Injuries from a slip and fall vary in severity from being as minor as a bruised ego to a paralyzing or fatal injury. When you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial because the severity of an injury is not often obvious. Only once you have been treated should you call a personal injury lawyer in Florida to discuss your rights.
Serious Injuries from a Slip and Fall
Slipping and falling commonly causes serious injuries such as:
The leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) worldwide is falls. Hitting your head against a rail, table, or pavement when you slip and fall may cause internal bleeding in your head which in turn puts pressure on brain cells and cuts off blood flow to crucial components of the brain. After a few minutes without adequate blood flow, these parts of the brain die.
Many people acquire brain injuries without ever heading their head. Sudden acceleration and deceleration (imagine falling forward and being whipped backward) can cause Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). People with DAI have torn or stretched parts of brain cells called axons. Once these axons are broken, the signals they typically send through the brain can’t be sent the same way. This may mean it takes you longer to perform certain tasks or that you can no longer perform them at all.
The most serious spinal injuries can cause the cervical neck vertebrae to fracture. When the bones in your vertebrae are cracked or broken, this leaves your spinal cord unprotected and, often times, at a high risk for serious future spinal injuries. Fragments of bone can damage the spinal cord, which may delay or deny signals coming to and from your brain, irritate nerves which transmit signals throughout the limbs, or even cause paralysis.
Pelvic and Hip Injuries
A hard fall can pivot, dislocate, crack, or even break the bones in your hips. These hip injuries may require extensive surgery and therapy to repair the alignment and mobility of your hips. Often, even after long periods of immobility for the bones to heal and physical therapy for the muscles to regain strength, your gait and stance will be different than before the injury.
Pelvic and hip injuries affect a disproportionate number of elderly people due to generally lower bone density and a higher risk of falling, but they can happen to anyone.
If you experience a forward or side slip and fall, it is not uncommon to sustain a knee injury. Knee injuries vary from dislocated kneecaps, broken bones, and loss of cartilage to a mild hematoma. Because it is extremely difficult to get around without bending your leg or putting pressure on your knee, these injuries can be extremely painful and uncomfortable.
Knee injuries caused by falls are often the result of the knee hyper extending and tearing a ligament while trying to brace for a fall or from landing directly on the kneecap and fracturing the patella. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, you may require a knee brace, crutches, surgery, or extended therapy to regain normal functioning.
A shoulder injury from a slip and fall can result in dislocation, sprains, and fractured bones, among other serious and painful injuries. Shoulder injuries may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. Your shoulder injury may leave you temporarily or permanently disabled to do your job or activities you enjoy.
Torn rotator cuffs can be particularly painful because of how they limit the range of motion of the arm. Lifting the arm to put on a shirt, wash your hair or throw a ball can trigger debilitating pain through the shoulder and arm. Rotator cuff injuries worsen over time without treatment and may require steroid injections and surgery for more severe tears.
Wrists and Ankle Injuries
During a slip, trip or fall, your initial reaction may be to put out your hands to catch yourself. However, each hand consists of 27 tiny and fragile bones that can easily break upon impact. Considering the fragility and size of the bones in your hand, multiple surgeries and therapy may be required to repair any fractures. Of course, the entire treatment period, your use of that hand is severely restricted. Lifting is typically off limits. Throwing is out of the question. Typing may not even be permitted, depending which bones are affected.
The structure of human hands and feet are very similar. Ankles, much like the wrists, seem to take the brunt of the fall when we try to brace for an impact or step on an uneven surface. The ankle is part of the hind foot, which is where the foot bones (talus and calcaneus) connect to the leg bones (tibia and fibula). Sprained ligaments and bone fractures are the most commonly seen injuries to the ankles. Both can require surgery and physical therapy for proper recovery.
Slip and Fall Attorneys
If you or a loved one was hurt in a slip and fall on someone else’s property there are steps you must take to preserve your claim. Get our free guide, Dangerous Trips to Avoid in Your Fall Case, to find out what NOT to do after an injury and contact our office to speak with an attorney. We are happy to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your claim at no cost to you during a free consultation.