I Slipped and Fell at Work: What Should I Do? (Pennsylvania)

A common question people ask workers’ comp attorneys is, “I slipped and fell at work. What should I do?” If you’re in this position, you should first take care of your physical health. Seek emergency or urgent medical attention to address your injuries (even if you think you’re fine). Next, document everything that happened and notify your employer if you have to miss more than one shift because of your condition. If your employer denies your benefits request, you may be eligible to file a claim petition. The post-injury process may be different if you’re an independent contractor or a third party hurt you. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine the best course of action based on your situation. 

At Kalikhman & Rayz, we know how important it is for injured workers to get the help they need. Having to file unfamiliar forms and deal with workers’ compensation insurance companies can be overwhelming. It can interrupt the healing process and cause unnecessary stress. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers tirelessly fight for those out of work because of a job-related slip and fall. We take on legal matters so injured workers can focus their time and energy on recovering. 

I Slipped and Fell at Work. What Should I Do Now?

If you experienced a slip and fall at work, take these steps to help safeguard your physical well-being and protect your legal rights:

  • Seek medical attention, 
  • Document everything, 
  • Notify your employer, 
  • Speak to an attorney, and 
  • File a claim petition.

Taking these steps can help set you up for a smooth recovery process. Additionally, it can increase your chances of successfully bringing a workers’ compensation claim. Note that many of these steps apply to most (but not all) employees. For example, you probably can’t file a workers’ compensation claim if you are a freelance worker and are hurt on the job. But you may be eligible to bring a personal injury lawsuit.

Seek Medical Treatment

After a slip and fall, it’s imperative for you to see a doctor. You may have a traumatic brain injury, soft tissue damage, broken bones, sprained limbs, or other harm. It’s essential to have healthcare professionals treat you close in time to when the accident occurs. That way, they can confidently draw a connection between the fall and your condition. Seeing a doctor also limits the chance that you overlook potentially dangerous conditions you have but may not immediately notice. 

Document Everything

After the fall, document everything that happened leading up to, during, and after the incident. It would be best if you took note of things like where you fell, who was there, and the placement of objects (such as a ladder or spill). If possible, take photographs for your records. If your co-workers witnessed the fall, have them write down what they saw. 

Notify Your Employer

Notify your employer of the accident. Preferably, you should provide them with written notice so there’s a record of it. If you send a note, take a picture or make a copy of it before you hand it to your employer. You can use this to prove you told your employer about your injury on a specific date and time. 

Under Pennsylvania workers’ compensation law, you usually have about 21 days to tell your employer about your injury. In some cases, you may have more time than this, but it’s best to tell your employer about the accident soon after it happens. If you wait too long, you may miss out on your chance to receive essential benefits. 

Speak to an Attorney

Talk to an attorney about your injury and your rights to compensation. They can help ensure you don’t unlawfully lose your job because you filed for workers’ compensation. Additionally, they can communicate with your employer and other third parties on your behalf, freeing up your time to focus on getting better. A lawyer can also work with your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance provider to help you get a fair settlement. Finally, they can help you find approved workers’ compensation doctors to help ensure your employer pays for your healthcare. 

File a Claim Petition

If your employer and their insurance provider deny your claim for benefits, you may be eligible to submit a claim petition with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. In this process, you ask a workers’ compensation judge to take a second look at your claim. 

In most cases, the judges may ask you, your employer, and your attorneys to attend a hearing. At this hearing, you (or your attorney) present evidence and legal arguments for why you should get workers’ compensation. At the end of this hearing, the judges decide to accept or deny your claim. If they deny your claim, you may also have the option to appeal this decision. 

Can I File a Lawsuit for a Work-Related Slip and Fall in Pennsylvania?

In most cases, Pennsylvania law restricts somebody’s right to file a lawsuit for a work injury. But there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the worker is an independent contractor, they may be able to file a personal injury claim against their employer. If they go this route, they need to show their employer is responsible for their injuries somehow. An employee may be able to sue a third party (e.g., a subcontractor) for a work-related slip and fall. Again, they must prove that the third party’s actions or inaction caused their injury.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

What victims do after a slip and fall can greatly impact their ability to recover from their injuries, physically and legally. While each situation can vary, in most cases, the victim should take the following steps after getting hurt on someone else’s property:

  • Report the accident
  • See a doctor
  • File a claim
  • Document everything

By taking these steps, the injury victim can address the accident’s physical, financial, and legal consequences. From there, they can shape and support a lawsuit against the at-fault party, providing a pathway for them to recover what they need to rebuild their life after the accident. 

Report the Accident

Reporting the accident is the first step someone should take after a slip and fall. They should begin by telling the property owner (such as a store employee) that the accident occurred. Doing so might entail telling the business or its employees on the day the accident occurs and, in some cases, sending out a legal letter to the store’s owners later on. Victims may also choose to report the accident to the police. 

See a Doctor

The next step after a slip and fall is to seek medical attention for your injuries. The adrenaline and trauma response traveling through someone’s brain and body after a sudden event like a slip and fall often masks the true extent of their injuries. In the moments directly after the incident, you may not think they are hurt badly, but this feeling may be misleading. Doctors can examine you and determine what injuries you are experiencing and an effective treatment protocol. 

Seeing a physician after a slip and fall also serves another vital purpose: it creates a connection between the accident and your medical condition. You can use this documentation later on to prove liability and boost your claim for compensation. 

File a Claim

Once you have reported the accident and seen a doctor, it’s time to file a claim. How you accomplish this depends on the unique circumstances at play in your situation. Sometimes, you may file a claim with the responsible party or their insurance company (directly or indirectly). In other cases, you may jump straight to filing a legal claim. 

If you have any questions about your legal rights or how to hold someone accountable for your injuries, consider reaching out to a reputable personal injury attorney. They can look at the facts in your unique situation and tell you what your options are. If you choose to hire them, they can also file legal or claims paperwork, freeing up your time to focus on what is most important to you. Hiring an attorney also ensures that you always have someone going to bat for you in the courtroom and during settlement talks. 

Document Everything

Keeping accurate and comprehensive records of the accident and how it impacted your life can help you heal and boost your legal claim. Documentation that you should save includes medical records (like after-visit summaries), receipts, and paperwork where you request time off work. 

Keeping a pain diary is another way to help document the effect that the accident and your injuries have on your emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. In this pain log, be clear about how you feel each day and what you can and cannot accomplish because of your condition. For example, if someone has a wrist and hand injury, they might write: “Wrist and hand pain is at a 9 out of 10 today. Lost feeling in my fingers and could not grip my coffee cup this morning.” 

What Should You Do Immediately After a Fall? 

The first things you should do after a fall are report the accident and seek medical attention. Reporting the accident makes sure the property owner is on notice of the incident and creates a paper trail you can use to prove your case. Seeing a doctor protects you from exacerbating injuries you don’t know you have. 

Often, adrenaline, cortisol, and other brain and body responses to a sudden event can make victims feel like they are in much better shape than they actually are. Victims can safeguard their physical well-being by seeing a doctor shortly after the accident, even if they feel fine. 

How Long Do You Have to Go to a Doctor After a Slip and Fall in PA? 

If you’re in a slip and fall accident, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the incident. One benefit of taking this step is ensuring the doctors can identify and begin to treat your injuries. The other benefit is establishing a link between the fall and your physical pain or condition. If you wait too long after an accident to seek medical treatment, proving liability may be more difficult. When you see the doctor, make sure to tell them about the slip and fall so they can make a notation in your record and give their opinion about the impact of the incident on your physical health. 

Keep in mind that if you didn’t have to have surgery after your fall, you may still be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help you understand your right to receive slip and fall settlements without surgery

How Do You File a Claim After a Slip and Fall?

You can file a slip and fall claim in a couple of ways. Sometimes, you first file a complaint with the business or individual who owned the property where the slip and fall occurred. You might need to do this if the company has an internal procedure that they like people to follow first or if you signed an agreement waiving your right to file a separate lawsuit in traditional court. After you complete this step, it may be time to file a legal claim in court. An attorney can help with this process, or you can try to accomplish this on your own. 

When deciding which action to take, it’s important not to miss Pennsylvania’s filing deadline for legal claims. Under Pennsylvania law, most victims must file their slip and fall claims within two years after the accident. Depending on the circumstances, the deadline may be longer or shorter than this in any given case. For example, claims against the government typically need to be brought in a shorter amount of time than this, while things like being under 18 can lengthen the deadline. A lawyer can answer questions about the legal deadline in your unique situation. 

What Compensation Can I Get for a Work Injury?

If you qualify for workers’ compensation, some of the benefits you might receive include:

  • Wage replacement benefits (usually up to two-thirds of your weekly average income), 
  • Money to cover your medical care, and
  • Specific loss benefits (if you suffer a particular type of injury, like an amputated thumb). 

Surviving family members may be able to receive death benefits if their loved one succumbs to their work-related injury. 

How long you receive these benefits depends on several factors, including your disability or impairment rating. Your disability rating is a percentage a doctor assigns to your condition. It represents your condition’s impact on your ability to function and perform tasks. This impairment rating may change during the healing process. For example, you may have a total impairment rating when you first get hurt. As time passes, you may regain function and only be partially disabled. 

Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC: Fierce Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Serving Pennsylvania

You may be eligible for workers’ compensation if you slipped and fell at work and need to take time off to heal. Going through the process of claiming benefits can be confusing and stressful, especially if your employer isn’t cooperating with you. Instead of navigating this situation alone, consider hiring a dependable workers’ compensation lawyer. 

The team at Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC is committed to supporting injured workers throughout Pennsylvania. We know firsthand how challenging it can be for workers to get the compensation they deserve. From the mountain of red tape to figuring out what doctor to go to, there’s a lot to take care of. Lawrence Kalikhman and his outstanding support staff are here to guide you every step of the way. His tireless advocacy has paved the way for many others to get the help they need when they need it most. 

If you slipped and fell at work, contact us today by calling 267-489-2204 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.