Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries, sometimes so debilitating you can no longer perform many of the day-to-day functions you used to. In fact, one out of five falls causes a serious injury, such as a head injury or broken bones.
A “slip and fall” injury is described when one party is injured on the premises of another party. Slip and fall injuries can occur both inside and outside, and can range in seriousness from minor bumps and bruises to complex fractures and breaks.
If you or someone you love has suffered a slip and fall injury, you need to take it seriously and have it looked at by a doctor. Many times, the effects of a slip and fall aren’t felt right away, but a qualified physician can tell you if there’s more than meets the eye to your injury.
Some types of slip and fall accidents can be incredibly serious, so it is important to know what you are up against.
Head Injuries. One of the greatest risks of slip and fall injuries is suffering a serious head injury. Nearly 35 percent of brain injuries are caused by falls, which most commonly occur on slippery surfaces, such as wet sidewalks or when a liquid is spilled on the floor. While some slip and fall accidents result in no long-term consequences, others can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that lead to severe and sometimes permanent consequences. A TBI can also result in associated health problems, such as mood changes and seizures.
Back, Neck, and Spinal Cord Injuries. Injuries of the back, neck and spinal cord can result in long-term pain due to the difficulty of treating such injuries. These types of injuries are often caused by the impact of hitting the ground or another object during a slip and fall, sometimes causing a vertebrae in the spinal column to fracture or a disc to slip. In severe cases, an injury to the spinal cord can lead to temporary or permanent paralysis, or a possible sensory or neurologic impairment.
Hip and Pelvis Breaks. A large majority of slip and fall victims are elderly, which can result in more substantial pain and suffering as many mature adults are not able to heal as fast. When an individual experiences a slip and fall and breaks their hip or pelvis, they may require a prolonged stay in a rehabilitation center or nursing home. This type of injury will also likely require surgery and hospitalization for at least a week following the incident. In the break was severe, an artificial hip may have to be implanted to allow function to return.
Shoulder Injuries. Shoulder injuries may occur if a fall causes a jolt to your shoulder, often resulting in a dislocation or “brachial plexus” injury. The brachial plexus consists of a network of complex nerves that connect your shoulders to your spinal cord, arms, and legs. During a slip and fall accident, these nerves can be stretched or torn, resulting in pain and damage to the limb and joint. Depending on the severity of the shoulder injury, surgery and rehabilitation may be needed to eliminate pain and return full function.
Fractures and Sprains. The abrupt movement involved in a typical slip and fall accident can cause the victim to suffer from a fracture or sprain. The most common fractures and sprains occur on the hands, wrists, forearms, upper arms, ankles, hips, pelvis, and legs. While more common in older adults, fractures and sprains can occur in people of all ages. The most types of fractures and sprains do not result in any lasting side effects, but some can cause lingering pain or discomfort.
Torn Ligaments and Tendons. As mentioned above, it’s not always easy to tell what type of injury you have until you’ve been examined by a medical professional. This is especially true in the case of torn ligaments and tendons. When ligaments or tendons in the wrist, knee, or foot tear, it can make it difficult to complete your day-to-day activities, such as writing or walking. Surgery is often recommended to patients with serious torn ligaments or tendons. However, even with surgery, some patients do not always recover fully from their injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney promptly to discover where you stand. Slip and fall accidents can occur for a wide range of reasons, including spills, abrupt changes in flooring, hidden hazards, or poor lighting. Owners have a responsibility to ensure their property is safe, so you may be entitled to collect compensation for costs and damages associated with your injuries.
About the Author:
John K. Lawlor, a South Florida personal injury attorney who focuses his practice on complex personal injury, wrongful death, and professional malpractice, founded the law firm of Lawlor, White & Murphey in 1998. Since 1995, Mr. Lawlor’s trial advocacy and litigation skills, as well as his wide-ranging legal expertise, have provided plaintiffs and their families with a distinct advantage when seeking financial compensation and justice for injuries caused by the negligence of others. Mr. Lawlor is an EAGLE member of the Florida Bar Association and an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and several professional associations.