If you’ve recently been injured due to a slip and fall or a trip and fall, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are injured as a result of falls every year. Many of these falls occur in work-related scenarios and many occur outside of a work-related context. Your legal rights, options, and opportunities to receive compensation will largely be defined by where your fall occurred, whether you were working at the time of your fall, and whether another’s conduct contributed to the cause of your fall.

Premises Liability Damages

As an experienced Richmond, VA slip and fall lawyer – including those who practice at MartinWren, P.C. – can explain in greater detail, the law generally protects the rights of individuals to sue if they fall and are hurt on another’s property but not their own. This is because the legal standard that must be met in most premises (property) liability cases focuses on the conduct of a property owner other than the victim.

To succeed in a personal liability lawsuit, you’ll likely need to prove that the property owner named as a defendant either knew or should have known that their property was affected by a hazardous condition and that they failed to take necessary steps to mitigate the risk of danger associated with that condition.

With that said, there are times that injury victims can sue if they’ve fallen on their own property, provided that something beyond their control caused the fall. For example, if defective flooring caused a homeowner’s fall or a business owner’s fall, they could potentially sue the manufacturer of the defective flooring. Similarly, if a property owner falls due to an assault, they could sue their attacker for damages.

Workers’ Compensation

A staggering fraction of work-related injuries are caused by fall-related scenarios. Whether you work in construction or healthcare, education or retail, if your fall was work-related, you may be in a position to collect workers’ compensation benefits as a result of your harm.

Generally speaking, if you’re classified as a part-time employee, a full time employee, or you’ve been wrongfully classified as an independent contractor (because you do the work of an employee), it is very likely that you’re covered by workers’ comp. Only (properly classified) independent contractors, workers in some specialty industries, and workers for very, very small companies are generally exempt from coverage.

It’s important to clarify whether you’re covered by workers’ compensation insurance as soon as you possibly can after a work-related fall. Applying for workers’ compensation benefits is an unusually time-sensitive legal process. If you wait even a week after your fall to start the application process, you may be barred from seeking workers’ comp benefits in some states.

Note that workers’ compensation claims adjusters aren’t generally concerned with the issue of fault. As long as an injury occurs while a worker is engaged in employment-related activities, that worker will generally remain eligible to receive benefits even if they accidentally caused their own harm.