Slip & Fall accidents (also known as trip & fall) can happen to anyone, at any time, and in any place. These can lead to a significant percentage of emergency room visits (various studies indicate about ¼ of all such visits are related to falls).
Common causes are wet floors, loose mats, or uneven surfaces, bad lighting, elevator or escalator accidents, and equipment that doesn’t work as it should. If a fall or injury results, then you have losses related to that, losses which effect both you and your family, and possibly there are permanent effects as well.
What to do. Initially, you may be embarrassed, and think, or say, that you are alright. You may feel that it might have been your fault, and you want to make light of it. You should not do this. Firstly, whoever is responsible for the area you slipped may be responsible for making that area safe. Secondly, you may feel o.k. on that day, but a lot worse the next day.
So 1) Seek immediate medical attention.
2) Get names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses.
3) Take pictures with time stamp, and showing surrounding area to accident.
4) Make sure an incident report is made, and get a copy, or document your request for a copy.
5) Contact an experienced attorney (an internal insurance company memo indicated that settlements to injured persons represented by an attorney were 3 times more than those made with unrepresented injured persons). Beware of the seemingly super-friendly adjuster, who wants to “get this thing settled quickly.”
6) Remember that you do NOT have to give them a recorded statement, and definitely should not, at least until you have legal representation (despite what may be said by the insurance company, it can, and usually is, used against you).
Brain Injury from Slip and Fall Accidents
At some point in your life, you will inevitably slip and fall down. In most cases, a fall may cause minor bumps or bruises and may certainly bruise your ego. However, in other situations, a seemingly simple slip and fall accident can result in serious injuries with long-term implications. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) has reported that nearly 9 million visits to the emergency room per year in the United States result from slip and fall injuries. Many of these ER patients may require extensive medical care for fractured bones, neck and back injuries, serious contusions, and more. One particularly concerning injury that can result from a slip and fall is a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI).
How can a fall result in a TBI?
When you slip or trip, you often have little control over where or how you land. Whether you fall forward or backward, there is a good chance you may hit your head on the ground or on any shelves or nearby objects. Anytime you hit your head, you run the risk of sustaining a TBI. A TBI is damage to the brain tissue from the brain hitting the skull and it most often occurs from direct trauma to the head. The damage can occur directly beneath the point of impact or even on the opposite side of the head.
Traumatic brain injuries are classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Severe TBI can cause long-term or even permanent symptoms, which can result in serious impairments and disabilities for victims. Many severe brain injuries result from fall accidents, including same-level slip and falls
Signs and symptoms of severe traumatic brain injuries
One of the most telling signs that you have suffered a severe TBI is the loss of consciousness. While some victims lose consciousness for a brief period of time, others may be in a coma for days or weeks. After awakening from a coma, many people suffer from some form of amnesia. In addition, severe TBI victims often suffer from serious problems with the following:
- Concentration, attention, and focus
- Balance, coordination, strength, and other motor functions
- Long and short-term memory loss
- Sensory perception
- Understanding basic communications and directions
- Verbal and written communications
- Personality and behavioral changes
- Anxiety, depression, and other emotional conditions
- Sleep disorders
The above symptoms can last for an extended period of time and can often be permanent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 43 percent of severe TBI victims still experience impairments one year after the injury and more than 5 million individuals in the U.S. live with a disability stemming from a TBI. These impairments can prevent a TBI victim from working, driving, attending school, having meaningful relationships, participating in everyday activities, or even from living independently.
Who can be held liable for my brain injury-related losses?
Brain injury victims can incur extensive financial and intangible losses as a result of the following and more:
- The person, entity, business, individual, and/or the insurer, responsible for your accident
- Emergency trauma care
- Extended hospitalization
- Physical and occupational rehabilitation
- Psychological treatment
- In-home assistance
- Assisted living facilities
- Loss of income, benefits, and earning capacity
- Psychological and physical pain and suffering
- Lost enjoyment of everyday life
One of the first questions a slip and fall victim with a TBI asks is: can I receive compensation for my losses? Fortunately, in many cases, the answer is “yes.”
If you slipped and fell simply because of your own clumsiness, you may not be able to recover for your losses. However, many slip and falls occur because of a hazardous condition on the premises. Property owners who fail to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition and who allow hazards to exist can be held liable for any injuries that result from the dangerous property. This includes injuries to people who slip and fall due to unsafe flooring, obstacles in walkways, unsecured cords, and similar hazards.
If you have sustained a TBI or any other type of injury in a slip and fall accident and you suspect that the property owner was negligent, you should always discuss your legal rights with a qualified personal injury attorney.
Consult with Thomas Nicholl, an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney, today. 407-228-2131