Slip and fall accidents may result in serious injuries with life-changing implications for victims. Slips, trips, tumbles, and falls may occur while walking down the sidewalk, shopping in a store, doing household chores, performing work duties, or engaging in numerous other activities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every five falls leads to serious slip and fall injuries.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slips and falls may cause a range of injuries, ranging from minor to severe. In addition to abrasions, cuts, and bruises, those who trip or tumble may also suffer sprains, dislocations, nerve damage, broken bones, and head trauma. In some cases, slip and fall accidents may prove fatal. Some common slip and fall injuries include:
Slipped or Herniated Discs
When people slip and fall on their backs, they run the risk of dislocating an intervertebral disc, fracturing vertebrae, or causing spinal cord damage. The back is made up of a series of vertebrae, separated by gel-filled intervertebral discs. These discs can slip out of place and pinch or damage the nerves surrounding the vertebrae. If the person should fall or bump his or her back, the disc may herniate and cause an excruciating amount of pain. Furthermore, herniated discs can result in chronic disability, pain, and other life-changing issues.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury occurs when the force of an impact, like from a slip-and-fall accident, causes the soft brain tissue to smack against the inner skull. As a result, the brain becomes bruised and damaged. Although there may be initial signs of brain damage due to the injury, symptoms of TBI may not show up for days, weeks or even months later. These symptoms may appear as the brain continues to swell and bleed after an injury occurs, a fact known by a Nevada slip-and-fall attorney.
A study released in Neurology showed that even cases of mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, can cause chronic cognitive disabilities. Symptoms can be as mild as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Severe symptoms include deficiencies in visual, auditory and cognitive abilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are to blame for approximately 40% of all TBI cases in the U.S., making them the most common cause of brain trauma.
When people fall, they tend to tighten the muscles in their shoulders, neck and back. The body’s release of adrenaline during the fall may make it hard for people to tell that they have a muscle strain or tear. In the days following the accident, however, people may begin to experience pain radiating from the torn muscle or muscle burning. While some muscle strains are minor and may heal by themselves over time, others can be extremely debilitating and even affect neurological conduction, depending on where they are located.
In the moments following a slip-and-fall accident, people are often overwhelmed and not sure what to do. Accident victims must remember that even though they may not feel pain right away, the fall could have caused physical injuries that will appear later. They may want to consider obtaining legal assistance from a Nevada slip-and-fall attorney.
The treatment people may require and their prognoses following such accidents depend on various factors, including the type and severity of the injuries. The CDC points out that more than 800,000 people require hospitalization every year for injuries resulting from falls. Some people may recover from their injuries, while others may experience lasting effects due to their accidents.
Risk Factors for Slip and Fall Accidents
Numerous environment- and person-related factors contribute to slip and fall accidents. For instance, property conditions, such as uneven walking surfaces, unguarded heights, clutter, poor lighting, and wetness or spills may increase the danger of people slipping or falling and suffering serious injuries. Additionally, older adults and people with lower body weakness, balance problems, or vision issues may also have a greater risk of slipping or falling. Often, a combination of risk factors plays a role in causing these types of accidents.
Slip and Fall Accident Prevention
At work, at home, and in the community, people may use precautions to avoid slip and fall accidents and injuries. Some of the simplest steps people may take include:
- Always wearing appropriate footwear
- Avoiding freshly mopped or otherwise wet or slippery areas
- Removing clutter from doorways, walkways, and stairs
- Ensuring adequate lighting when possible or using a flashlight
- Using nonslip mats in bathrooms
Avoiding distractions when walking or working at heights can also help people prevent slip and fall accidents.
A Slip-and-Fall Injury May Appear Later
Thousands of people become the victims of slip-and-fall accidents each year in the United States. Poor lighting, wet floors, unmarked curbs, and torn carpeting can all lead to a catastrophic fall. These falls can result in serious injuries. While some slip and fall injuries, such as broken bones or lacerations, may appear right away, others may take several days or even weeks to show up. A Nevada slip-and-fall attorney knows that these delayed injuries can wreak havoc on an insurance claim, as well as the victim’s physical and mental wellbeing.