Legal Question in Personal Injury in Missouri

I work in a warehouse and had a slip and fall injury while working. I have worked at this company for over 7 months now and puddles of water are a common (at least 2 to 3 days a week) sight. I am not sure if the water is from overhead pipes or the roof.

The owner of the company has been aware of this problem as long as I have worked there and possibly longer. At least 3 employees have brought this to the owners attention as well in this time period but the problem still has not been fixed. The owners only action has been to place blue tape on the floor where puddles are known to form. There was no blue tape where my accident took place. I believe that the owner not taken appropriate or timely action to fix this hazard is the main cause of my accident.

My questions are: should I or could I even sue the owner and what would my chances of winning be?

Asked on 5/26/11, 7:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Harvath Harvath Law Offices-INJURY case representation

Hi. I am a workers' compensation and personal injury attorney out of the St. Louis area, although I handle claims throughout the entire state. I am sorry to hear about the accident, that, sounds to me, was preventable, if your employer had taken appropriate safety measures.

First off, you appear to have a workers' compensation claim against the insurance company of your employer. Under Missouri law, you are entitled to three types of benefits under the workers' compensation system, although you can be pretty sure that the insurance company will not be on your side in making sure you recover all the benefits you are legally entitled to. The first type of benefit is payment of all medical bills related to any treatment for the injuries incurred. Secondly, you are entitled to payment for days that you may have to miss from work for your treatment, or doctor visits. Finally, you are entitled to a lump sum settlement, which can be a substantial amount, if you have on-going or lasting disability or pain to any extent. A workers' compensation attorney can give you a good sense of the approximate level of compensation you are looking at based on the type of injuries you have sustained.

Secondly, you may also have an entirely separate civil, personal injury claim. The compensation received from a civil suit can be considerably higher than a workers' compensation claim. We review all the details of the situation very closely to establish a theory of negligence, if one can be found. Essentially, to establish negligence, it is required that you demonstrate that the employer created an "unreasonable" risk of injury. Your description indicates that negligence could potentially be established, although a few more details would be needed to make a full assessment. Placing blue tape on the floor is not a sufficient measure to warn of puddles on the floor. There are deadlines for the procedures for filing for your workers' compensation benefits and steps that should be taken quickly to preserve evidence for a potential separate civil claim.

I hope this helps, to at least some extent. For convenience, I can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]. Thank you.

NOTE: This answer is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. The use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege between the user and the attorney responding.

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Answered on 5/27/11, 12:00 am

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