Businesses Beware of Slip and Falls this Winter

Employee Slip and Falls

If your employee falls and is injured in your parking lot it’s likely the employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits—regardless of who’s responsible for snow removal.

Employees are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits when an injury occurs in the course of employment. Generally, injuries sustained going to and coming from the workplace are not deemed to have occurred in the course of employment.

One exception, however, is the so-called “parking lot rule.” This holds that, if an injury occurs in a parking lot or other off-premises area over which the employer has some control, the injury may be considered work-related and subject to workers’ compensation benefits.

Does Your Business Rent Your Space?

It is important to contact your landlord if snow removal is not up to par. Let the landlord know that your employees are in danger of falling due to snow and ice. Be specific about the areas that need to be addressed—the steps near the front door or the sidewalk near the north end of the parking lot, for example.

If your organization leases office space from a property manager or if you employ a third party for snow removal services and your employee fell due to poor maintenance or slippery conditions in the parking lot, you or your insurer may be able to recover some workers’ compensation benefits from the third party. The third party physically responsible for plowing/de-icing may be liable as well.

Do what you can to prevent winter slips and falls by thinking outside the box.

Hazards to watch for:

  • Snow-covered ice
  • Black ice
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Unsalted sidewalks and parking lots
  • Tip: Personally walk the area to get a first-hand look at any problem areas that are in high-traffic zonesIf you have any questions regarding the coverages on your commercial insurance policy, the friendly and knowledgeable staff members of Joy Insurance would be happy to help answer them for you. We can also offer a no-risk, competitively priced quote for your business today!
  • The above information is an excerpt adapted from the article, “Slips and Falls: Prevent wintertime falls that impact your work comp costs” by Merchants Insurance Group. Of you would like to learn more about possible slip and falls, you can visit www.wcfgroup.com.
  • Slip and fall incidents are very common claims filed during the winter season. You should not only try to protect the employees walking into your building, but also be very aware of customers coming and going as well.

Although we all want to believe that no one would ever slip and fall on purpose to sue for damages, this sort of incident does occur. Whether a claim filed against your business is legitimate or fraudulent you want to ensure that you took the proper precautions and are not deemed negligent.