Have you ever had a dream that you were falling? If you have, you will know that even in dreams, the sensation of falling is not pleasant. It is even more frightening if you suffer a serious injury due to a fall at work; and if that fall is caused by circumstances in which you are not to blame, then you may be entitled to claim for compensation.
Types of Falls that Can Cause Injury
When we think about injuries and fatalities caused by falls, we tend to imagine someone plummeting to the earth from a great height. The survival rate for a fall of three stories is around 50%, and almost no one survives a fall of ten stories or more. However, there are a small number of exceptions. In 2007 a window cleaner called Alcides Moreno amazed doctors after he survived a fall of 47 stories from a New York building. Mr. Moreno was standing on a window cleaning scaffold with his brother when the equipment securing the platform failed, resulting in the pair plummeting 500 feet. Mr. Moreno’s brother was killed instantly, but Mr. Moreno survived and settled for an undisclosed sum after a Manhattan court found both the scaffolding company and the building owners liable for the accident.
Even more miraculous is the tale of Shayna Richardson, an amateur sky-diver whose main parachute and reserve failed to open on her first jump. She fell 10,000ft and slammed face first into a concrete parking lot. Although every bone in her face and pelvis shattered, requiring extensive reconstructive surgery and rehabilitation, Ms. Richardson survived. Not only that, in hospital it was discovered she was two weeks’ pregnant. The baby also lived, and Ms. Richardson performed another skydive after her son was born to prove she could still do it.
Falls in the workplace do not necessarily need to be from great heights to cause horrific injuries. Last year, a 50-year-old woman who worked in a charity shop, received £50,000 for the additional disability she acquired following a fall at work. A ladder had been left leaning against a wall which the claimant’s walking stick caught on, resulting in her suffering a fall. Given her pre-existing spina bifida, she was left with decreased mobility and suffered a soft tissue injury to her wrist.
In another case, a 29-year-old man received £75,000 for a serious fracture to his talus bone sustained while he was working as a roofer in April 2010 and fell through scaffolding. He suffered an osteochondral lesion requiring arthroscopic debridement, after which he was precluded from heavy, physical work, and was expected to develop symptomatic arthrosis.
Actions to take if you suffer a fall at work
If you suffer a fall, then your priority should be to seek medical attention immediately. Once you have attended to your injuries you should take the following steps so you can claim compensation:
- contact an experienced personal injury solicitor who can discuss the circumstances of your fall and advise you on your next steps.
- take notes of the details of the accident and, if possible, pictures of the place where the fall occurred. If there were lose paving stones or a wet floor which caused you to trip or slip and then fall, make sure you document evidence highlighting these contributing factors to the accident
- collect the names and addresses of any witnesses to the incident.
- find out who is legally obliged to take responsibility for the property where the fall occurred
- report the injury in the workplace accident log
- if the fall resulted in a serious injury, the accident may need to be reported in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)
Catastrophic injuries resulting from a fall do not necessarily involve great height. If the victim is elderly or has a pre-existing disability, a simple fall to the ground from a standing up position can cause life-changing trauma.Many impact injuries resulting from a fall require rehabilitation to enable the victim to resume normal activities. Claiming compensation is the first step towards ensuring an extensive rehabilitation and treatment programme is devised and embarked upon.
At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims. If you have suffered an injury because of an accident that was not your fault and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.