A slip and fall accident has the potential to upend a person’s life. While a minor fall for a younger person might only result in some bruising and the need for rest, a major fall for an older person could end in serious injuries and the need for a hospital stay. Determining how and why the fall happened is crucial to proving the victim deserves compensation for their injuries.
While events like car crashes and instances of medical malpractice, for example, often come to mind when thinking about accidents people take legal action for, a slip and fall that resulted from negligence should be handled with the help of a lawyer, as well. No matter whether the incident occurred on private property or in a public space, the owner is supposed to ensure there are no hazardous conditions. If they neglect their duty and someone gets hurt, they can be held accountable.
In order to understand why slip and fall accidents can be so dangerous, you have to know about who is the most at risk for falling and why, what injuries are often associated with falls, and the long-term consequences people might not think about.
Who Is Most at Risk of Falling?
There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors related to falls. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance of them falling. Understanding where you are in relation to the risks can help you reduce your chances of falling, just by being aware. If you do fall, however, remember that it’s possible a hazard caused the incident.
Intrinsic factors are those related specifically to the person. Individuals of an advanced age are more at risk. This is because, typically, as people get older, they develop muscle weakness, balance problems, and poor vision. Once a person falls, they are also more likely to fall again. Chronic conditions like arthritis, stroke, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s, and incontinence are also associated with a higher risk of slipping and falling.
The extrinsic factors are generally the ones that can be prevented. Property owners should be aware of these factors and ensure their building or house is safe for all visitors. The most common extrinsic factors that result in slip and fall accidents include dim lighting, poor stair design, lack of handrails, slippery or uneven surfaces, and hazards like torn carpets.
What Injuries Are Associated with Slip-and-Fall Accidents?
Depending on how a person falls affects the severity of their injuries. If, for example, someone trips over a carpet and falls into a piece of furniture, their injuries are likely to be less severe than someone who slips and falls down a flight of stairs. There are, however, certain injuries that are common among all slip and fall victims.
Cuts and bruises, especially on the arms, legs, and face, happen frequently when someone falls. Wounds, especially on the face, are likely to bleed a lot and might look worse than they actually are depending on how hard and far the person fell. If they have lacerations on their face, they probably hit their head. Head injuries, especially among the elderly, can be deadly. Medical attention should be sought immediately if there’s bleeding, swelling, or loss of consciousness. A traumatic brain injury could result in cognitive impairments and permanent damage.
Broken bones and spinal cord injuries are also a real possibility. Fractures, even minor ones, can be painful and scary. In some cases, surgery may be needed to set the bone so it can heal properly. When the spinal cord is compressed or severed, paralysis could be the result.
The Long-Term Consequences of a Slip-and-Fall Accident
It can be a long road to recovery after a slip and fall accident. Even when a person’s injuries have healed, there are bound to be other challenges to cope with. For one, it’s likely there are extensive medical bills to pay for. If a person was unable to work for a period of time and did not collect paychecks, they might not have the funds they need to support their family and pay the hospital. There’s also the chance the person could be suffering from emotional trauma related to the accident.
If you suspect your slip and fall resulted from someone else’s poor decisions, you should talk to a lawyer immediately. We understand how difficult it can be to balance recovery and legal matters, which is why we’ll handle the paperwork and phone calls for you. If you’re ready to take action, get in touch with our law firm today for a free case evaluation.