Imagine walking down the hall at work when you suddenly trip and fall. Nothing is on the floor, nothing is wet or waxed, nothing to explain what caused your feet to suddenly go out from under you.It used to be that this was not covered under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. However, new case law has allowed for these workplace accidents to be covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Now, if an injured employee falls at work, as long as they were “actively engaged” in the duties of employment, even where there is no other basis for the fall, the causal relationship between the employment and the accident is met and the burden then shifts to the employer/carrier to prove an alternative cause. Caputo v. ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, 93 So.3d 1097 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012).
What this means is that the insurance company has to come up with an explanation based on medical evidence as to why the injured worker fell, other than their feet tripping, slipping, getting caught or stuck on the floor. If the insurance company fails to establish some alternative medical cause for the accident, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company has to pay for medical care and lost wages resulting from the accident.
Recently, a Melbourne, Florida workers’ compensation judge ruled that an injured worker was entitled to benefits due to an unexplained fall at work. On January 8, 2013, a Brevard County resident, employed as a Macy’s sales associate, made a quick turn to put a washcloth away before going to the stockroom when she fell to the floor. She stated that she could not recall tripping or slipping on anything, but that her feet fell out from under her and that she fell over her own feet. The fall resulted in a fracture to her right distal humerus at the elbow. An ambulance was called after the accident and the injured worker was transported to two hospitals where she ultimately had corrective surgery.
The workers’ compensation adjuster denied the case based on reports from her employer that she was clumsy and has a tendency to fall. The injured worker denied these allegations and testified that she had never fallen other this accident at work. The matter went to trial and the judge ruled that the insurance company had failed to provide any medical evidence showing a cause of the fall other than the work activity and awarded compensability in favor of the injured worker.
If you think you were hurt at work due to an unexplained fall call one of our experienced workers’ compensation attorney’s today. Call (561) 616-3800 or contact us online to speak with one of the dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt today.