Loading docks play an important role in the shipping process, but they can be dangerous places for workers. It's been estimated that up to one-quarter of warehouse accidents occur on loading locks, with the majority of injuries resulting from a slip and fall. If you've been injured in this type of accident, it's vital that you understand how to protect your right to compensation.
About Loading Dock Slip and Fall Accidents
Warehouse loading dock slip and fall accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, including:
Common causes of this type of workers' compensation claim include:
- Floors that are wet or slippery from water, grease, or spilled cleaning chemicals
- Cracks, holes, or other signs of damage to the flooring
- Packing, tools, or debris left in inappropriate locations
- Poor lighting
- Dock plates that aren't properly secured
- Worn dock plating without a protective non-skid surface coating
- A lack of barriers near the edge of dock doors to prevent falls
- Engaging in unsafe behavior such as jumping on or off the loading dock
- Accidentally driving equipment off the loading dock
- Allowing unauthorized and/or untrained personnel into the loading dock area
What to Do After a Loading Dock Slip and Fall Accident
Workers' compensation benefits cover nearly all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers in Louisiana, as well as certain types of independent contractors. Fault is not a factor, so you can still receive benefits even if your injury is the result of your own carelessness or inexperience. However, claims may be denied if you were intoxicated or willfully attempting to harm yourself.
To begin the process of filing a claim, report your injury to your supervisor and the company's human resources department. Provide them with the date, time, location, and circumstances of your loading dock slip and fall injury. If you don't report your injury within 30 days, you lose your right to benefits.
You can see the doctor of your choice for necessary medical treatment, even if he is not included on the approved provider list from your employer. Even if you think your injuries are relatively minor, you must still be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Do not wait to see if your injury will get better, since you need to establish clear documentation of the cause of your condition.
As you're recovering from your injuries, you should take care to keep detailed records of your medical treatment, treatment-related expenses, and any ongoing symptoms that will affect your ability to return to work.
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits
Your workers' compensation benefits will pay for medical treatment, as well as reimbursement for necessary mileage and travel expenses. Income replacement benefits will help restore a portion of your wages for the time you are unable to work due to your slip and fall injuries. If you've been left permanently disabled, you'll be entitled to rehabilitation services and additional disability benefits.
Possibility of a Third-Party Claim
In the majority of cases, a worker injured in a loading dock slip and fall accident must file a workers' compensation claim to seek damages. However, a third-party claim may also be possible in some circumstances. For example, spills or hazards left by an independent cleaning contractor that led to your accident may create the basis of a valid personal injury claim against the cleaning company. Or, if a defect in the forklift you were driving caused you to drive off the edge of the loading dock, you may have a valid product liability claim.
How Neblett, Beard & Arsenault Can Help
Whenever you've suffered a serious workplace slip and fall injury, it's vital that you protect your rights by retaining the services of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. The dedicated legal team at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping injured Louisiana workers receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. To learn more, contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free case review at one of our six convenient office locations.