Attorney David J. King


Injuries from a work-related fall could prove serious

You, like most other South Dakota residents, work hard for a living. While you may not have landed your first-choice job, you still do your best to perform your delegated tasks as best as possible. Of course, you may work in an environment that poses certain hazards to your health and safety. Unfortunately, construction sites, warehouses, industrial plants and numerous other workplaces could put you at risk of falling.

At first, the idea of falling down may not seem like a big deal. After all, you’re a grown-up, so if you fall, you can get back up and brush yourself off, right? Well, that solution may not always be so easy if you find yourself involved in a work-related accident that causes you to fall from a significant height or onto a hard surface.

Falls can lead to injuries

Though falling as a child may have meant scrapes and bruises, falling on a construction site or in a warehouse could lead to more serious outcomes. Some common injuries that result from falls include the following:

  • Strains and sprains: Among the least serious fall injuries are sprains and strains. Your body may contort in an unexpected way as you fall, or you may try to catch yourself on a nearby object, which could lead to muscle injuries or even torn ligaments.
  • Injuries to the chest area: If you fall, your chest could bear the brunt of the impact, which could lead to broken ribs, bruising to the heart, injuries to your airway, damage to your diaphragm and more.
  • Broken bones: In addition to broken ribs, it is also possible for you to break other bones, like your arm, as you try to catch yourself or your leg if you land on it during the fall. Unfortunately, almost no bone is safe when a fall occurs.
  • Brain injury: You could easily hit your head during a fall, and the impact could lead to skull fractures or injury to your brain that could have long-lasting or even permanent effects.
  • Spinal injury: Your back could also suffer potentially irreversible damage due to a fall. Cracked or dislocated vertebrae, spinal cord damage, nerve damage, ruptured discs and paralysis are all potential outcomes.

As you can see, if you suffer any of these injuries as the result of a fall-related accident on the job, you could be out of work for some time and also have to contend with medical bills and other costs stemming from the incident. Fortunately, injuries that occur at work are often covered by workers’ compensation, and gaining information on your rights to such benefits may be useful after an on-the-job accident.