Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hazards That Cause You to Trip and Fall

Even a simple slip, trip or fall can cause injuries which will affect your life for years to come. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to consult with a doctor to make sure you receive all necessary medical attention and do not have any latent injuries. You should also protect your legal rights by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. The aggressive attorneys at the Dolman Law Group will fight for your right to be compensated for your injuries.
The Severity of Slip and Fall Injuries
When discussing trips, slips, and falls, most people imagine a small accident that led to slight pain and embarrassment. The reality is that slips and falls can have a serious, long-lasting impact on your life:
-Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The severity of a TBI can range from a simple concussion to permanent cognitive impairment. In the most severe cases, traumatic brain injuries cause death.

-Any slip or fall puts you at risk for sustaining a bone fracture. The severity of a bone fracture increases with age. Many elderly fall patients find that both their mobility and ability to live independently are permanently impaired after a fall.

-Pain is the most common outcome of a trip, slip or fall. It is not possible to know how long the pain will last immediately after an accident. If nerves are damaged, the pain can be permanent. Pain management is a complicated, ongoing process that can involve many different types of healthcare providers. For many fall victims, pain management becomes far more complicated that taking the occasional aspirin.

-The spine is particularly susceptible to slip and fall injuries. Not only can it sustain cuts and bruises, but it holds the potential for far more severe (and painful) neurological injuries. Slipped disks, inflamed disks, broken vertebrae, and other severe injuries can occur during even a minor slip or fall.

-In Santa Monica, California, a woman dislocated her shoulder after tripping on a badly defective part of the sidewalk. (The sidewalk was, in fact, so bad that the city had already put it on a repair list prior to the accident occurring.) The shoulder dislocation was severe enough to require surgery.

-In August 2009, Chad Felts slipped on a freshly mopped floor at a Quiktrip Convenience Store. He required two back surgeries and incurred about $42,000 in medical bills. A jury awarded Mr. Felts $3.5 million for his injuries and his inability to work.

-On July 9, 2012, a woman slipped and fell in a Dollar General Store in Mobile, Alabama. She required eight surgeries and 395 doctor visits which amassed $470,000 in medical bills. She was also permanently disabled by the accident. A jury awarded her $1.725 million at trial.

-In December 2013, Melissa Horton slipped on a freshly-mopped floor at a Target store in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The resulting fall tore her hamstring out of her hip socket. This injury required surgical repair and use of a body brace. A jury awarded Ms. Horton $2.1 million in noneconomic damages for her excruciatingly painful injuries.

-An 84-year-old man slipped and broke his femur at a Safeway chain grocery store in Portland, Oregon. Christopher Armstrong Stephenson was awarded $102,000 in medical and therapy expenses and $525,000 for pain and suffering. The jury also delivered a $1 million verdict in punitive damages against Safeway. While 70% of this punitive award went to local court initiatives (and not to the plaintiff), the jury sent a clear message to Safeway about its handling of the case.
Why Slip and Fall Accidents are Particularly Dangerous for Elderly Victims
The statistics on slips, trips, and falls among the elderly are staggering. According to the National Council on Aging:
  • An older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall once every eleven seconds. Once every nineteen minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. 
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury for older adults. (The Centers for Disease Control reported this in 2016, as well.)
  • In 2013, the total cost of fall injuries was $34 billion. This is expected to increase rapidly as the population ages, and is projected to reach $67.7 billion by 2020.

Aging, in and of itself, does not cause falls. The effects of aging (such as muscle weakness, medications which cause dizziness, the need for better footwear support, and poor eyesight) also make a person more likely to sustain a slip or fall. These can be addressed with proper safety measures:
  • Physicians should review medications to identify side effects of dizziness. Vitamin D supplements should also be considered to reduce the risk of falls. 
  • Have an eye exam at least once each year, and be sure to update your prescription as necessary. 
  • Inspect your home for tripping hazards. Rugs, blankets, clutter, and other debris can all increase the chance of tripping. 
  • Install grab bars near any tubs, toilets, and other slippery locations. 
  • Inspect any stair railings. Replace and update as necessary.
  • Look into programs that strengthen leg muscles and improve balance (such as yoga or tai chi).  
  • It is also important to overcome stereotypes about falls. Many older adults feel embarrassed about the lack of control, or the effects of aging. An offer to help repair tripping hazards around the house can help you approach the subject without stigma.
Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today
Contact the Dolman Law Group today to learn about your legal rights after a slip and fall accident. Whether you have been injured in a slip, trip, or fall, we will aggressively protect your right to be compensated for your injuries. Our St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in pursuing personal injury claims, and our professional staff will offer the personalized service you need after an accident. Call our office at (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

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