Our Slip and Fall Injury lawyers have prepared an information guide to these all too common types of injuries.
One second you’re walking down a sidewalk, and the next, you’re flat on your back with your leg bent in an awkward way. A crowd gathers around wanting to help, but the shooting pain up and down your leg are tell-tale signs that something is seriously wrong.
Slip and fall injuries are more common than you think, with over one million Americans suffering from one every year; 20-30% of those will suffer potentially severe injuries such as hip fractures and head contusions. Florida law requires a property owner to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition, and if the business owner knew or should have known that something was amiss and didn’t fix it, they could be under obligation to pay damages to the injured person.
A reasonable amount of care must be taken to ensure that people who legally enter their property are safe. A duty also exists to warn people of any potential hazards they may encounter. Failure to do either could result in a slip-and-fall accident, which could happen at any time under multiple circumstances. Below are some of the most common types of slip and fall accidents:
- Broken Bones and/or Fractures: During a fall, the victim will oftentimes try to brace themselves on the way down to prevent major injury. Unfortunately, this can also result in an injury to the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees or arms, all of which can break or become fractured as the rest of the body weight comes down on top of it. Older people are particularly prone to this type of injury, especially in the hip and pelvis area. The treatment of broken bones or fractures is usually something as simple as a cast or splint, but could also include metal plates, rods or pins that are inserted as well. The rehabilitation can be extensive, and further complications could develop long-term as a result of the injury.
- Injuries to the Neck, Back, and Spinal Cord: If the victim falls flat on his or her back, or even at a slight angle, the result could be a catastrophic injury to the spinal cord or back, possibly even a snapped vertebrae or spinal cord compression. If not treated immediately, these injuries could be potentially life-threatening, requiring long-term care for the victim. Spinal cord injuries are among the more expensive injuries as well, sometimes costing up to a million dollars in the first year alone. Where the injury occurs could also impact the severity of the damage: a high cervical spinal cord injury could produce full or partial paralysis, while an injury to the lower part of the spinal cord may only impact the lower extremities. Regardless, someone who suffers a spinal cord injury will likely be dealing with treatment for the rest of their life.
- Injuries to the Head: A victim who undergoes a head injury may insist that they are “fine” or “feel ok,” but if there have been any significant symptoms, such as swelling, bleeding, or a loss of consciousness, it could be indicative of a traumatic brain injury. Even “minor” head injuries require treatment by a medical professional, since the symptoms can be deceptive and seem relatively minimal compared to other injuries. Early treatment is also important in bringing a claim against the negligent party, as a doctor will provide proof of injury and correlation to the time and place of the accident.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: These types of injuries can be the hardest to detect since the symptoms that result can take days or even weeks to appear. Soft tissue injuries can affect anything from the ankle or wrist to the tendons and ligaments throughout your body, causing a loss of functionality in your appendages. If not treated immediately, these injuries are oftentimes very painful as well, and can even make you more prone to future injuries. Like with head injuries, early detection is the key here, both to verify the accident for litigation purposes as well as provide appropriate treatment.
- Abrasions, Cuts, and Damage to the Skin: Because these types of injuries appear on the surface, they generally look more serious than other types of injuries on this list, but the treatment is usually less extensive. If the injury is truly superficial, only light stitches or bandages may be necessary, but be sure to check with a medical professional to see if the cut reflects a more serious issue underneath, such as a concussion or broken bone.
While the majority of these injuries can happen as a result of patronizing a business or visiting an establishment, they can also happen on-the-job or at work sites. If so, it’s important to know your rights regarding worker’s compensation benefits, which are designed to compensate the employee no matter who is technically at fault. Workers’ compensation claims can be quite difficult, however, as they often require the employee to see a doctor chosen by their employer, as well as file paperwork under strict deadlines. In these cases, it’s best to speak to an attorney who has experience handling workers’ compensation claims to take full advantage of your benefits.
Aside from the excruciating pain that accompanies most slip and fall accidents, the side effects can also be quite severe. For instance, someone who suffers from a severe slip and fall accident will usually require some type of medical care for a long time afterward, possibly even for the rest of their life, ranging from simple therapy to possibly even full-time assistance. The victim could also be out of work for an extended period of time, resulting in a loss of income. Furthermore, the emotional struggles can be hard to overcome as well, such as sleep loss, fear, anxiety, depression, humiliation, and a whole host of other afflictions. For these reasons, and more, it’s vital to document your injury as much as possible to prove your claim.
Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have dedicated slip and fall injury lawyers who offer free case evaluations, with no obligation. Call 800-753-5203 without delay. Our dedication to the people of Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater and New Port Richey is evident in our 30+ year history of serving these communities. Our injury law team is standing by for your call, 24/7