If you believe you may have been injured in a slip and fall accident, there are several steps that you should take immediately to protect and preserve both your health and any potential slip and fall injury claim which might exist.
- Documenting the Incident – One of the biggest pitfalls that victims of slip and fall injuries encounter is the failure to preserve and document the conditions that caused the fall. This is especially true in cases involving falls caused by foreign substances or spills, as these sorts of hazards will usually be cleaned up long before you are able to return to the scene. Fortunately the advent of camera phones has made it far easier for injured parties to protect themselves. When an injury occurs, if your condition allows you to do so you should take as many high quality photos of both the area in which your fall occurred and the substance or hazard that you believe caused your fall. You should also look in the immediate area of your fall to see if there are any visible surveillance or security cameras in the area that might have captured the incident, and photograph them as well. Finally, you should take steps whenever possible to notify the management of the establishment of the fact that your fall occurred, and to request that an incident report be prepared. If your injuries and medical condition keep you from being able to do these things, you should ask your companions or the people who are helping you to assist with these crucial steps.
Once you have taken steps to ensure that a record of the incident is created, and the conditions at the site of your fall are preserved by photographs and an incident report, you should go to the emergency room or see your primary care physician as quickly as practicable after your fall. This is true for two important reasons:
- Your health – You can sustain serious injuries in a slip and fall, including injuries that may not be immediately apparent to you. It can be important for your long-term health to get checked thoroughly for injuries, and start on a course of treatment as early as possible.
- Your legal rights – If you believe the negligence of a property owner or occupier caused your slip and fall, a timely diagnosis of your injuries will play an important role in your legal claim. A prompt diagnosis can not only help to establish that your injuries directly resulted from the slip and fall, but prompt treatment can give you the best chance for recovery.
As a law firm with a long history of handling premises liability claims in Atlanta and surrounding areas in Georgia, we believe you should be aware of the potential injuries you can suffer in a slip and fall. These injuries include:
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, more than 95 percent of hip fractures in the U.S. result from falls. A broken hip can lead to serious complications, especially among elderly victims. These complications include blood clots, bedsores, infections and a loss of muscle tone that, in turn, exposes a victim to the risk of another fall. Broken wrists, arms, feet, ankles and tailbones can occur in slip and falls as well.
Head and Brain Injuries
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), the CDC states. A fall victim may suffer dangerous bruising, bleeding or tissue damage in the head and brain. Even a mild form of TBI such as a concussion can lead to permanent cognitive, motor and behavioral deficits. If you suffer TBI symptoms after a slip and fall such as a loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision or sensitivity to light, a ringing sound in one’s ears, confusion, or difficulty with memory and concentration, early detection and intervention can be a critical in minimizing the potential for permanent impairment as a result of your injury.
Back and Spine Injuries
Injuries to the lower back, or lumbar spine, are common in slip and falls. A victim may suffer fractured vertebrae or slipped, bulging or herniated discs. Pain, limited mobility and numbness or tingling in your arms and legs may indicate that your accident has caused back or spine injury.
A slip and fall can cause your knee to twist in an awkward way, hit the ground or extend too far, resulting in ligament strains or tears and/or nerve damage. Four knee ligaments that may be injured in falls are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). You can also suffer meniscal tears in the cartilage of the knee. Sudden and sharp pain, a “popping” sound in the knee, swelling and the inability to put weight on your knee are potential signs of such injuries.
A person injured in a slip and fall faces a high risk of injury in the ball-and-socket joints in the hips and shoulders. These injuries can include fractures as well as strains, sprains and dislocations. The ankle joint also is prone to injuries in a slip and fall.
Our Atlanta Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys Can Help You
At James M. Poe, P.C., our personal injury trial attorneys can review your medical records and consult with experts in order to determine the nature and extent of your slip and fall injuries. If the negligence of a property owner or occupier caused your fall, we will work hard to obtain just compensation for your injuries. Contact us today to discuss your case in a free consultation.
Sources / More Information
- Important Facts About Falls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention