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A Slip and Fall Accident Can Have Long-term Repercussions

Injuries That Often Result From a Slip and Fall Accident

A simple activity, such as walking to the restroom at work or strolling through the mall with a friend, can lead to serious injuries if you slip and fall. Wet floors, debris left lying in a walkway, and numerous other issues can make public places unsafe. It's important to know what types of injuries to check for if you have taken a fall.

Walking Through a Shopping Mall Should Not Be Dangerous

Property owners are obligated to maintain a safe environment for all visitors and guests, including making sure walkways are clear of debris and other obstructions. Approximately 9 million hospital emergency room admissions per year involve slip and fall accidents. In fact, it's the second leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. Strolling through a shopping mall, grocery store, or other establishment should not place you in harm's way. If you slip and fall on a wet floor or trip over a torn carpet, you might be at risk for severe injuries, including those shown in the following list:
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Hip fracture
  • Sprains
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cuts or abrasions
In many cases, such injuries involve a premises liability claim against the property owner or occupier, especially if there is evidence of negligence, such as not making sure that wet floors are properly marked with signage or safety cones to warn pedestrians of a hazard.

Symptoms Associated With Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries

Falling down stairs, tripping over a large crack in a sidewalk, or an electrical cord that is strewn across a floor could result in your head striking a hard surface or the muscles and tendons in your neck or back contorting in awkward positions as you tumble to the ground. Traumatic brain injuries and neck or spinal cord injuries can be serious but are not always immediately apparent. Symptoms of a brain injury would include headache, ringing in your ears, fluid draining from your nose or ear, confusion or incoherent speech, uneven gait when walking, or even mood swings and trouble with sleep or appetite.

If you have injured your neck or spinal cord, you might experience numbness or tingling in an extremity. Other symptoms of such injuries include loss of bladder control, symptoms of shock, and inability to move arms and legs.

Soft Tissue Injuries Might Be Painful Days After a Fall

In addition to seeking medical attention in the immediate aftermath of a slip and fall accident, it's equally important to return to the hospital or visit your primary care physician if new symptoms develop days or even weeks after the incident. Soft tissue injuries are common when a person has tumbled down a flight of stairs or slid on a slippery surface. It is possible for you to tear a ligament or tendon and not be aware of it at first.

Some of the symptoms you might experience if you have suffered a soft tissue injury include decreased range of motion, muscle spasms, or weakness, and inability to bear weight on the affected limb. You might also have pain, swelling, or inflammation near the site of the injury. Soft tissue injuries can result in permanent disability because they are often associated with chronic pain conditions.

Contusions, Lacerations, and Abrasions

If you stumble on a carpet, the friction that occurs when your flesh scrapes along the surface of the rug can cause severe abrasions that look like burns. This type of injury occurs when the top layer of skin is scraped away or rubbed off. Such injuries typically only require basic treatment but can be prone to infection.

A contusion is a bruise that has occurred due to ruptured capillaries caused by blunt force trauma when you bump a hard surface or fall to the ground. In addition to discoloration at the site of the injury, you might also experience swelling, as well as a feeling of tightness or stiffness in that part of your body. A contusion can occur in soft tissue or in a bone. Such injuries might take days or weeks to heal and are at risk for developing into a more serious condition, especially if the injury is near the brain and structural damage has occurred to the brains' blood vessels.

If you cut your head or another part of your body when you fall, there's likely to be a lot of blood, and you might need stitches. Lacerations are also at risk for infection during recovery.

Broken Bones and Hip Fractures

Workplace hazards and other types of situations that lead to injury from slip and fall accidents often result in bone fractures or breaks. In addition to being extremely painful, breaking a bone or fracturing your hip might cause you to need surgery and to spend weeks or months in recovery. If you trip or fall and hit a hard surface, the blunt force impact might be more than a bone can withstand. The older you are, the more likely you might suffer a break or fracture if you fall. Recovering from a hip fracture or bone break can be difficult for an elderly person.

Hips, wrists, knees, ankles, and arms are body parts most at risk for breaks and fractures if you fall. Besides sudden, throbbing pain, you might also feel nauseous if you have suffered a broken bone or fracture. Other symptoms include dark bruising, inflammation, and swelling. If you have suffered a severe break, there might even be a bone protruding through your skin.

Always Seek Medical Attention for Slip and Fall Injuries

Even if you think you're going to be okay after you have tripped or fallen on someone else's property, it's always best to obtain immediate medical attention. Emergency room doctors know what types of tests to perform to rule out brain or spinal cord injuries, as well as bone breaks or fractures, etc. It's also beneficial because it creates written documentation of the incident that resulted in injury, which can be useful for a recovering slip and fall victim who decides to seek restitution in court.

Injuries Can Take a Long Time to Heal, and Some Never Do

Even a minor injury stemming from a slip or fall can be painful and cause you challenges during recovery. If you sprain an ankle and it becomes swollen and inflamed, you might need to use crutches or keep your foot elevated for several days before you can return to your normal activities.

Many slip and fall incidents have permanent repercussions, especially if you have suffered a brain or spinal cord injury. A serious neck or spine injury might mean that you need a wheelchair to regain mobility. In certain circumstances, your injuries might result in a permanent disability that prevents you from being able to work. Such accidents not only cause physical pain and discomfort, they can be emotionally traumatic as well. If another person's negligence is deemed responsible for physical, emotional, or economic damages, you should not have to bear the full financial burden that may be associated with your injuries.

Evidence of Negligence as a Direct Cause of Slip and Fall Injuries

An experienced Allentown personal injury attorney often discusses slip and fall accidents with clients who have tripped or fallen and suffered injuries, such as sprains, lacerations, concussions, or worse. To prove that a property owner was negligent, you must first be able to prove that it owed a duty of care, meaning that it was obligated to maintain the property in a safe manner. You must also have evidence to show that the owner failed to fulfill its duty and that this breach of duty is what caused your injuries.

Broken stairs, unsafe balconies, icy sidewalks, potholes, building code violations, and uneven pavement are some of the most common issues associated with slip and fall accidents that result in injuries. At Metzger & Kleiner in Allentown, Pennsylvania, our experienced legal team is fully equipped to provide support in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident. You can schedule a meeting to discuss your case with an Allentown personal injury attorney by calling our office at (610) 435-7400.

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