ comp insurance coverage.
What To Do After the Incident
Taking immediate action is essential. If you delay, you increase the likelihood that the insurance company will dispute your claim. The insurers already dispute about half of all claims filed, so you don’t want to turn the possibility into a near certainty. After your accident, take the following steps:
- Let your employer or supervisor know about the accident.
- Document the scene and your injuries (take photos and notes).
- Seek medical attention.
- Complete an accident report as soon as possible.
- Submit all supporting documentation and evidence to your employer.
- Follow up with your employer to be sure a workers’ comp claim was filed.
You may also want to call a workers’ compensation attorney. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we understand the complexities of Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws and have experience helping clients navigate the process. We can help you build a solid case to reduce the possibility of a dispute.
If the insurance company does dispute your claim, having an experienced attorney on your side is desirable. The resolution process is lengthy and complicated. A workers’ compensation lawyer protects your rights and works on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Workers’ compensation insurance provides benefits based on the severity of your injuries and how long you require treatment. It pays your medical expenses, including prescription costs and mileage reimbursement for your trips to appointments. It also covers rehabilitation expenses. If you miss more than six work days, the insurance company pays you 60% of your average weekly income (calculated over the 52 weeks before your accident).
If you can work but at a lower capacity than before the accident, workers’ comp pays up to 75% of the 60% it would pay if your injuries prevented you from working while you recover. However, if you become permanently incapacitated, you may collect 66% of your average weekly income, plus the possibility of a cost-of-living allowance.
When a Lawsuit Is a Possibility After a Workplace Accident
You can’t sue your employer for a workplace accident, and workers’ compensation insurance is supposed to pay out benefits regardless of fault (unless drug or alcohol usage contributed to the accident). However, if a third party’s negligence contributed to or caused the accident, you can file a legal claim against the third party.
What Happens if You Trip and Fall on Someone Else’s Property?
If you sustain injuries in a trip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be able to pursue a claim to recover damages. However, you must show that the property owner, manager or occupant was negligent and that the negligent behaviors caused the accident. You also need to demonstrate that the accident led to your injuries. You must prove third-party liability whether you file an insurance claim or a premises liability lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit
After you trip and fall on someone else’s property, it’s essential to document everything and let the property owner know you’ve been hurt. You should also seek medical attention right away. The property owner’s insurance representative may contact you. Before talking to anyone, you may want to speak with a trip-and-fall accident lawyer.
Unfortunately, talking to an insurance rep could hinder your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve. If the insurance company thinks it can get away with offering you a quick settlement, it will do so to prevent paying out more money. The rep may also attempt to get you to say something that the company can use against you if you file a lawsuit to pursue compensation.
Working With an Experienced Lawyer
Premises liability cases are challenging. It is often more difficult to prove negligence than it is for car crashes. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process to improve your chances for a fair settlement. Your attorney can help you gather the needed evidence to prove fault, provide an accurate accounting of the damages and negotiate a settlement with the other side, all while protecting your rights and looking out for your best interests.
Can Jason Stone Injury Lawyers Help With Trip-and-Fall Cases?
Whether you need help with a workers’ compensation claim or filing a lawsuit, Jason Stone Injury Lawyers is here to support you through the process. We have decades of experience working with clients to recover damages after a trip-and-fall accident. We provide a free consultation, so you understand your rights and options, no matter your circumstances. If you were hurt in a trip-and-fall accident, give us a call. There’s No Obligation, Just Information®.