Despite long having been fodder for physical human and slapstick entertainment, slip-and-fall incidents are actually quite serious. They happen every day across the country, both to people while they work and to others who visit public spaces, like retail stores. Sometimes, the person involved in a slip-and-fall walks away with little more than a strong sense of embarrassment and a few bruises. Other times, however, the potential for serious injuries arises.
More than a million people each year seek treatment in emergency rooms across the country due to slip-and-fall accidents. People over the age of 65 may be at increased risk for severe injuries (such as broken hips), but anyone can sustain life-altering injuries when they slip somewhere and end up falling.
Slip-and-fall injuries are often anything but funny
People who fall can often end up severely injured, which is no laughing matter. Broken bones are a common result of a fall. Older adults and those with certain medical conditions may be at increased risk for a serious fracture when they fall. Broken hips, arms, legs and collarbones can all result from a slip-and-fall incident. These injuries could require trauma care, physical therapy and pain management. In some cases, the end result could be many weeks of missed work.
Broken bones are not the only serious injury that people who slip may incur. It is also quite common for people to strike their head on the floor, a piece or furniture, a store fixture or even a wall as they fall. That can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can produce severe symptoms. TBIs can impact everything from personality and motor function to memory and balance. Worse, if the symptoms take some time to develop, delayed treatment could lead to a worsening prognosis.
You should always report a slip-and-fall when it happens
No matter how busy you are or embarrassed you feel, you need to take the time to report a slip-and-fall incident when it happens. If you slip in the parking lot or on the sidewalk in front of a business, you need to go inside and make a formal report. If you slip on overly polished flooring or a puddle inside a building, you need to make sure the owner or manager knows what happened. Reporting the slip-and-fall helps ensure you can connect with compensation for injuries after the fact.
In many cases, you should also seek medical evaluation in the wake of a slip-and-fall. If you strike your head or lose consciousness during the fall, that requires immediate medical evaluation. You should also seek treatment if you broke a bone or have a soft tissue injury, such as a sprain or strain. Medical evaluation can ensure you get the treatment you need to recover. It can also help connect your medical costs and lost wages to the slip-and-fall incident, which can lead to the appropriate compensation via premises liability insurance or a personal injury lawsuit.