One in every five slip and falls cause serious physical injury, with more than 800,000 people hospitalized every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These can be life-changing, leaving victims with chronic pain and long-term mobility issues. However, a personal injury claim can recover compensation for your losses.
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall, please contact us at the Salamati Law Firm. Schedule a free consultation with a compassionate and experienced Los Angeles slip and fall lawyer so they can assess your case and answer your questions.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Some health conditions increase the risk of falls. People with vision problems, lower body weakness, and issues with balance and stability are more prone to falling. Other falls are caused by conditions that are out of your control. Slippery surfaces, pooled water or liquids, poor lighting, and broken handrails or cracked steps can all lead to serious falls and injuries.
If your fall was caused by the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Let’s look at common slip and fall injuries and how their severity will impact the value of your settlement or jury award.
Arm & Shoulder Injuries
Arm and shoulder injuries from a slip and fall can damage the muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones from the shoulder down to the wrist. These usually happen when a person extends their arms to stop their fall. Arm fractures can be especially painful and may require surgical repair and extensive physical therapy to regain function and mobility.
The elbow connects the upper arm to the forearm, allowing it to bend, straighten, and rotate. Direct impact to the elbow joint and the connective structures that surround and support it can cause fractures, dislocations, sprains, and strains.
These elbow injuries usually happen when you try to break a fall with outstretched arms. Elbow injuries can be painful, and more severe conditions require surgery to restore normal anatomy and function in the joint.
Hand & Wrist Injuries
Hand and wrist injuries are also common when a person uses their hands to brace themselves during a fall. A wrist fracture, or broken wrist, is a common and painful injury. Specifically, a distal radius fracture occurs about one inch from the end of the bone. It is the most frequently broken bone in the arm and occurs most often from falls on outstretched arms, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Hand and wrist bruising, lacerations, and ligament or tendon damage are also possible after a slip and fall. These injuries typically cause pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion and may require surgery.
The knee is a complex joint less structurally stable than the hip and other joints. It’s also more susceptible to breaks, tears, and dislocations. If you fall forward, you risk severe trauma to the musculoskeletal structures in and around the knee: bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
Sudden, unnatural twisting or a forceful blow can damage these structures and cause intense pain, swelling, stiffness, and difficulty moving and bending them. Because of the risk of permanent damage, knee injuries should never be ignored.
The fibrous connective tissues that connect bone to bone and muscle to bone help stabilize joints and provide movement. A fall can cause these connective structures to overstretch or tear completely. Mild sprains and strains can improve with rest, elevation, and compression. Complete tears generally require surgery followed by extensive physical therapy to rebuild strength, motion, and function in the joint.
A leg fracture is a partial or complete break and can be caused by a serious fall. Severe breaks may require surgery, metal plates, and pins to stabilize the bone and promote proper healing.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint where the head of the upper thigh bone (femur) rests in the socket of the pelvis. The force of a fall can push the femoral head out of the socket, causing significant pain. Physical manipulation can often correct dislocations, although some patients may need surgery.
Dislocations are not the only slip and fall hip injuries that can occur. The muscles and tendons surrounding the hip are also susceptible to strain, which causes pain and limited motion in and around the hips and upper thighs.
Hip fractures are also common in slip and fall accidents, especially for older people with diminished bone density and bone mass due to osteoporosis. In fact, 95 percent of hip fractures among seniors are due to falling sideways.
Head & Brain Injuries
Head and brain injuries involve trauma to the head, scalp, brain, or underlying structures. They can cause acute physical symptoms or, in more severe cases, leave victims with lasting cognitive impairment. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most serious conditions from a slip and fall. Damage to the delicate tissue of the brain can manifest as long-term physical and psychological symptoms.
A concussion is considered a “mild” brain injury. However, it is still cause for concern. This type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by impact to the head and neck.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Feeling groggy or sluggish
- Confusion and concentration or memory problems
- Headache or sensation of pressure within the head
- Behavior or personality changes
Medical attention is essential after a fall or blow to the head to obtain the appropriate course of treatment and prevent further complications.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury damages any part of the spinal cord or the spinal nerves that send motor, sensory, and autonomic messages to different areas of the body. Damage to these structures can result in permanent changes in sensation, strength, and function below the injury.
Research shows that fall-induced spinal cord injuries (SCIs) have increased over the past four decades, particularly for older people, where three-quarters of SCIs are caused by falls. These patients typically require longer hospital stays and have a higher risk of life-threatening complications.
What Are Possible Complications of Injuries From Slip and Fall Accidents?
Fortunately, many slip and fall injuries are not serious and have a good prognosis for recovery. However, a fall from a height or on a hard surface causes more damage. The victim can experience scarring, chronic pain, and even permanent disability. We recommend prompt medical attention after a fall to rule out underlying internal injuries that may not have obvious symptoms.
The Importance of Documenting a Slip and Fall Injury
After a slip and fall, legal action is probably the furthest thing from your mind. You may be focused on getting the medical care you need to move forward with the recovery process. Unfortunately, medical bills for surgery, hospitalization, medication, and physical therapy add up fast. And if you cannot work because of your injuries, you’ll likely feel the stress of financial instability.
However, slip and fall lawsuits are a path to recover compensation for injuries resulting from another party’s negligence. Damages are awarded in proportion to the extent of your injury and its effect on your life.
Documenting your injuries is an important element of a successful lawsuit. From the time of your initial injury until your case is resolved, save medical bills, diagnoses, accident reports, eyewitness accounts, photos, and videos.
These details can help tell the story of how and why you were injured. Without this evidence, proving your case and recovering fair compensation becomes more challenging.
Contact Salamati Law Firm for a Free Consultation
Founded in 1995, the Salamati Law Firm takes an aggressive approach to advocating for our clients in settlement negotiations and in court. We have seen firsthand how a preventable injury can be life-changing in so many ways. We are committed to helping you find justice under the law.
Because you don’t pay legal fees unless you win, there is no financial risk in pursuing a claim for slip and fall injuries. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Salamati Law Firm represents clients throughout Southern California and across the state. Call today to schedule a free consultation.