Everyone will fall down from time to time. In most cases, falls are minor inconveniences. But sometimes they are a cause for serious concern. Some 3 million people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries every year.
Any fall that results in an injury is a cause for concern. This is true even if the injuries appear to be minor, since even small ones can get worse over time. They can sometimes indicate a much more serious condition that is not readily apparent.
Does your fall entitle you to financial compensation? You don’t have to guess at the answer. Kiley Law Group offers free, no-obligation consultations. We can help you understand what compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call (888) 435-1321 today.
Common Injuries After a Fall
After a fall, some believe they are uninjured when they get up and feel no pain when they move. Not feeling pain immediately after a fall, though, does not necessarily mean you are unhurt.
For example, adrenaline can suppress injuries immediately afterwards. This can mask how serious an injury is, making it more difficult to know whether the fall is cause for concern. As time passes, though, adrenaline wears off and a person can feel pain hours or even days later.
Injuries from falls can be broken into the following three general categories.
1. Broken bones
Breaks and fractures are common since we tend to throw out our arms or legs to protect ourselves when we fall. This can lead to injuries to your extremities, such as your arm, wrist, or ankle. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, fractures occur in 5 percent of people who fall.
Symptoms of broken bones include pain, swelling, or deformity in your joints or bones. If you broke a bone, you may feel pain when you put weight on the injury, touch, or move it. You may hear a snap or grinding noise as the injury happens. If you notice any of these symptoms, go to an emergency room immediately. An X-ray is the best way to determine if a bone is broken.
Other breaks are common at the point where our body hits the ground. This can lead to dislocation or breaks in the shoulders, hips, knees, or the tailbone. Falling on your back can lead to spinal injury. Give thought to which part of your body struck the ground first, and be especially alert to any symptoms in that area.
2. Head injury
If you strike your head during a fall, you are at risk of head injury which can be serious. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners, can put you at even greater risk from a head injury.
Common symptoms of head injury include:
- Loss of consciousness immediately after a fall
- Loss of balance
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dilated pupils
- Convulsions of seizures
- Blurred vision
- Memory or concentration problems
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Problems with speech
- Behavioural changes
- Sensitivity to light or sound
These symptoms can indicate serious injuries such as concussion, skull fracture, or traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to the CDC, falls are the most common cause of TBIs.
3. Soft tissue damage and cuts
Soft tissue damage is inflicted below the surface and as a result, hard to see and difficult to diagnose. When we fall, our muscles tense up to protect us. As muscles relax, injuries may show themselves. While these injuries are not painful immediately, they can be very serious and even debilitating.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, signs of soft tissue injuries include pain, swelling, and bruising. These may at first seem like minor injuries, but they can be a symptom of something much more serious, such as a sprain, strain, tendonitis, or stress injury which commonly occurs in the ankles, knees, and wrists.
Scrapes and cuts are another example of a common fall injury. Even these seemingly minor injuries should receive attention from a medical professional. He or she can determine whether stitches are required. More serious injuries beneath the surface could also be discovered.
If you were injured in a fall, always consult a medical professional. Do not hesitate to do so even if symptoms appear several days after the incident.
Some may treat seemingly minor injuries at home. Injuries that are improperly treated could turn severe. It is important to have a medical professional look at your injuries, to ensure you are properly diagnosed and treated. This can also help to document your injuries and support your case for compensation.
Common Expenses After a Fall
If you have medical or other expenses due to a fall, that is also a cause for concern. Injuries can result in medical bills and leave you unable to work and earn wages. Added expenses can create stress for you and your family. However, if you have expenses as a result of a fall, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation.
Financial loses you may be able to receive compensation for include:
- Hospital bills
- Medical devices such as a walker
- Medication costs
- Transportation costs to and from medical care
- Cost of hiring home help
- Physical rehabilitation expenses
- Lost or reduced wages
In addition to the financial impact of your accident, you may also receive compensation for intangible losses. These are also known as non-economic damages and may include things such as mental and emotional suffering, physical pain, and any lasting impact a fall has on your life and well-being.
Hazards Contributing to Your Fall
If there were hazards present at the time of your fall, this is also cause for concern. Property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain safe conditions, discover potential hazards, and warn visitors of hazards.
Examples of common hazards contributing to falls include:
- Lighting: Stairway or hallway that is improperly lit is especially of concern if the property owner or landlord was told the lighting was inadequate but it went unfixed.
- Weather: Ice and snow are major contributors to falls. If these were a factor, it is possible that the property owner is responsible.
- Debris: Loose debris in a neighbor’s yard, on a sidewalk, around construction, or on a worksite can contribute to a fall.
- Damaged flooring or torn carpeting: Negligence in properly maintaining floor surfaces can create a dangerous hazard.
- Wet or slippery floors: Floors in lobbies of grocery stores or other businesses may be freshly cleaned or waxed. In other cases liquid can leak onto floors. Business owners have a responsibility to keep floors dry and safe.
- Cracked or broken sidewalks: Municipalities have a responsibility to maintain public sidewalks in a safe condition. If you fall because of a broken or improperly maintained sidewalk, the municipality may be liable.
- Broken railings or missing steps: Railings are a key safety element in staircases. Broken, loose, or missing rails can be a factor in your fall.
- Lack of regular maintenance: A lack of care and maintenance standards on elevators and escalators can lead to malfunction and sudden stops or starts.
- Design standards: Sudden changes in floor levels and other poor designs can lead to falls.
- Neglect: Older ones are especially at risk of slip-and-falls. Nursing homes or other care facilities may improperly care for residents.
If any of these hazards were a factor in your fall, other parties may be liable for any resulting injuries. If it can be proven that a property owner created the hazard that led to your fall, this will further strengthen your case.
A property owner must have known that the hazard existed. Often, this can be proven by showing the property owner had constructive notice. This means that a condition existed for enough time that the owner should have been aware.
Property owners will try to claim that the fall was your fault. Proving property owners had enough notice is challenging. To get the compensation you deserve, you need an experienced attorney who knows how to fight for you.
Get the Help You Need to Ease Your Mind
After an accident, it can be difficult to know what to do. You may wonder how serious your case is, and what compensation you deserve. At the same time, you may be dealing with doctors, medical bills, and insurance companies.
Insurance companies may pressure you into accepting a smaller settlement than you deserve. Property owners will try to avoid taking responsibility. But you do not have to face these challenges alone.
Hire a legal team that can help you navigate these challenging circumstances. With Kiley Law Group, you are hiring more than a lawyer – rather, an entire team of dedicated professionals.
We will not only get you the settlement you deserve, but we will also help to guide you through the process. Let us reduce your stress during this difficult time, as we have done for thousands of clients over the past 40 years. Consider some of our clients’ testimonials.
You are only one phone call away from getting the answers and help you need. Call today at (888) 435-1321 for a free, no-obligation consultation.