Many people face long periods of recovery and serious injuries when they slip or trip and fall. Slip-and-fall accidents are among the leading causes of visits to the emergency department in Pennsylvania. These types of accidents are common and elderly adults are especially at risk. Millions of Americans suffer severe injuries or fatalities after slipping and falling. By understanding the types of slip-and-fall injuries that commonly occur, you can more easily discuss them with your doctor and your lawyer at DiCindio Law. This can help your doctor as he or she creates your treatment plan and your lawyer as he works to build your legal claim for compensation.
Types of injuries in slip-and-fall accidents
Slipping or tripping and falling can lead to many different types of injuries, including the following:
- Sprained wrists or ankles
- Damage to the knee
- Muscle strains or shoulder dislocations
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Hip and pelvic fractures
- Spinal cord injuries and nerve damage
- Back injuries
- Bruises and cuts
Among elderly adults, falls are the leading cause of hip fractures. Many older adults who suffer hip fractures never fully recover and many are unable to return to their homes after their accidents. Older adults are likelier to suffer fractures in slip-and-fall accidents because their bones are more fragile. From a legal standpoint, however, it does not matter how old you are at the time of your accident. People who are more fragile than others have a right to recover compensation for their injuries when their accidents are caused by the negligence of others.
Fractures happen when too much pressure is placed on the bones. When you fall, the bones throughout your body can experience substantial pressure. Slip-and-fall accidents commonly result in fractures to the ankles, wrists, and hips.
The older you are, the more likely you are to break a bone as a result of a slip and fall. However, your age or health at the time of the injury doesn’t matter from a legal standpoint. Even if you’re more fragile than someone else, you still have a right to recover financially for your unique injuries whatever they are.
Strains or sprains of the wrists or ankles
When people fall, they often take uneven steps and extend their arms out to brace themselves as they fall down. The ligaments in their ankles and wrists can tear during their falls. This causes strains or sprains. Since there isn’t a lot of blood flow to the ligaments, strains and sprains can take a long time to recover.
Wrist and ankle injuries can interfere with your ability to complete the normal activities of everyday life. You might be unable to cook, clean, button your clothes or work until your injuries heal. If your ankles are sprained, you might have trouble walking without crutches or a walker. Sprains and strains are very common after slip-and-fall accidents and can present significant problems for the victims.
Damage to the knees
Knee damage is another common type of injury in a slip-and-fall accident because of twisting when you fall. Your knees are complex structures containing multiple moving pieces that work together to provide your joint with function and mobility. When you hurt or tear your ACL or MCL, it can take a long time for the injury to heal. You can also suffer dislocation of your patella bone in a fall. Knee damage can require you to undergo reconstructive surgery immediately after your accident or sometime in the future.
Muscle strains and shoulder dislocations
Many people hit their shoulders when they fall. Your shoulder can be strained or dislocated if you reach out while falling and jar it. A dislocated shoulder and muscular strains can require surgery. Your doctor may write a treatment plan to determine your prognosis and guide your recovery.
Spinal cord injuries and nerve damage
Your spinal cord and nerves are quite fragile. When you suffer a slip-and-fall accident, you can damage your nerves and your spinal cord from direct trauma, from cuts, or from overstretching. Nerve and spinal cord injuries can be permanent, or people might recover from them with treatment and rehabilitation.
Traumatic brain injuries
You can suffer a traumatic brain injury in a slip-and-fall accident whether or not your head strikes the ground. If your brain is jolted during a fall, you can suffer a TBI. Traumatic brain injuries can pose special dangers because the victims might not recognize the severity of their injuries right after their falls.
If a TBI is not immediately recognized and treated, secondary injuries can happen that might be more serious than the initial brain injury. An untreated TBI can lead to pain and other problems for months. Secondary problems such as brain swelling and the build-up of cerebrospinal fluid can cause long-lasting, permanent damage.
Bruises and cuts
Bruises and cuts can happen whenever you fall because of other objects. While you might not think that a cut is especially serious, serious cuts can leave you with permanent scarring and can be disfiguring. You should make sure to photograph your bruises, cuts, and other visible injuries to document them right after your fall.
Why you have to be injured to recover compensation
To recover in a slip-and-fall accident, you must be able to prove all of the elements of negligence. One of the elements of a negligence claim is suffering harm and injuries. If you are uninjured, it will not matter if the property owner failed to take proper care to prevent the accident. Without injuries, you will not have met your burden to prove each of the elements of negligence to support a claim.
What to do if you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident
If you slip or trip and fall while you are legally present on the property of a business or another person, you should begin by carefully documenting your injuries and the accident scene. Take photographs if you can or ask someone else to take them for you. Get the names and contact information of each witness, and ask the property owner or operator to make an accident report. Make sure to seek medical attention as soon as you can. Take pictures of your injuries and keep track of your daily levels of pain in a diary.
Make sure to keep all of your medical appointments, and follow your doctor’s recommendations. You should seek immediate medical attention to receive the best treatment outcomes and to show that your injuries were caused by your slip-and-fall accident.
How a personal injury lawyer at DiCindio Law can help
An experienced personal injury lawyer at DiCindio Law can evaluate your potential claim and explain whether you have valid grounds to file a lawsuit. Working with an attorney can help you to avoid making critical errors that could harm your ability to recover compensation for your losses. A lawyer can guide you through the claim process and handle the negotiations with the insurance company for you while you concentrate on getting better. Contact DiCindio Law today to schedule a free consultation by calling us at 610.430.3535.