Many people hear ‘slip and fall’ and picture minor injuries, such as bumps and bruises. They underestimate the severe harm that a slip and fall accident can cause under the wrong circumstances. In reality, many victims suffer long-term and catastrophic injuries from slip and fall accidents every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five falls causes a serious injury.
The CDC reports that the most common serious injury associated with a slip and fall accident is a broken bone. A victim could break many different bones in a fall. Many victims fall on their buttocks, leading to tailbone fractures. Others break their arms, wrists and elbows trying to catch themselves. A bone in the leg could break, on the other hand, if it takes a direct impact or gets bent or jammed in the fall. Some of the most serious broken bones reported in fall accidents are skull fractures, spinal cord fractures and hip fractures. A severe broken bone could cause long-term loss of mobility.
Complications From a Hip Fracture
The vast majority of hip fractures (95 percent) are from fall accidents. A hip fracture is most often caused when a victim falls sideways and lands on the hip. Hip fractures can be especially dangerous for elderly patients who are over the age of 65. For these patients, the amount of immobility and bed rest required while healing from a hip fracture can lead to significant health complications, including urinary tract infections, other infections, muscle atrophy, blood clots and bedsores. In some cases, hip fractures in the elderly can lead to an overall decline in health and premature death.
Traumatic Brain Injury and Brain Damage
Falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries. If a slip and fall accident leads to the victim hitting his or her head or skull on the ground or an object on the way down, it can jar the brain and damage the brain cells. This can lead to long-term or permanent brain damage, with symptoms such as memory loss, decreased cognitive function, difficulty eating or communicating, behavioral changes, and severe headaches.
Spinal Cord Injuries
After the brain, the spinal cord is the most vulnerable part of the body in a slip and fall accident. If the victim suffers a broken vertebra, slipped or ruptured disk, nerve damage, or another serious back or spinal cord injury, he or she may have permanent symptoms. The most severe spinal cord injuries cause irreversible paralysis, meaning that the victim will permanently lose function and feeling below the point of injury on the spine. Although physical therapy, treatments and rehabilitation may help a spinal cord injury survivor regain some independence, there is no known cure for paralysis.
Soft-Tissue or Ligament Damage
Even injuries that seem mild to moderate initially, such as a pulled muscle or sprain, can have lasting effects on a victim. A torn ACL in the knee from twisting it while falling, for example, can be debilitating and require months in recovery. Depending on the circumstances, it may not be possible to ever regain the full use of the muscle, joint or ligament affected in a slip and fall accident.
Contact an Attorney After a Serious Slip and Fall Accident
If you or a loved one sustains a serious injury in a slip and fall accident in Wallingford, Connecticut, contact an attorney to find out if you have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit. If so, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the property owner or another party to help you pay for your bills and move forward. If you need expensive ongoing medical care, for instance, a settlement can reimburse you for these costs. Contact Loughlin FitzGerald, P.C. today for more information.