Fall Injuries at the Workplace
Injuries from slips, trips, and falls are the second most common type of workplace injury. Falls can be debilitating, causing serious injuries that require ongoing medical treatment and missed time from work.
If you or a loved one fell on the job and are now coping with injuries, medical bills, and the frustration of missing paychecks, you need to speak to our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney about your right to benefits. For more than 10 years, the skilled legal team at the Kenton Koszdin Law Office has been helping workers who suffered debilitating workplace injuries from falls, and we are ready to help you now.
Schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you file for workers’ compensation benefits or fight for you if your initial claim has been denied.
Common Types of Injuries Caused by Falls
You don’t have to fall off a building (though falls from heights are common) to end up with serious, sometimes life-threatening injuries. How your body hits the ground, what type of surface you land on, how fast you were moving when you fell, etc., can all factor into how seriously you are hurt.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration lists the following as some of the most common workplace fall injuries:
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises: A cut requiring stitches will land you in an emergency room. That means you will be treated and assessed for further damage. If it’s deep enough or in a vulnerable area, damage can be severe and even incapacitating, with recovery taking weeks or months. Infection is a risk, even with a simple abrasion. Cuts and punctures are, in fact, one of the top reasons for lost workdays. Scrapes and bruises often are shrugged off, and that means underlying injuries can go untreated. It’s wise to have all injuries professionally assessed to ensure that there is no internal damage.
- Soft-tissue injuries: These are better known as sprains and strains. You have a sprain if you stress or tear ligaments. A strain is when you stretch a muscle and/or tendon too far. Scrapes and bruises can be signs of an underlying strain or sprain. Soft-tissue injuries also can go unnoticed initially. That’s why scrapes and bruises should be heeded as potential signs of further problems. The back often is subject to serious soft-tissue injuries in a slip-and-fall accident and can yield a lifelong debilitating condition. Care for these injuries usually includes painkillers, ice packs, and elevating injured areas. Surgeries and physical/occupational therapies might be needed.
- Broken bones: As people fall, they instinctively try to minimize the impact. As a result, hands, wrists, and elbows often absorb a lot of punishment. Hip and pelvic fractures are common, too, especially among older victims. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, hip fractures usually are the most serious fall injuries, leading to the most severe health problems, including death. Even simple breaks can result in long-term effects such as arthritis. If the break is severe enough, recuperation can involve reconstruction with metal plates, rods, and screws, and multiple surgeries are a possibility. Tissue damage poses the threat of blood clots and infection, both potentially lethal. Recovery can last months and include physical and occupational therapies – even vocational therapy if mobility is permanently affected.
- Head and brain injury: A bump on the head from a fall can be a sign of a concussion, and a severe concussion can be life-altering, affecting cognitive skills, speech, and movement. Severe blows to the head are common in falls and can yield traumatic brain injury. A TBI can change your personality, cripple, or even kill. Recovery can take years, and full recovery may not be possible. Long-term care can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech or language therapy, and vocational therapy. Specialists involved in your recovery can run the gamut from psychologists, psychiatrists, and family therapists to physiatrists.
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries: Falls are the No. 2 cause of spinal cord and brain injuries. With breaks and compressions possible, the effects can be disastrous and last a lifetime. The injury location is the determining factor when it comes to severity. Damage to the top of the spinal column poses the most risk of full paralysis. In severe cases, treatment is long, painful, and quite costly. Recovery can entail multiple surgeries and extensive rehabilitation to recover some semblance of normal physical activity. Slip-and-fall victims often tumble backward, producing a snapping motion of the head that can cause neck injuries such as whiplash. Whiplash sometimes displays no initial symptoms, so a thorough medical assessment is crucial after a fall. Pain medication and exercise may provide adequate relief, but chronic neck pain and long-term complications are possible.
The most common body parts injured in falls are the knee, ankle and/or foot, wrist and/or elbow, back and/or shoulder, hip, and head.
What to Do If You Are Injured in a Workplace Fall
If you take a tumble at work, there are common-sense steps that should be taken to address medical and legal complications – even if injuries are not immediately apparent.
- Get medical help. Follow the advice of your health care providers. Beyond the obvious reasons for medical care, the documentation that treatment produces — and proof that you sought care and followed instructions — can be the key to success in pursuing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Get your fall on the record. Tell your supervisor or supervisors what happened and get acknowledgement in writing. It is crucial that you report a workplace accident as soon as possible to protect your right to benefits.
- Take notes. Document where, how, and why you fell. Jot down the time and date. List all potential witnesses to the accident.
- Talk to an attorney. Although the California workers’ compensation system is designed to assist injured workers, a claim for benefits can be quite complex. You should schedule a free consultation with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss how to move forward.
Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Is Here to Help
The Kenton Koszdin Law Office has helped countless injured and disabled workers fight for the benefits they need after a serious on-the-job injury. When you schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable legal team, we will explain what to expect from the process and outline your next steps.
Contact us today to set up a claim evaluation at no charge. This evaluation can be done in your home, at the hospital, or wherever is most convenient.