How to Deal with a Slip and Fall Injury at work in North Carolina?

November 15, 2022 2:58 am

How to Deal with a Slip and Fall Injury at work in North Carolina?

By: Perry Morrison

How to Deal with a Slip and Fall Injury at work in North Carolina?

What re a Slip and Fall Injuries?

A workplace can be a dangerous environment for your health and safety. Workplace injuries result from workplace accidents. North Carolina law defines workplace accidents as sudden interruptions of the usual routine at the workplace by unexpected events. Very common work routine interruptions are slip and fall accidents that result in serious injuries, giving the injured worker right to compensation for lost wages and medical expenses.   Usually, falls (even by an undetermined cause) are by definition considered workplace accidents in North Carolina.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Typical causes of slip and fall accidents include damaged stairs, poor lighting, escalator accidents, icy or snowy walkways, stairs without handrails, cracks or holes in floors, wet floors, improper carpeting (wear and tear), etc.

The Most Common Injuries

The most common injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents are:

  • Cuts and Abrasions. Slipping on the wet floor or falling off the stairs inevitably causes cuts or abrasions. Typical locations of cuts and abrasions are knees, elbows, and other body parts we use to alleviate sudden falls. In severe cases, cuts and abrasions may indicate broken bones or concussions.
  • Strains and Sprains. The most typical soft tissue injuries are strains and sprains. In almost all cases, slip and fall injuries cause ankle or wrist sprains or ligament and tendon strains.
  • Broken bones. Treating broken bones may require multiple surgeries. Sometimes surrounding tissues can be damaged as well, causing bleeding and swelling. The post-injury treatment can be long and arduous.
  • Head injuries. Never underestimate your head injury. Slips and falls can cause severe medical conditions, including subdural bleeding and loss of consciousness. That may lead to traumatic brain injury (TBI), which could require immediate surgery, and also require many months of recovery. Sometimes the first symptoms can occur a day or two after the injury (when the subdural bleeding becomes excessive), but it might be too late if you wait so long. If you suffer any head injury, seek medical help immediately.
  • Spinal cord injuries. Falling and slipping are sudden moves that often cause spinal cord compression. These are life-threatening injuries that require immediate medical attention. In the most severe cases, spinal cord injuries can result in quadriplegia (total paralysis) or paraplegia (lower limbs paralysis).
  • Internal injuries. In extreme cases, slip and fall accidents result in internal injuries. The most common examples are internal bleeding and other internal organ injuries requiring immediate medical attention.

Step-by-step Guide on Handling a Slip and Fall Injury in North Carolina

Did you suffer a workplace slip and fall injury? Are you familiar with your rights, the employer’s safety policy, and the compensation procedure? To help you navigate through the post-injury process, below is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with a slip and fall injury in North Carolina:

Step-by-step Guide on Handling a Slip and Fall Injury in North Carolina

1. Get Medical Help Immediately

The first you need to do after experiencing a slip and fall injury (no matter how serious) is seek immediate medical attention. There are situations when you cannot estimate the degree of trauma, but that does not mean you should take it lightly. For example, head injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents can seem harmless at first, especially if there is no bleeding. But while you do not see external symptoms, you may suffer from subdural bleeding, which can cause hematoma pressuring your brain. If you do not treat it on time (by surgery), it could cause death. Even if your injury does not require medical treatment (ankle sprain), you still need to see a doctor. That is because you need your doctor to document the wounds, and also determine if you have any work restrictions.

2. Report the Incident As Soon As Possible

After taking care of your injury and receiving medical treatment, you should report the accident as soon as possible. Your employer must know about the incident to conduct an investigation and see if employees followed the safety policy. If an adequate safety policy is in place, accidents usually occur due to ignoring the safety rules. For example, the workers maintaining the premises failed to put wet floor signs or forgot to fix lighting, etc. Depending on the investigation results, your employer can conclude that you or other workers did not follow safety policy or take steps to improve policy and prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

3. Document the Accident

The next step is documenting the incident. You must write down what happened, how, where, and what injuries you suffered. If possible, take pictures or make videos documenting the conditions causing you to slip or fall. Both photos and videos from the accident scene are evidence of injuries for the future compensation procedure. Pay attention to details and photograph cracks, holes, icy surfaces, folded carpets, or other reasons causing you to fall or slip.

4. Identify the Witnesses and Gather Their Contact Information

If other employees, customers, or clients witnessed the accident, ask them about their names, and take their phone numbers and email address. If your employer covers their premises with surveillance cameras, obtain the footage witnessing your slip or fall. But you must do that as soon as possible because surveillance footage deletes automatically after a specific period. Or the owner may delete it purposefully to destroy crucial evidence pointing to their responsibility.

5. Provide Necessary Statements and Cooperate With the Investigation

Cooperating with the official investigation is key to ensuring you get compensation for your lost wages and medical treatment. That is because North Carolina law mandates employers with three or more employees to provide compensation insurance. To allow reimbursement within the insurance system, the employer must investigate to determine the circumstances surrounding the accident. Therefore, you must cooperate with the investigation by giving truthful and accurate statements to supervisors or participating in recorded interviews.

6. Check Your Employer Workplace Safety Policy

After your workplace injury case is over, review your employer’s workplace safety policy. Get familiar with the requirements at your job to avoid future accidents. Recommend safety policy improvements and share your experience and observations with the employer, helping them upgrade workplace safety. The goal is to ensure a similar accident does not happen to you or other employees.

7. Contact an Experienced Worker’s Compensation Lawyer

Whenever you get involved in a workplace accident (slip and fall or other), consider consulting an experienced compensation attorney. Regardless of how you deal with your compensation case (through settlement or by filing a claim), you will need the refined skills of a well-versed compensation lawyer to help you navigate through complex procedures. Remember that your employer (and the insurance company) will try to avoid paying compensation entirely or seek to pay the minimum amount required by law. The job of your compensation attorney is to help you receive just compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses.

8. File a Compensation Claim

Disagreeing with your employer’s compensation offer gives rise to a compensation dispute. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) administers the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act and decides on workers’ compensation claims, resolving the conflicts between insurance carriers and injured workers. Under North Carolina law, there is a two-year statute limitation for filing a Form 18 “Employee’s Notice of Injury,” counting from the date of injury. That means you must file a claim with the NCIC within two years after you sustain a slip and fall injury. Otherwise, you will lose the right to pursue compensation before the Commission.

Reach Out to Perry Morrison

Reach Out to Perry Morrison

B. Perry Morrison, Jr. is a distinguished North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney with more than three decades of experience. Over more than 30 years in practice, Mr. Morrison has dealt with thousands of contested compensation cases and has helped his clients receive fair compensation. In addition to other compensation areas, Perry is well-versed in bringing financial and emotional satisfaction to workers injured in slip and fall accidents.

Whether you settle your claim or pursue just compensation with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, Mr. Morrison is your safe bet.

Call today to schedule your appointment: 252-243-1003.

Servicing The Following Counties In North Carolina