The physical trauma caused by a fall from a trip or slip is often unappreciated. A fall, and especially a nasty fall, may cause:
- Scrapes and cuts;
- Broken bones, dislocated joints, torn tendons and ligaments;
- Brain injury and concussions with associated confusion and headaches;
- Sensitivity to light and noise, which may also come if you hit your head in the fall.
Injuries Commonly Associated With FallsBroken bones and head injuries are two common injuries most associated with falls. Each fall produces unique injuries, but your fall-related ailments may affect:
- Your head: Falls are the most common causes of concussions from the head sustaining a blow. Other injuries that may come from falls include skull fractures, scalp cuts and bruises, and various types of brain bleeds.
- Your bones: A severe fall can cause broken bones in your hands, arms, face, head, knees, shoulders and other areas of your body that strike the ground. A broken hip is a potentially life-threatening injury that often occurs when elderly individuals fall.
- Your internal organs: Trauma from a fall may cause internal bleeding, the puncture of lungs or other organs, and various other injuries to internal organs. These injuries are especially concerning as some people injured in falls do not detect or appreciate the gravity of their injuries until it is too late.
- Your joints: People injured in falls may dislocate fingers, wrists, shoulders, elbows, kneecaps, and other joints resulting from a fall.
Why Do Falls Happen?There is a story behind every fall. Often, though, negligence is the common cause of falls. Negligence happens when someone—in fall cases, the person is often a property owner—fails to act reasonably. Negligent parties often put others at risk, contributing to harmful incidents like falls. Some common causes of falls include:
- Slippery surfaces;
- Trip hazards;
- Broken or slanted stairs;
- Uneven walking surfaces;
- Defective equipment, including but not limited to ladders and scaffolding;
- A forceful shove.
Who Is Responsible for My Fall and Resulting Injuries?Your attorney will need to review the circumstances of your fall to determine liability. Anyone whose negligence contributed to your fall may be liable. It is typically not a winning defense for a property owner to say, “I trained that person to spot and remove fall hazards, but they did not follow my instruction.” The person who owns a property—whether a business, apartment complex, municipal building, city street, or otherwise—is generally liable for harm on that property. Your attorney will determine ownership of the property where you fell. They will identify all parties who owe you compensation for your losses.
I’ve Suffered Injuries from a Fall. What Should I Do?Your health is the most important consideration after a fall. If you haven’t already received thorough medical care, do so as soon as possible. Whether or not you’ve already received medical treatment, you must:
- Obtain physical copies of medical bills for fall-related services;
- Obtain a precise diagnosis of any injuries you have;
- Obtain copies of X-rays, MRIs, and any other medical images created to diagnose fall-related injuries;
- Keep your records of services rendered, as well as the symptoms you are experiencing.
How an Attorney Can Help After Your FallA lawyer will do everything necessary to complete your case and, ideally, win your case. Lawyers handling slip or trip and fall cases will generally:
- Gather evidence related to the fall, including witness accounts, incident reports, and all relevant video footage and photographs;
- Identify all liable parties;
- Calculate the cost of the client’s damages;
- Communicate with attorneys for al-fault parties in the case, initiating settlement negotiations;
- Try your case before a jury if it is necessary.
Recoverable Damages from a Fall-Related LawsuitAll of your lawyer’s actions should be working towards financial recovery. Falls can cause long-term injuries that require substantial medical treatment. Damages from your fall may also be long-term in nature and may include:
- Pain and suffering: Falls can cause physical pain, loss of physical and cognitive abilities, and other forms of pain and suffering. Though this type of loss does not always have an obvious monetary case, your lawyer will determine the appropriate value of your pain and suffering.
- Medical expenses: Every medical cost related to your fall may be recoverable. This can include hospitalization, in-home care, imaging services, rehabilitation, and all other healthcare costs related to your fall.
- Professional losses: You may lose income, earning power, promotions, and other professional benefits because of your fall.