Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common workers’ compensation claims in New Jersey. The frequency of slip and fall accidents is due to the wide variety of hazards that can lead to a slip and fall and the number of work environments where these accidents are likely to occur. From offices to warehouses, construction sites to hospitals, and even in restaurants and retail, there are hazards that can cause an employee to slip, trip, or fall.
Despite the regularity of a slip and fall accidents, few New Jersey workers are certain how to react or what to do after they take a tumble. At the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone, we handle several slip and fall workers’ compensation cases each year and can offer a solid set of first steps to any employee that is facing injury or time away from work after a slip, trip, or fall in the workplace.
Make an Assessment of Your Injuries
If you are seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, then your first reaction and responsibility are seeking medical attention. Whether you need a co-worker or manager to call emergency medical services, such as an ambulance, or request a ride to the nearest hospital, it is important to get treatment. Broken bones, fractures, deep lacerations, neck injuries, lower back pain, and head injuries are all reasons to seek immediate medical assistance.
In cases where your injuries from a slip and fall do not require urgent medical attention, you should first approach human resources of your manager about the accident. It is crucial for a workers’ compensation claim that you inform management of your slip and fall and doing so early can prevent disagreements or disputes at a later date. As well, informing a manager about your accident ensures you seek treatment at a hospital, doctor, or other medical facilities that are approved by the company’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Give Notice of Your Slip and Fall
If you weren’t able to inform a manager of your accident the day it occurred, you need to provide notice of the slip and fall soon after. Under recommendations and best practices for New Jersey workers’ compensation, notice of a workplace injury should be provided within 14 days of the accident.
You do not need to give your manager of human resources notice of an accident in writing. A short, verbal description of the accident is sufficient to meet workers’ compensation requirements. Once you have informed a manager or other representative of the company that you suffered a slip and fall, it is your employer’s responsibility to tell the appropriate insurance provider.
Even when a slip and fall is caused by your negligence or the negligence of another employee, you are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You could have spilled the water that later led to your fall or checked your phone while moving quickly down the stairs, these accidents still qualify for workers’ compensation. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to tell an employer about a slip and fall because you caused the circumstances or situation.
Write Down the Events of Your Slip and Fall
Most employers in New Jersey are responsive to notification of a slip and fall in the workplace. The information provided by an employee is given to the workers’ compensation insurance provider and the provider opens a new claim.
The facts of the slip and fall are confirmed with the employee and the extent of injuries determined. The insurance company is likely to offer a settlement amount to the employee early in this process. Whether to accept or deny the settlement offer is a great question for a New Jersey workers’ compensation lawyer. Eventually, the claim is filed with the New Jersey Department of Labor and the injured employee receives benefits to cover medical bills, lost wages, and temporary or permanent disability.
However, what if your employer doesn’t follow the appropriate protocol or the insurance company denies the claim? You will need to fight for your workers’ compensation benefits, and a written record of your accident will help.
The timeframe from an accident occurring to a workers’ compensation hearing with the Department of Labor could be months. In that intervening period of time, details of your accident might fade and facts become confused, but your written notes will keep the information fresh and your story cohesive to a New Jersey lawyer and in the hearing.
Follow Up on Your Claim
Under New Jersey law, a workers’ compensation insurance company has 60 days to process a claim for benefits and medical expenses. Claims that take longer than this are entitled to certain recourse, including simple interest on the amount owed. However, you should follow up on a workers’ compensation case long before this time has expired.
If you are unable to work, you are entitled to start receiving benefits for temporary disability, paid retroactively to the first day you are out of work. For a serious slip and fall, you could be on temporary disability for weeks or even months and you don’t have to endure substantial delays to receive your entitled benefits.
Our recommendation at the Law Office of Albert J. Talone is to follow up with your employer five days after reporting your slip and fall accident. Then inquire about your workers’ compensation claim five days after that. If your slip and fall has not been reported to the insurance company within 15 days of your notice to a manager or human resources, it is time to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. Call Albert J. Talone at (856) 234-4023.