Visitor Question

Injured Back In Fall While Working at a Coffee House…

Submitted By: Linda (Wenatchee, WA)

I’ve been experiencing severe back pain for quite some time but recently I’ve been experiencing the pain at a different level. I find that I can no longer wear high heels for more than a couple of hours because it feels as though my back might go out. I started experiencing this pain after having an accident at work.

I worked as a barista for a well known coffee shop. My team and I were closing the store so everyone was assigned to their task. I was bringing clean dishes from the back to the front of the store where my coworker was apparently mopping. There was no wet floor sign up (as he had forgotten to put one up) and I did not realize the floor was wet, so as soon as I stepped on the wet floor I slipped and landed on my back. My lower back is where I felt the most impact.

I was so embarrassed as the shift leader was standing over me and was red at the face from laughing so hard. He finally asked if I was ok and helped me up. I was in a lot of pain but since we were almost off I said I’d be ok, I just wanted to lay down. Luckily we were done closing. The shift leader had me fill out an incident report where I explained everything the same as I am right now.

After this incident I was given a few days off and that was the end of it. It’s now been about 5 years and my back pain is getting worse and worse. I plan on seeing a chiropractor but I’m worried if this is serious and I can not afford the bill? Is there a law that protects me, or should the company have looked more into the incident? Should I have done more at the time? Is there anything I can do now about this?

I need some kind of help. This happened around September 2005 and the incident occurred in San Diego, CA. I now live in Washington. Thank you for any information you can give about my situation.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Linda,

Regrettably, the Statute of Limitations or “time period” in which you are legally permitted to file a lawsuit in the State of Washington is 3 years.

What your facts omit is whether at the time of your fall your employer was covered by workers compensation insurance. You mentioned you worked for a national chain of well-known coffee shops. There aren’t too many national coffee shops, and from what you’ve implied, and the title of “Barista” you have used, it might be deduced you work for a company somewhat like the one who begins with a bright shining light in the sky and ends with a male deer.

We suggest you contact the corporate headquarters of your previous employer to see if a workers compensation claim was ever opened on your behalf. If it was, and was filed timely, the case could conceivably still be opened. If it is, you may still be able to collect those benefits which might have been applicable at, or about the time of your injury.

Learn more here: Slip and Falls

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck!


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