What if you slip on ice while at work?

Dec 15 2016

If you’ve ever watched a funny YouTube video of people slipping and falling on ice, you probably laughed a lot at the time. But when it happens to you, it’s not all that funny. You may try to take it in stride and go on with the rest of your day, but what if the fall is serious enough to land you in urgent care or the emergency room? And what if it happens at work?

Winter in Colorado means dealing with slippery, icy conditions on a regular basis. Most workplaces have excellent snow removal policies, but that doesn’t mean every surface is safe. Snow melts in the sun and then refreezes. Falls occur on sidewalks and steps, near entrances and exits, on loading docks and ramps.

Who’s most likely to be injured?

Numerous jobs expose workers to the elements: mail carrier, delivery driver, EMT, police officer, firefighter, construction worker – in fact, the list is quite long. Teachers, engineers and surveyors could be affected by icy falls, as could those working in the skiing or tourism industries. Even your average office worker can slip while walking near the office during work time.

What should I do if I’m hurt?

As long as you are working during your slip and fall, you are entitled to workers’ compensation. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which will pay for your medical costs and can also pay lost wages that occur as a result of being injured. But you can’t delay in telling your workplace about the accident. Know the rules: You have four business days to report the injury to your employer.

Employers need to take action as well. They have 10 days to report the injury to their insurance company and the process will begin.

This means that you shouldn’t sit around trying to determine whether your ankle is sprained or whether it’s worse. Instead, see a doctor. If your injury prevents you from working, workers’ compensation will help.

What types of injuries are common?

As you can imagine, falling onto the ice can lead to issues for your ankles, back, shoulders and neck. You could break an elbow or a finger. You could also suffer from the following common conditions:

  • Concussion
  • Fracture
  • Muscle tear
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Joint pain

Some workers can suffer permanent impairment or disability as a result of a dangerous fall.

While the process of filing a claim and receiving medical benefits from the insurer should, in theory, go smoothly, remember that the insurance company isn’t on your side. An insurance company can deny liability, low-ball your claim or dispute your injuries. It is a good idea to talk to an attorney to make sure you receive what you’re owed and get the medical care you deserve.