You have no doubt that your injury was caused by a fall at work. However, your accident is not quite as open-and-shut as other fall cases. Since you fell on a staircase, your employer is claiming that you are to blame for the injury because you should have been more careful. Are there special rules for workers’ comp injuries that occur in stairways?
When Workers’ Comp Should Pay for a Fall Down Stairs
The key to getting workers’ compensation (and possibly more) for your injury is proving that your employer was somehow at fault for your accident. If an injury occurred on work property, you are eligible for workers’ compensation; if your employer was negligent, you could have a claim for additional damages.
Here are a few ways starts and staircases have caused work injuries in the past:
- Icy outdoor stairs. While it may be impossible to prevent snow and ice from building up on outdoor stairs, staircases outside buildings should be constructed to encourage water runoff and regularly shoveled and salted in the winter.
- Slick stairs. Stairs may be unnecessarily slippery due to wear and tear, or even because the building material itself (such as tile or marble) provides little traction. Wet surfaces should always have warning signs posted, while smooth stairs should have anti-slip strips or padding installed to prevent falls.
- Defective stairs. Stairs may be built or measured improperly, increasing the risk of trips and falls. If the stair height, depth, of variance between the steps is not measured carefully or has been affected by wear and tear, employees may lose their balance as a result.
- Lack of handrails. A lack of proper handrails in a stairwell can not only cause injury, it can also be a violation of the building code. Certain types of stairs will require handrails to be installed, maintained, and placed at the proper height to help users up and down stairs effectively.
We can help determine if a building code violation or other employer negligence contributed to your fall. Fill out the short contact form on this page to tell us about your case, or read through a FREE copy of our book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.