When I lived around San Francisco I’d take my son to this place in Half Moon Bay called the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. It was my favorite place to visit because at low tide you could explore tide pools. I’d walk out there with my toddler son at the time and marvel at all the crazy creatures we could find: star fish, sea anemones, octupus, shore crab, chitons, nudibranch (basically weird colorful sea slugs), etc. One big hazard that existed was that is was slippery as all get out; fortunately neither my son or I slipped and fell.
Now I live in Ohio; what does it do in the winter in Ohio? It gets cold, it snows, ice forms, roads and side walks get slippery. Inevitably slips and falls happen. So the question you may have is: “if I slip at work is this a workers comp injury?”
First did it happen at work or an area under the control of your employer. If you slipped on ice in your employer’s parking lot, probably a work injury. More difficult scenario, employer doesn’t own the parking lot. Again how much control does your employer have over the lot. This scenario is ripe for arguments pro/con at an Industrial Commission hearing. Probably comes down to which hearing officer you get whether the parking lot is construed as under the control of your employer. If its found that the parking lot was not under the control of your employer, then it would not be a work injury. In which case, you might be able to file a personal injury complaint against the owners of the parking lot.
Second, did you slip and fall on ice, or did you just fall apropos of nothing. If you just fall without any exterior influence, this would be an idiopathic injury, and as such would unfortunately not be a work injury.
The next question that people have about slips and falls at work are, “my employer is negligent, he should have shoveled or salted the parking lot/side walk.” Might be negligence, but in the worker’s comp world basic run of the mill negligence is not considered. This works both ways, I’ll got to hearings and the employer will say something like, “Joe Blow was doing such and such wrong and that’s why he got hurt.” Fortunately Joe Blow will still have a work injury claim even if he was doing such and such task wrong/incorrectly/negligently.
Anyways, back to me and why I wrote this article. I like to cut across the grass in front of our office to go to and from the building. As I was leaving to go home I cut across the grass, slipped and landed on my side. So would I have a work injury:
1.) Was the injury site owned or under control of my employer? Yeah, the little evil grass hill is owned by Malek and Malek
2.) Was it an idiopathic fall or fall due to external means? Now my brother would say I had an idiot pathetic injury, but I fell due to slipping on the grass. So the fall was due to external means.
3.) Did I suffer an injury? No, I killed my shirt and pants, but thankfully I did not suffer an injury.
Please be safe these snowy and icey days. Watch where step. We get clients who have sustained serious head injuries from bonk their head on the ground. Its no joke when you slip and fall. If you have a question, concern, or comment please call or email the Work Injury Attorneys at Malek & Malek. We’ll try to help you and set you on the right path. Cheers, Kip Malek