Are falls at work covered by workers' compensation?
You keep hearing and reading that any injury on the job is covered by workers' compensation - liability doesn't matter, as long as you were at work when you were hurt. Right?
Of course, your employer and the insurance company will deny or limit your claim any way they can - they are in business to make money, and compensating you for your injuries takes money out of their pocket...
What types of defenses do the insurance companies have that apply to falls at work? If you were intoxicated, they will not pay. If you were "horsing around" they will not pay. Even if you were injured "on the job," if the cause of a fall at work is not job-related, they will not pay. What if falls at work happen in the parking lot outside?
Apart from reporting the accident to your employer, do not make any unnecessary statements to your employer or the insurance company until you have met with your SC workers' compensation attorney - the insurance company will use your statements to deny your claim if possible.
Call the Myrtle Beach workers' compensation attorneys at Axelrod and Associates now or send us an email to schedule an appointment before making any statements or moving forward with your injury claim.
When are Falls at Work Covered by Workers' Compensation in SC?
Like any other on-the-job injury, falls at work are covered by workers' compensation in SC, without regard to liability (whose fault it was), if the fall happened on the job and was "within the scope of your employment."
Types of Falls at Work
When I think of lawyers and "slip-and-fall" cases, I picture grandma walking in the produce section at the grocery store and stepping on an old banana peel as her feet fly out from under her...
Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall injuries are covered by workers' compensation, but there are other types of falls at work. For example, falling from a higher level - employees can fall from roofs, stairs, balconies, ladders, or equipment on the job.
Falls at work could be caused by an old banana peel or a liquid spill. They could also be caused by cords, wires, debris, equipment, or other employees. Regardless of the type of fall or the cause of the fall, it is covered by workers' comp if it happened on the job and within the scope of your employment.
Does Workers' Compensation Cover Falls at Work in the Parking Lot?
What if you fall in the parking lot as you are walking to your car at the end of the day or coming in to work in the morning?
If you are arriving at or leaving your place of employment, you fall in the parking lot outside, and the fall is not caused by horseplay, intoxication, or another disqualifying reason, you should be covered by workers' compensation.
The fact that the fall happened outside of the workplace, however, may prompt the insurance company to attempt to deny your claim - contact your workers' comp attorney immediately.
How are Personal Injury Claims for Falls at Work Different?
If you fall at work because of someone else's negligence (other than your employer), you may have a personal injury claim for damages. You might have a workers' comp claim, a personal injury claim, or both.
In a personal injury claim, you must prove the at-fault person's liability. If a third party, other than your employer, caused the slip and fall, they are responsible for the damages that result. Even if the fall was caused by a third party's negligence, your employer may also be responsible to cover your injuries through their workers' comp policy, although you cannot recover twice for the same injury.
When is Workers' Comp Coverage Denied for Falls at Work in SC?
Workers' compensation coverage can be denied for falls at work, depending on the cause of the fall. The primary question courts will want to answer is whether the fall "arose out of and was in the scope of your employment."
Horseplay is Not Covered by Workers' Compensation
For example, horseplay is not covered by workers' compensation.
Even though you are on the clock and at your workplace when the fall happens, if it was caused by you wrestling with a coworker you will most likely not be covered. Simply put, your job duties do not require wrestling and your employer has no obligation to compensate you for injuries that did not arise from your employment.
Your Claim May be Denied if You Test Positive for Drugs or Alcohol
Similarly, your claim may be denied if you were intoxicated on drugs or alcohol. People who are drunk or high tend to have more accidents, and that is probably not your employer's fault.
Was the Cause of the Fall Within the Scope of Your Employment?
The most important question is whether the fall "arose out of and was within the scope of your employment."
Were you on a personal errand at the time? Workers' compensation will cover accidents that happen outside of the workplace if you are on work-related business.
If you fall and are injured while you are attending a business meeting on the other side of town, workers' comp will probably cover it. On the other hand, if you stopped by a friend's house for a cup of coffee on the way back from work and fall in their driveway, it probably will not be covered.
Whether falls at work are covered by workers' compensation in SC can be a complex question that turns on the location and cause of the fall. Your Myrtle Beach workers' compensation attorney on the Axelrod team will help you to determine whether you are entitled to workers' compensation coverage, help you to make your claim, and represent you before the workers' compensation commission.