Visitor Question

No help after falling off a ladder at work?

Submitted By: Luis (Santa Cruz, California)

I was hired by a company to cut tree limbs. On this day the job required me to be on a step ladder outside the 2nd floor of a home. Just as I was finishing cutting the limbs, I slipped and fell off the ladder. The house vent broke my fall. I fell on my lower back and right shoulder.

The man I was working for rushed over to see if I was injured. So did a lady who was passing by. I was in shock, but after a few minutes I was able to get up. I was in fear of losing my job, so after a couple of minutes I stood up and told my boss I was alright and that I was able to return to work.

I continued working for a while. However, a short time later my back, neck, and right shoulder began to hurt. I explained to my boss I was really hurting and needed to go home and rest. I asked him to pay me for the work I had already performed. My boss refused and told me he wouldn’t pay me until I finished the job.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I had no appetite. I was dizzy and my hands were numb. I went to the emergency room at the local hospital. X-rays were taken. There were no fractures, but the doctor said I needed to follow up with my own doctor.

What should I do? I don’t have the money to pay for doctor’s bills. I’m in a lot of back, neck, and shoulder pain.

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 Luis,

You have two (2) options:

First: Under the California Code Section 3700, California employers with one (1) or more employees must provide workers compensation benefits to those employees. Employers  in California who fail to have workers comp coverage are subject to criminal prosecution which may include a fine of not less than $10,000 and imprisonment in the county jail for up to one (1) year, or both.

Contact your employer and tell him you were injured and want to file a workers compensation claim. He should refer you to his workers comp insurance carrier. From there you will be able to file a claim for benefits. For more information on your rights under California’s Workers Compensation laws go to California Department of Industrial Relations.

Second: The homeowner may have homeowners insurance in effect at the time you fell. This insurance may provide medical benefits. Speak with the homeowner and ask if he or she carries homeowners insurance. If so, ask for the name and contact in information for their insurance company.

Unfortunately, homeowners aren’t required by California law to provide such information to anyone unless ordered to do so under subpoena, or by other court order.

Learn more here: Back Injuries at Work

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 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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