Every year, millions of Americans seek medical treatment for fall injuries such as head injuries, broken bones, spinal injuries, and more. Some people have an increased risk of suffering serious injuries after a fall accident, such as elderly people and nursing home residents. Seeking medical attention after a fall can be difficult, especially for many elderly people. In fact, the CDC claims that less than half of elderly fall victims tell their doctor about their accident. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including not wanting to ask for help or not knowing what injuries are actually severe enough to seek medical attention immediately. Below, our legal team lists several serious symptoms to look for after a fall, whether you can sue for fall injuries, and more.
If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury or wrongful death after a slip and fall accident, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. San Antonio personal injury lawyers at Janicek Law have decades of combined experience in helping fall victims and nursing home residents recover full compensation for their injuries. We can help you do the same. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.
How Many People Fall Every Year?
Approximately 3 million elderly people go to the emergency room for fall injuries every single year according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The total number of Americans who suffer a slip and fall accident on an annual basis is likely much higher, but largely unknown. Generally, elderly people are the most likely to slip, fall, and suffer serious injuries.
The CDC states that the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures are slip and fall accidents. Medical treatment for fall-related injuries totaled more than $50 billion in 2015, with Medicare and Medicaid covering the majority (75%) of these costs.
Common Causes of Falls
Slip and fall accidents can happen for a variety of reasons including:
- Premises liability violations such as broken stairs or handrails, uneven sidewalks, wet floors, poor lighting, loose floorboards, debris or cords on the ground, etc.
- Dangerous work environments – such as construction sites – with lots of slip, trip, and fall hazards.
- Being generally weak or clumsy.
- Having vision or balance problems.
Risk Factors for Falls
Some people have a higher risk of falling and suffering a serious injury than others. Common risk factors for slip and fall accidents include:
- Being 65 years old or older.
- Living in nursing homes where abuse or neglect is occurring.
- Having generally weak muscles.
- Poor vision or poor balance.
- Chronic illnesses that create muscle weakness, poor balance and coordination, low blood pressure, dizziness, etc.
- Having a vitamin D deficiency.
- Using certain types of medications such as antidepressants, sedatives, or tranquilizers that affect balance and coordination.
- Having foot pain or uncomfortable/unfunctional shoes.
- Living or working in a messy environment with lots of slip, trip, and fall hazards.
Treating or resolving all of the aforementioned risk factors is crucial for preventing falls and serious injury.
Statistically, older adults are the most likely to not only fall, but suffer the most severe injuries from falling as well.
Common Fall Injuries
Common injuries from slip and fall accidents can include:
- Head injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and subdural hematomas
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
- Broken bones such as hand, wrist, ankle, and hip fractures
- Joint dislocations, such as a dislocated shoulder or hip
- A tailbone injury, whether that be severe bruising or a fracture
- Internal bleeding or internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries, such as torn or pulled muscles
- Major bruising or lacerations
Symptoms to Look For After a Fall
A slip and fall accident can lead to serious injury and even death, depending on the age and overall health of the fall victim as well as the severity of the fall. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to figure out if you’re suffering from minor injuries or something life-threatening. From there, you may not know whether you should seek medical attention.
Listed below are a few symptoms to look for after a fall. If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention promptly.
The type and location of severe pain can indicate a wide variety of injuries. Sudden, sharp pain in the arms or legs, for example, can indicate a broken bone. If you broke a bone, you may also notice swelling and oddly positioned limbs. If your potential injury gets increasingly painful as the hours or days go on, this can warrant medical attention as well.
Back or neck pain could indicate some kind of spinal injury, such as fractured vertebrae, nerve damage, or a herniated disc. A spinal cord injury is the most severe type of back or neck injury that you can suffer from in a slip and fall accident. Symptoms of this injury may include intense pain, numbness or tingling throughout the body, partial or complete paralysis, and bladder or bowel incontinence.
Lastly, severe abdominal pain after a fall could indicate a serious injury such as internal bleeding or organ damage. If you experience any type of chronic pain after a fall, you should seek medical attention immediately.
Head Injury Symptoms
The most common symptoms of a concussion include a mild headache, loss of balance, a brief loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, and sensitivity to light or sound. Although a concussion can gradually heal without much medical treatment, fall victims with these symptoms should still seek immediate medical attention. That way, a medical professional can rule out more severe, potentially life-threatening conditions such as brain bleeds.
Severe Bruising or Lacerations
You may experience the initial pain and shock from a fall accident and then get right back up and carry on with your day. A few hours later, you may notice a massive, dark bruise in the area that suffered the brunt of the fall. Bruises are basically a collection of blood under the skin from broken blood vessels. In most cases, bruises don’t indicate a life-threatening injury, but still, you may want to get it checked out by a medical professional, especially if you’re over the age of 65 years old.
A slip and fall accident may also result in major cuts, especially if you land on sharp objects. Smaller cuts can be cleaned and treated at home. But large, deep cuts that result in lots of bleeding may need stitches, and therefore, should be checked out by a doctor.
Lack of Mobility
If you’re struggling to move around like you normally do after a fall, you may have suffered something on the minor side such as soft tissue damage (torn/stretched tendons, ligaments, or muscles). Poor mobility after a fall could also indicate something more serious such as a hip fracture. Either way, poor mobility after a fall is never a good sign, and should definitely be checked out by a medical professional.
Not Feeling “Right”
Above all else, trust your gut. If you just don’t feel right after a fall, speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. Sometimes, obvious symptoms of a serious injury don’t appear until several hours or days after the original accident either due to adrenaline or the time it takes for an injury to progress. Instead, you may feel a general sense of unease about your body after an accident. Not feeling “right” warrants a trip to urgent care at the very least.
Can You Sue for a Fall Injury?
Yes, you can definitely sue for a fall injury especially if negligence was involved and especially if you suffered serious injuries. For example, you could sue if you slipped, tripped, and fell due to a premises liability violation such as broken stairs or wet floors. Additionally, older adults can sue for fall injuries that they suffered within their nursing homes, especially if they weren’t receiving proper care and assistance.
In order to build a successful slip and fall injury case, you must prove the four elements of negligence.
- Duty of Care: All nursing homes and property owners must create a safe environment for their residents or visitors. This means removing or resolving all possible slip, trip, and fall hazards.
- Breached Duty of Care: The nursing home or property owner breached this duty of care by allowing slip, trip, and fall hazards to exist.
- Causation: The negligence of the nursing home or property owner directly resulted in a victim’s fall injuries.
- Damages: The fall victim suffered a variety of damages for which they should receive fair compensation.
A San Antonio slip and fall injury lawyer can help you prove these elements of negligence through medical records, pictures or security camera footage of the fall accident scene, pictures of fall injuries, witness statements, and more.
Slip and Fall Damages
A San Antonio slip and fall accident lawyer can help victims recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future physical therapy bills
- Expenses for necessary medical equipment such as wheelchairs and other assistive devices
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if the fall injury prevents the victim from completing their normal job duties
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental health counseling bills
- Expenses associated with switching nursing homes
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
- Funeral and burial expenses if the fall resulted in wrongful death
Call San Antonio Slip and Fall Lawyers at Janicek Law Today
If you or a loved one has suffered severe injuries or wrongful death from a slip and fall accident, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. The legal team at Janicek Law has decades of combined experience in successfully litigating all sorts of personal injury lawsuits, including those involving car accidents, nursing home abuse and neglect, medical malpractice incidents, and more. We have what it takes to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and other damages. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.