Falls and Workers' Compensation

If your line of work involves ladders, scaffolding, roofs, or working in high places, you face the very real possibility of experiencing a serious fall on the job. What would you do if you broke your leg, arm, or back? Could you survive if you were suddenly unable to work? If you fall on the job and get injured, you may qualify to receive benefits through workers’ compensation insurance from your employer.

Workers’ Compensation Basics

Workers’ compensation is insurance provided by employers to employees with no charge to the employees. It is designed to protect workers who are injured on the job. Each state has a law that requires most employers to have a workers’ compensation policy in place. Common benefits include:

  • Help with medical expenses such as doctor’s appointments, medications, crutches, surgery, and needed therapies.
  • Payment of lost wages is available to some injured workers who are no longer able to work because of their on the job injury.
  • Some injured workers may receive occupational training if they are no longer able to work in their original field because of their injury.

There are other benefits as well. However, for you to qualify for any benefits under workers’ compensation you must first file a claim with your employer for benefits.

Can I Get Workers’ Comp. from a Fall from a Ladder?

If you have fallen off a ladder while at work and have been injured, you should be able to obtain workers’ compensation. A successful workers’ comp. claim can help pay for medical treatment such as x-rays, scans, hospital stays and surgery.

Workers’ comp. should also pay a reduced wage for the time taken off work because of the injury.

The main criteria for workers’ comp. are that the injury happened at work and that there was an injury resulting from the fall.

Workers’ comp. is not fault based, so even if you positioned the ladder carelessly, this shouldn’t affect a claim for workers’ comp. You also do not need to prove that the accident was the fault of your employer.

Each state has its own rules about workers’ compensation claims, but there are certain things which are common to all states. For example, you must inform your supervisor, manager or employer within a specified time about the accident.

In some states, the employer lets the state workers’ comp. agency know, while in others it is the injured worker who informs the agency.

You will need an assessment from a doctor or hospital medical professional, receipts to prove how much the fall is costing because of the injury.

Some employers have a tie to a particular medical provider, so you may need to go to the company preferred provider for assessment and treatment, or just for an assessment.

Most states also have a statute of limitations which limits the time in which a WC claim should be filed. Two to three years from the date of the fall are common time limits.

Falling on the Job Can Result in Serious Injuries

If you work in construction, as a roofer, on a ladder, or as someone who works with public utilities, you know just how much of a risk you face each and every day when you’re at work. If you fall from a ladder, a power pole, a roof, or even if you slip and fall on a concrete floor, you’re likely to get seriously injured.

Common injuries from a fall include:

  • A fracture or broken bone. This can include your back, your leg, your arm, or even your neck. Your fracture or broken bone may be minor, but if you break your back or neck, you may become paralyzed.
  • Sprained or torn muscles or ligaments. Although this injury may seem minor, they can be extremely painful and limit your ability to return to the job.
  • Head injuries. If you fall from a ladder or roof, you could suffer from a concussion, a subdural hematoma, or you could even break your skull.

What Should You Do If You’re Hurt on the Job?

If you fall on the job, you may not know what you should do. First, you should let your supervisor or manager know about your fall. If you believe that you may have hurt your neck or back, if you can’t walk, or if you think you’ve suffered from a head injury, call 911. This can be a medical emergency. You should also consider filing a workers’ compensation claim through your Human Resources representative. You should also ask for a list of doctors who can treat you at no charge.

Learn About Your Legal Rights

You should also take the time to learn about your legal rights under workers’ compensation law. As someone who was hurt on the job, you have rights. It’s important that you speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer to learn about your rights and that can help answer any questions that you may have.