While most people don't expect to fall when walking, 65 percent of falls resulting in injury occur not from elevated heights, but on flat surfaces. This means that everyone is at risk of a slip and fall accident when walking to and from work, and you need to know who is liable for your fall if it is due to unsafe conditions. If your workplace is at fault, then you need to file a worker's compensation claim as soon as possible after the fall. However, if they are not at fault, then you would need to contact a slip and fall lawyer.
Read on to learn 2 tips for deciding who is liable for a slip and fall accident when walking to and from work.
Did you fall while utilizing company owned property properly?
If you are on company property when you slip and fall, then your fall is likely covered by your company's workers compensation insurance policy, and that means you should file a workers compensation claim and hopefully look forward to compensation and possibly paid time off during your recovery.
Of course, like all other workers compensation claims, your injury must have occurred due to company negligence. Outdoors, that would typically mean that you fell due to building grounds that were not safely maintained. Your company owes it to you and the other workers to remove snow and ice from parking lots in a timely manner, to make sure walkways and parking lots aren't covered in dangerous cracks, and to do everything else they can to help keep you safe while on company grounds.
However, the workers compensation "Extension of Premises" provision states that in order for your injuries to be covered by workers compensation, you must be on a portion of the company grounds that you are permitted to be on and that it is a "usual and acceptable route" into and out of the building. In addition, the provision requires that you must be using the route to travel into or out of the building for work purposes (that means you may not be covered if you fall when visiting a co-worker on a day off or during any other time you are on the premises for non-business reasons).
Even if you feel like your injury may not be covered due to the extension of premises provision, file a worker's compensation claim and contact a workers compensation attorney if you fall on company-owned property for help in determining if your fall should be covered by worker's compensation. If you find out it is not covered, then contact a slip and fall attorney who can help you hold your workplace liable for your fall.
Were you on private property controlled by your company or where your workplace was hosting an event?
Of course, your entire route walking to and from work may not be composed entirely of company property. If you fall while walking on the sidewalk of another business or a homeowner, then contact a slip and fall attorney for help holding the responsible party liable for your accident.
However, if you park in a parking lot that is privately owned, then the private parking lot owner may not be liable for your injuries if your workplace maintains enough control of how the parking lot is maintained. If the only drivers allowed to park in the lot are people who work for your company and your workplace "exercises control" over the lot in other ways, then workers compensation may cover any injuries that occur due to a slip and fall on the parking lot.
In addition, if you slip and fall at an event or party that is held outside of work on private property, then in most states, workers compensation will cover your injuries if you are required to be at the event. However, if you are not required to be at the company party or event and are there voluntarily, then that doesn't mean that someone isn't liable for your injuries; the owner of the venue is liable for your slip and fall injuries that occur due to their negligence. A personal injury attorney can help you seek compensation from them.
It is important to know when a slip and fall accident is covered by your employer's workers compensation insurance when you are traveling to and from work and at company parties and events. Keep these tips in mind to help you decide whether to call a workers compensation lawyer or a slip and fall attorney after a fall that results in injury when walking to or from work. Contact a law firm like the Knafo Law Offices for additional information.