Slip and fall accidents are one of the main causes of injury in the workplace in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), falls are the number one cause of death on the job, after transport-related deaths. In 2014, while employment in the US increased by almost 50%, 4,821 workers died in the workplace.
Falls account for more than 8 million emergency room visits, accounting for 21.3% of visits. Slips and falls account for 12% – over 1 million – of total falls. Slips and falls are the number one cause of workers’ compensation claims as well as the primary cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
According to the 2003 edition of the National Safety Council Injury Facts, compensation and medical costs associated with slip and fall accidents on the job is roughly $70 billion per year. Temporary and permanent disabling occupational injuries as a result of falls cost approximately $250,000 to $300,000 annually.
Accident on the Job Leads to Civil Suit
A man from Cameron, Missouri filed a personal injury lawsuit for a workplace accident that led to the loss of his lower arms.
Brent Sherman, the plaintiff, was a sanitation worker whose responsibility was to clean Cozzini Inc. blenders and other meat-processing equipment used at the Hillshire Brands plant when the accident occurred in February, 2015.
The Hillshire Brands Co., Cozzini L.L.C., Tyson Foods Inc., Cynthia Portman, the superintendent of Hillshire’s sanitation department and three John Does were named as defendants in the lawsuit. The suit did not specify the amount of damages, but Sherman did seek punitive damages.
According to the lawsuit, Sherman was cleaning the discharge doors on the blender with a hot water hose when it suddenly started without warning. As the machine engaged, Sherman’s forearms, the hose and its nozzle were in a danger zone.
The suit said that the plaintiff sustained bilateral arm amputations below the elbows when his forearms were caught between the framework of the blender’s discharge openings and a rotating paddle. It also said that the blenders have the capacity to handle up to 8,000 pounds of meat and seasonings. The blender system is operated and monitored by a computer system. Sanitation workers have special ID for logging in to the system for cleaning purposes.
As per the lawsuit, sanitation workers, weren’t given any kind of training as blender operators. They had no knowledge that the system allowed a shutdown of only 60 minutes, after which it would resume in the same mode it was working in before one of the sanitation workers logged in.
The lawsuit also claims that the computer switching between the sanitation interruption mode and another operating mode after an hour did not serve any purpose. The lawsuit also claimed that there were no warning signs or labels that informed users of the timer limitations on the blender.
Sherman sought compensation for past as well as future medical expenses, disability and incapacity, loss of income. He also filed compensation for loss of employment for life, pain and suffering, mental and emotional distress, inconvenience and loss of earning capacity and other vocational opportunities.
Accidents in the Workplace
Although not a slip and fall accident, the incident in Missouri mentioned above is just one example of the severe injuries that workers can sustain on the job. Workplace accidents can result in devastating injuries that alter an individual’s life forever and in some cases, they can even cause death. When it comes to accidents at work, slips and falls are one of the most common.
When a worker is injured on the job, they can seek workers’ compensation. If this is denied to them, they can take legal action by filing a personal injury lawsuit against their employer or other liable parties with the assistance of a profound and focused legal professional and there is no one better in this game than RMFW Law.
We know this type of law like the back of our own hand and we know how the other side will attack your case. Call us today! If your case is viable you will want us on your side. We know how to undermine the case of the opposition and we know what a formidable case looks like. Let’s put one together!
Slip and Fall Accidents at Work
The phrase “slip and fall” is a legal term that is used to describe an accident involving physical injury to an individual as a result of another individual’s failure to ensure that their property is maintained properly for safety to others, or because the property was designed or constructed negligently.
As mentioned above, slips and falls in the workplace are highly common and a primary cause of injury or death on the job. If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident at work, you should know the steps to take to ensure you receive fair and just compensation for the injuries you sustain.
When a worker is injured on the job, workers’ compensation generally covers their medical expenses and lost wages – or at least that is the way it is supposed to work. The reality is that many employers deny workers’ compensation claims.
In many cases, even those who are willing to provide coverage often do not offer adequate coverage for the full extent of the losses incurred by the worker. When a worker is injured in a slip and fall accident on the job, it is important for them to understand their rights and know what steps must be taken in order to protect them.
Workers’ compensation is specifically provided to make sure that workers who were in a workplace accident and suffered injuries as a result receive the compensation they require, without the need to pursue legal action against their employer. This type of compensation is a no-fault insurance which means that the injured worker does not have to prove that their employer was negligent.
The only thing they need to prove is that they were injured and that the injury occurred while they were performing their job duties. Unfortunately, even when benefits are provided, it covers only two-thirds of wages that the injured worker lost during treatment and recovery.
The first step that an injured worker must take is report their injuries and file a work accident claim with their employer. After detailed information has been provided, it is up to the employer to file the appropriate paperwork with the Workers’ Compensation board in the state and their insurance company and to respond.
If you have been injured in a workplace slip and fall accident, your employer may require you to see a physician approved by the company to evaluate and treat you, and also to determine the extent of your injuries and/or disability.
In a large number of cases, slip and fall accidents in the workplace are not the employer’s fault, but may be due to the negligence of a third party, such as a co-worker, the manufacturer of a faulty piece of equipment or a subcontractor who is working within the work environment.
Ankle Injuries Caused by Slips and Falls
After a slip and fall accident, one of the most commonly injured areas is the ankle, and these injuries can range in severity and lead to severe pain and problems involving limited mobility. Here is a look at ankle injuries that might be caused by a slip and fall accident:
Sprains or Strains: When your ankle is injured in a fall, you may suffer a sprain or strain. Your bones are not damaged in this type of ankle injury, but the ligaments are stretched or injured. You can suffer severe pain when you have a sprain or strain in your ankle, and your ability to use the affected ankle can be compromised. The limitation on ankle functionality may last a number of months and the injury may require a substantial amount of time for recovery.
Fractures: In some slip and fall accidents, individuals suffer from fractured ankles and bones tend to break. These accidents involve the lower leg bones that form the ankle joint or the talus. Ankle fractures are often quite serious and may require a significant time to heal completely and recover. In certain ankle fracture cases, the individual may have permanent issues with respect to their ankle’s functionality.
Torn Ligaments or Tendons: In some cases, people who injure their ankles suffer from tears to the cartilage or tendons. In such injuries, the bones may not get damaged. However, the cartilage that cushions these bones or the tendons that connect to the bones get injured or torn.
Therefore, these injuries can severely weaken your ankles and cause a lot of pain and impede you from day to day activities. As is with strains or sprains, the recovery time for torn tendons or ligaments can be rather long.
In slip and fall accidents, you can injure your ankle in a number of different ways. If you slip or trip over an object and your ankle rolls, the action can result in both fractures and strains to the ligaments or tears to the tendons. In some slip, trip or fall accidents, your ankle may become hyper-extended or get twisted side-to-side. These stressors that are placed on the ankle can lead to any of the major ankle injuries.
These kind of injuries occur frequently in slip and fall accidents as people tend to try to stop their falls by using their feet to step down hard, which in turn can cause the ankles to turn or twist unnaturally.
Factors Determining a Slip and Fall Settlement
When it comes to determining the outcome of slip and fall cases, the main considerations revolve around three main questions:
- Which party is ultimately liable for the accident?
- Negligent or otherwise, what did the liable party contribute to the accident?
- Did the injured party contribute to or cause their own accident in any way?
The term “negligence” can be described as the disregard for others’ safety by failure to act as a reasonable person would. An example would be a dangerous situation created by a leaking ceiling, uneven surface, or pot hole.
In this assessment, the key attribute is whether or not a reasonable person would have been able to identify the condition as potentially hazardous or dangerous and if the liable party had adequate opportunities to improve the conditions before the injury occurred.
The alternative task to prove is whether the liable employer specifically caused the hazardous or dangerous situation themselves and that it was reasonably understandable that a worker would suffer an injury as a result of the situation.
Conditions such as inadequate lighting conditions, slippery or wet floors, gaps, holes and cracks on floors, missing handrails, cluttered work spaces, lack of company policy enforcement as well as lack of reasonable justification are all factors contributing to the determination of negligence in a slip and fall case.
Plaintiffs have the responsibility to prove that the liable party could have acted in some way to prevent the accident but failed to do so. They also need to prove that even though there was a valid reason for the hazard to be present that the justification was no longer valid when the accident took place and that the liable party did not exercise any preventive measures to prevent the accident from occurring.
While the plaintiff bears the burden of proof, it is the facts of the case that will present the declarations or affirmations required to determine the degree of negligence involved.
To prove that someone is liable, that person must have a legal responsibility for the property and any situations that occur on that property. A business owner or employer would, in most cases, assume liability for an injury that occurs in their place of business, unless that liability is relieved by the insurance they have.
In the case that the employer has liability insurance, the insurer assumes the liability and, therefore, the plaintiff must file a personal injury lawsuit against the insurance company instead of the insured.
RMFW Law and slip and fall accidents in the workplace go together like peanut butter and jelly!
If you or a loved one has been grievously injured in a slip and fall accident on the job, you should immediately consult a reliable personal injury attorney personal injury lawyer at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, of RMFW Law at 212 697 9280, to help you find the best legal action to recover compensation.
After reviewing your case, we will help you with your workers’ compensation claim or file a personal injury lawsuit if your employer denies you workers’ comp. You can make sure that your rights are protected and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
We have won millions of dollars for past clients – you too can be on this fabulous list. We know what a winning case looks like. You pay us nothing up front. You have nothing to lose if you call RMFW Law and plenty to gain. Call us now!