People falling is often a physical comedy punchline. Cartoons show people slipping on banana peels and sliding across floors on misplaced roller skates. Given how frequently writers and artists use same-level falls as a source of physical humor, people often don’t treat slip-and-fall situations with the respect they deserve.
Far from being humorous, a slip-and-fall can actually be a life-altering experience for the person who falls. Roughly a million people each year require emergency medical care because of a slip-and-fall, and some of them will have lasting consequences for their injuries. Older adults are at particularly high risk for such injuries, but a slip-and-fall could hurt anyone.
What are the two most common serious injuries possible in a slip-and-fall?
People can break bones in their arms, legs, hands and feet when they fall. In extreme cases, people put break other bones, such as ribs, hips and clavicles. Broken bones can be painful and may require thousands of dollars in medical care.
Those who use their bodies to earn a living may have thousands of dollars in lost wages before their cast comes off after they heal. In rare cases, broken bones can cause lingering symptoms that permanently affect someone’s work capabilities.
Traumatic brain injuries
Some people will hit their heads when they fall. They might strike a shopping cart or a shelf right next to them in a store, or they might fall backward so quickly that there is no way to stop themselves from hitting the floor on the way down.
Traumatic brain injuries can cause a host of different symptoms, including issues with memory and balance, changes to someone’s personality and problems with fine motor control. Brain injuries can be incredibly expensive and can force people to change professions or retire years early.
Those who slip and fall in a public place may need to report the incident to management and see a doctor shortly afterward to check for signs of a brain injury or a stable fracture. They may have the right to file an insurance claim or possibly a civil lawsuit to recoup their economic losses.
Understanding the possible consequences of a slip and fall could help you protect your right to pursue a premises liability claim later.