Fall injuries account for approximately 8 million emergency room visits out of which almost 12% of cases are that of slip and fall accidents. Among the cases of slip and fall injury, there is a nearly 5% chance that you are going to have a broken bone.
Slip injuries are considered the most common cause of Brain Injuries and hip Injuries and they are more harmful to older adults.
What Types of Injuries are expected after slip and fall accidents?
Injuries caused by slip and fall may range from minor abrasions to severe injuries and can even lead to death. Few common forms of injuries include:
- Broken bones: They usually occur when the pressure applied on bone is more than what it can withstand. Hip, wrist, and ankle fractures are few commonly injured bones in case of slip and fall Injury. Older individuals are more prone to fractures. But from a legal standpoint, it does not matter what your age or health condition is at the time of injury.
- Cuts and Abrasions: They are usually superficial and require first aid and sometimes stitches.
- Sprained Ankles or Wrists: They are also one of the common problems encountered in slip and fall injuries. They usually occur when you put your arms out to cushion the fall. As ligaments have a poor blood supply, sprains and strains take a long recovery period. Though this may appear to be mild, it can hamper your day-to-day activities greatly. Due to pain and discomfort, one is not able to cook, type, or button a shirt. Similarly, in the case of an ankle sprain, the individual is unable to walk and hampering the quality of life.
- Knee Injury: It occurs in case you twist as you fall. MCL or ACL injury takes a longer time to recover. Besides, one can have a dislocated patella. A knee injury may require immediate reconstruction.
- Back and spinal cord injuries: Slip and fall injuries can cause vertebral fractures or can lead to slipped or herniated discs. This can lead to severe pain and discomfort and can also cause the limitation of movement. In case of injury to the spinal cord, one might suffer from temporary to permanent paralysis, other neurological impairments, and even death in worst cases.
- Shoulder or Neck Injuries: They usually occur as a result of landing on the shoulder or neck. Neck injuries can range from muscle sprain to spinal injuries to even paralysis. Shoulder dislocation to nerve injuries can also occur in case of Shoulder injuries.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: They occur when an individual hits their head when they fall. Traumatic brain injuries can range from minor injuries like small concussions and bruises to major injuries like hematomas, skull fractures to hemorrhage. They are one of the most serious injuries as it can impair brain function, cause seizures, and loss of bodily control.
Steps to Take After an Injury
Following the injury, the first thing to be done is to seek medical help. Certain investigations include X-rays to look for skeletal injuries, MRIs for soft tissue injury, and CT scans to look for an overall picture of the condition.
After assessing the condition and nature of the injury, further management is done. Some injuries can be treated conservatively with bed rest and pain medications while in other cases, intensive treatment may be necessary.
In case you suffer back injury, anti-inflammatory medications, as well as an extended break from strenuous daily activities, may be required.
In case of spinal cord damage or a herniated disc, surgery might be required.
Severe forms of injuries like Head injury requires immediate treatment and more invasive treatment procedures. If not treated on time, it may lead to serious complications and even death.
One may be enrolled for monetary compensation from the owner or individual owning the premises where the injury happened.
Get medical treatment: This is the priority following a slip and fall accident. See a health provider and document the injuries. These medical records will act as evidence when you claim compensation.
Reporting the accident: make sure you report the accident to the property owner or the manager. Details of the accident should be taken in written form.
Capture pictures: It is important to take pictures of the site of the accident and also show clearly what caused your slip and fall. Also do not forget to take pictures of your injuries.
Keep the clothes: Clothes which you were wearing at the time of injury should be kept because torn clothes or blood stains can be convincing evidence while documenting the injury.
Never provide a statement to the insurer: It is good to avoid more communication with the property owner or the insurance company. Never give any form of the statement to the insurance company until you have consulted your lawyer because the only aim of an insurance company is to make you say something which they can use later to disprove your sleep and fall case.
Contact an attorney: Contacting a Slip and Fall Lawyer is very important before signing any insurance company papers or other papers. That is because the insurance company will usually offer to pay the medical bills in exchange for agreeing not to sue them. As you sign the papers, although they pay you the initial bills, they won’t be paying you for future medical treatment that might be required as a consequence of the slip and fall injury. After signing the papers, you have given up your rights to sue them or have them pay for any future medical treatment, the pain and suffering, and any wage losses.
What can be claimed for?
According to JSLPC a law firm in Colorado One can claim for the cost and losses associated with the accident. The losses are categorized into 3 groups:
Special damage: As they relate to the actual losses due to accidents, they are widely covered. They include treatment cost and cost of rehabilitation, loss of income during the recovery period, and pain and suffering arising from the incident. Preserving evidence related to the accident is crucial for claiming at an insurance company.
General Damages: They include future loss of earnings, loss of joy, inability to carry out household tasks, loss of future career opportunity. These losses are generally difficult to determine as they span into the future.
Punitive Damages: They are the least common of all three types. They are the damages intended to punish the defendant.
How can a Lawyer help?
Looking at the injury claiming process: The lawyer focused on the legal aspect of the case while you are still recovering.
Determining the total of the case: After a thorough investigation, the lawyer gives an idea of what type of compensation you can ask for. The damages that can be included are the medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Identifying the liable parties: Initially, the identification of all the potential liability is done. Then the lawyer determines who is at fault for the injury and he/she collects all the necessary pieces of evidence such as Police reports, medical reports, eyewitness testimony, accident site photos, and video surveillance.
Contacting the insurance company: The insurance company usually tries to reduce the compensation you receive. For that, they try to get you to admit that the slip and fall were caused by your own mistake. The lawyer handles everything to ensure that you don’t say anything that could undermine the claims made.
Making a full and fair negotiation: As the insurance company tries to make a settlement at a much lower amount, the lawyer negotiates the settlement with the insurance company by presenting the evidence in your favor.
Filing a lawsuit: Once a fair negotiation is not reached with the insurance company, the lawyer files a lawsuit to pursue damages in the court.
How much can be claimed?
Depending on the various determining factors, the amount of compensation one can get varies. Determining factors like location of the accident, the gravity of injuries, the level of insurance, negligence by the injured party, and many more. After the case has gone to the court, depending on the sympathy of the jury, compensation is provided.