Diagnosing most injuries is generally fairly simple. A broken arm, for example, is a broken arm – easily diagnosed if not by touch, then by X-ray or MRI. But preventing an injury is not simply addressing the arm that is broken – it’s identifying and preventing the catalyst that causes the accident that leads to the broken arm. Whether it’s in Dallas or Austin, Houston or Ft. Worth, or anywhere else in the United States, one of the most common catalysts for injuries are slip and fall accidents.
What is It?
The perception is that slips and falls aren’t dangerous. After all, even children fall. We all fell as children, and we all made it through childhood, didn’t we? But statistics show perceptions aren’t always accurate. The reality is slips and falls account for a significant number of injuries in the United States annually. According to the National Security Council (NSC), nearly 31,000 people died in 2014 as a result of slip and fall injuries, 600 in the workplace alone; and there were more than 47,000 people injured. And if the slip or fall is the fault of negligence or misconduct on the part of others, they may be held liable for their actions.
What to do?
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a slip and fall accident caused by the negligence or misconduct of another, contact Guajardo & Marks, LLP. Operating out of offices in Dallas, Texas, Guajardo & Marks have over two decades of experience in a variety of legal areas, especially with personal injury. Guajardo & Marks have both the knowledge and experience to represent you and get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 972.774.9800 to set up a free consultation to evaluate the merits of your claim and decide on your best course of action. If your best option is to file suit, we charge no out-of-pocket expenses until and unless your claim is settled or won.
If a slip and fall occurs and results in injury, the owner of the property may be liable. This is especially true if the accident occurred because of an unsafe environment created because of someone’s negligence or willful misconduct. For example, an unmarked wet floor at a retail store leaves an individual unprepared and vulnerable to a fall. A weak and loose railing on a long flight of steps may not offer the assistance some individuals need to navigate the steps. The same is true in the workplace – if the environment is not safe on an oil rig or refinery, for example, it is the company’s responsibility to fix it for their employees’ safety. In all these cases, the injured individual has the right to sue for a personal injury.
Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slips and falls are unpredictable, by their nature, but the causes aren’t. Spinalcord.com has compiled a list of the most common types of falls and the injuries they produce.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries aren’t outwardly visible, which can make them difficult to prove in a lawsuit. You might not even realize that you have a soft tissue injury until days, or even weeks, after the initial fall. Soft tissue injuries range from minor ankle and wrist sprains to devastating tears in tendons and ligaments.
Left untreated, soft tissue injuries can cause chronic pain, and may also make you more vulnerable to subsequent injuries. Even if you feel fine after a fall, it’s important to seek medical care, since soft tissue injuries don’t often produce immediate symptoms.
Even an apparently minor head injury is a medical emergency. If you fall and hit your head—especially if there is swelling, bleeding, or even a brief loss of consciousness—you need immediate medical care.
Cuts and Abrasions
Slips and falls that produce cuts and abrasions can look quite severe, but the injuries are often less extensive than other sorts of slip and falls. If the impact of the fall is sufficiently hefty, however, cuts and abrasions may rest atop more serious injuries, such as concussions and broken bones.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is either severed or compressed. These injuries are almost always life-threatening and demand immediate medical care, as well as ongoing treatment.
Broken bones are painful, scary, and can range from only minor fractures to severe breaks demanding numerous surgeries. The tissue surrounding broken bones may also be damaged, necessitating long-term therapy to prevent chronic pain and neuromuscular dysfunction.
Most Common Causes for Slip and Fall Injuries
- Debris on the floor, such as fruit spilled at a grocery store
- A floor that is excessively wet, without appropriate warning, such as might occur after waxing a linoleum floor
- Uneven surfaces, such as a hole or indentation in a concrete floor
- Unsafe construction or working zones, including failure of workers to take proper precautions, or failure of managers to either allow or instruct workers to take proper precautions.
Children, because of their nature, are most susceptible to slip and fall injuries; luckily, they are also the most resilient age group. Between the playground, games and simple interaction, every parent is experienced with the scrapes and bruises that come with childhood. However, with the number of falls a typical child takes, it’s often difficult to tell which falls are serious and which are just bumps. Kidshealth.org has advice for when a fall has gone past just a band aid. They suggest seeking medical help if your child:
- becomes very sleepy or is difficult to wake up
- becomes easily annoyed or upset and cannot be comforted
- vomits more than two or three times
- complains of head, neck, or back pain
- complains of increasing pain anywhere
- is not walking normally
- does not seem to be focusing his or her eyes normally
- has any behavior or symptoms that worry you.
Falls often happen at the most common places. Because of this, there is a legal expectation that hosts that sponsor family events will add extra protections. If a child falls as the result of the negligence of a ball park, a store, even sometimes in a school, the liability often can fall on the property owner.
Slip and fall injuries are especially dangerous for the elderly. According to Hg.org, falls are the fifth-leading cause of death and the cause of 40 percent of fatal injuries for people 65 and older. Different factors add into the dangers of falls for seniors, including poor posture control, slow reaction time, infrequent activity, poor vision, impaired balance, medication side effects, and previous injuries or falls.
Because the elderly are often frail, institutions that cater to them are reasonably expected to take extra safety precautions to help them avoid injury. This is especially true in health facilities, including nursing and assisted living homes, hospitals and medical centers. As these facilities specialize in helping the infirm, safeguards should be in place. However, that is not always the case. If an elderly or infirm individual falls and suffers an injury in any of these facilities, liability often falls on the shoulders of the owners, or those in charge.
Guajardo & Marks, LLP of Dallas have been litigating within the legal system for decades. We look forward to sharing our experience and resources and are proud to help fellow Texans with legal problems. For questions or to set up a consultation contact us online or by phone at 972.426.2621.