Many people dismiss the idea of slip-and-falls as a clumsy accident resulting in nothing but minor injuries. While this might be the case in some instances, in others individuals can suffer life-altering injuries. Whether the accident centers on slipping in spilled liquid, falling down broken stairs or tripping over broken pavement, the results can be catastrophic.
Even though every situation is unique, there are numerous common types of injuries that can follow a slip, trip or fall, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Head trauma can range from closed-head injuries to penetrating injuries with visible wounds. The brain damage is often categorized as either structural (the brain’s physical structure is compromised) or functional (the cognitive functions are impaired). These injuries can lead to personality changes, mood swings, memory impairment, loss of cognitive function and loss of perception. An individual could potentially heal from a TBI, but the damage often requires a lifestyle adjustment.
- Spinal cord injuries: Depending on the type of damage and its position along the spinal cord, the injury could potentially result in paralysis. This could be temporary or permanent, total or partial paralysis. An individual could lose sensation, movement or both to several limbs. Additionally, internal organs could suffer from reduced function.
- Broken bones: It is not uncommon for an individual to attempt to break his or her fall with outstretched hands and arms. This can lead to broken bones as the body’s full weight falls on these extremities. Additionally, falling from a balcony or falling down a flight of stairs could lead to broken arms, legs, ankles or fractured vertebrae.
- Soft tissue injuries: Individuals who slip, trip or fall to the ground often find themselves landing in awkward positions that put stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments. These falls might represent strains or tears to soft tissue that could take surgery to repair and months of physical therapy to heal.
- Lacerations: Falling to a hard surface or falling on stairs, across broken pavement or against concrete parking turtles could all result in deep cuts across the body. It is not uncommon for these lacerations to require medical treatment such as stitches to prevent a worsening condition including infection.
There are several factors that can influence the type and severity of injuries suffered in a slip-and-fall accident. From the height from which the fall occurred to the type of surface the individual lands on, injuries often range from minor to severe. With a severe injury, though, individuals could potentially struggle through surgery, a hospital stay, physical therapy and numerous prescription medications.