Know Your Rights After a Fall at Work
Most people go to work every day to earn wages to support their household and lifestyle. You don’t expect to put your health and safety on the line. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that about 2.9 million people suffered job-related injuries or illnesses in the United States in 2016.
Falls are some of the most common causes of work injuries across many different industries.
In U.S. workplaces in a single year, statistics of work-related falls include:
- 261,930 workers in both private and public sectors suffered injuries from falls that required them to miss at least one day of work
- 798 workers did not survive their fall-related injuries
Non-fatal falls can result in serious injuries that require medical treatment, time away from work, or permanent life-altering disabilities. It is important to recognize fall risks and know your rights if you sustain injuries from a job-related fall. Industries with high risks of falling include:
Construction – Construction workers often work from scaffolding, beams, cranes, and other high places. The risk of falls is so severe, in fact, that falls are considered to be one of construction’s “fatal four” types of accidents that cause the most fatalities among construction workers. Falls cause more than 38 percent of construction work-related deaths, and many more catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
Others who work from heights – While the construction industry deserves its own mention for its high fall rate, anyone else who works from heights is inherently at risk of falling. This can include painters, roofers, window cleaners, firefighters, utility workers, and anyone else who works from a ladder or another elevated place.
All other industries – Because falls can happen on even ground – often if you slip or trip – almost anyone at any workplace is at risk of falling. There can be slippery floors or trip hazards in office buildings, schools, and other workplaces that may seem relatively safe. Slip and falls can cause surprisingly serious injuries and you should always be aware of the possibility that you may slip and fall at work. If you slip and fall, don’t just brush it off—especially if you slipped because of a hazardous condition that may be your employer’s responsibility.
If you are injured in a work-related fall, your rights depend on whether or not your employer subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance. Texas does not require employers to do so. However, if an employer does not carry insurance, it may nonetheless be held liable for on-the-job injuries in a personal injury lawsuit. These cases are very fact-specific, so you should always have an experienced work-related injury attorney evaluate your legal rights and options.