Visitor Question

Injured leaving rented office space…

Submitted By: Lynne (Butler, Pennsylvania)

I work at an office space rented by my employer. I was leaving the building coming down the elevator and stepped out on to a tile floor that had been recently wet mopped as well as the elevator. I slipped and fell on the wet tile. There were no signs alerting people to wet floors. This was Friday and on Monday morning I reported it to the building manager. I never received a return call.

We were moving our office space that weekend and I never returned to that building. I struggled for 3 weeks and finally called the doctor for an appointment. I waited a week and went to my doctor to find out that my painful leg is broken.

I now have medical bills to pay and supportive equipment that was purchased to help me get around. The building manager stated that I should file a workers comp claim and my employer states that they have nothing to do with the injury as I was leaving the work place. Who is right? The injury was in PA.

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.

Answer

Dear Lynne,

The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act is intended to cover injuries caused to a worker while conducting his or her customary work duties. The statute reads in part:

“…but shall include all other injuries sustained while the employee is actually engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the employer’s premises or elsewhere, and shall include all injuries caused by the condition of the premises or by the operation of the employer’s business or affairs thereon, sustained by the employee, who, though not so engaged, is injured upon the premises occupied by or under the control of the employer, or upon which the employer’s business or affairs are being carried on, the employee’s presence thereon being required by the nature of his employment.”

Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Act, 17 C-1

It can be legitimately argued you were injured on your employer’s premises while in the course of your employment. You were leaving the office after working Friday evening. You went directly down the elevator to the main floor where you slipped and fell. While going down to the main floor you took no detours.

Your employer pays rent for the office space where he or she conducts business, and where you’re employed. However, that same rent includes access to the “common area.”  The common area includes elevators, the area where the office directory is located, restrooms, possibly a convenience store, and the rest of the main floor. Ergo, the common area is an extension of the office.

Until such time as you left the building and drove off the property, you were still on your employer’s premises while in the course of your employment.

There are some workers compensation claims which can be handled without an attorney. These usually include sprains and strains to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, minor burns, abrasions and contusions. However, more serious injuries like yours almost always require the expertise of an experienced workers comp attorney. This is especially true in your case because of the liability argument and your delay in seeking treatment for your injury.

Most workers compensation attorneys do not charge a fee for an initial office consultation. Gather copies of your medical records and meet with an attorney in your area. S/he will be able to give you a much better idea of who is liable, your chances of success, and your potential compensation.

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,

Published: October 19, 2017

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