When you visit a retail store, walk across a parking lot or along someone’s driveway, the last thing you expect is to suffer an injury. But if the floor is wet, slippery, or there was something on it that should not have been there, that is precisely what might end up happening. And if it happens to you, and although it serves as no consolation, you should know that you are not alone. Millions of people every year end up in the emergency room after slipping and falling on someone’s property and suffering an injury. And the extent of those injuries and their effects cover a wide range of possibilities. Let’s have a look at the most common ones:
As a person falls, stressful forces can impact the bones resulting in fractures. These can happen in the arms, legs, the hip, the wrist, and the ankle, among the most usual ones. And it seems as though the older the person who falls is, the more risk they have of suffering more than one fracture, although anyone has a right to recover financially for their injuries, regardless of how old they are.
Statistics show that almost all broken hips are the result of falls. Sadly, these hip fractures generally require surgery and hospitalization, as well as a lengthy recovery time. In extreme cases, a hip replacement may be called for.
Taking an uneven steep on a surface that is not perfectly flat or is filled with water can result in a sprained ankle which, in some cases, is accompanied by a sprained wrist when the person tries to break the fall with their hands. Since ligaments and small bones are involved in these sprains, recovery can be slow and painful.
Injuries to the Back and Spinal Cord
Slip and fall accidents can cause damage to vertebrae which can fracture. Discs can slip or become herniated, and injuries to the spinal cord can lead to a lifetime of pain and immobility. These injuries not only take a long time to heal, and some never do, while others may result in death.
Neck and Shoulder Injuries
If the way you fell had you landing on your shoulder or neck, or if you overextended your arm trying to grab on to something on your way down, you can end up having a neck injury that involves muscle sprains, impacts on the spinal cord and, in extreme cases, paralysis.
Shoulders can also become dislocated, nerves are torn, and collarbones may break. All of these injuries are tremendously painful and many times can only be resolved through surgery.
Knees are made up of several bones and ligaments that work well together. When you fall on your knees and this perfect mechanism gets damaged, you may end up requiring a knee reconstruction which can not only be expensive but take a long time to heal and allow you to walk properly again.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you hit your head directly on the ground or against another object as you fall, you may end up damaging your brain. Brain injuries can range from small bumps and concussions or bruises to your skull being fractured, hematomas, and hemorrhages. When you suffer a traumatic brain injury, you can know for sure that this will have an impact on the rest of your life and, in many cases, on your loved ones who will have to bear the brunt of taking care of you. You may end up with impaired brain function, seizures, loss of bodily functions, or a combination of all three.
Cuts and Abrasions
Cuts and abrasions are very common in slip and fall accidents and quite frequently accompany any of the injuries described above. They may be present in arms and legs, hips, or the head.
What actions should you take after a slip and fall accident?
When you slip and fall and suffer any injuries, you need to make sure that your health becomes your number one priority. As soon as possible after the accident, have your injuries checked out at the nearest emergency room or with your healthcare provider. Keep in mind that although some injuries are painfully obvious, others may take days to become apparent or even longer. Waiting to receive medical care may not only complicate the effects of the injury, but it may also send the wrong message to the other party or their insurance that you did not think your injuries were serious enough to warrant treatment.
If possible, and while still at the scene, document everything that happened. You should not only take plenty of pictures but also get statements from witnesses and their contact information, should their testimony be required later. And if you think you need to write some details down, do so. It’s better to have everything down on paper than to rely on your memory when you may still be in shock after what happened.
Work with a Slip and Fall Lawyer
You probably never imagined that a simple stroll, a short errand, or a visit to a retail store would end up affecting your health. However, once you suffer a slip and fall accident, you need to switch your attention to this and forget the groceries, the clothes at the dry cleaners, or whatever chore you were in the middle of.
Schedule an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer to talk about your case. It is important to do so as soon as possible so that your lawyer can start preparing your case and no evidence has been lost because too much time has gone by.
Your lawyer will explain the legal options available to you and will tell you what documents are needed to calculate the amount of economic damages you will be seeking. They will also add non-economic damages to come up with a more accurate figure of how much your personal injury claim is worth.
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