Although falling in a busy supermarket is an embarrassing experience, the real consequences can be life-changing. Millions of people nationwide, including Florida, live with chronic back pain after slip-and-fall accidents. Slips and trips can cause torn rotator cuffs, fractured wrists or hips, traumatic brain injuries and back injuries, all of which could lead to chronic pain or permanent disabilities. Property owners are responsible for keeping premises free of hazards that could cause falls.
The direction in which you fall will determine the nature and severity of the injuries you suffer, and your age can also play a role. The physics of slip-and-falls and trip-and falls differ, and so do the typical resulting injuries. If you slip on a wet spot, you will likely fall backward and suffer different types of injuries to those of a trip, which will cause you to fall forward.
The fall direction usually influences the probability of a fracture and also which of the following types of fractures occur:
- Regardless of the direction of your fall, grabbing onto an object such as a railing might cause wrist or arm fractures.
- Putting out your hands to break a fall in any direction can also cause fractures to your wrists or arms.
- Falling backward or to one side and landing on your buttocks can cause hip fractures or damage to your tailbone.
- If you are older than about 65 years, you might never recover enough to live independently.
All fractures are painful, and there is never a guarantee of full recovery.
Walking and standing put weight on your knees, and the following injuries can remind you of your fall with every future step you take:
- Knee injuries can occur when you trip and fall forward.
- Sudden twisting of your knee during a fall can also cause injuries.
- A fall can damage ligaments or the cartilage in your knees.
- Dislocated knees often result from twisting of the leg during a fall.
Typically, the bigger you are, the more pain you will experience.
Whether you fall forward or backward, you can suffer any of the following shoulder injuries:
- Breaking a fall by putting out your hands can cause shoulder damage.
- Tears, sprains and strains to the rotator cuff are particularly painful.
- The rotator cuff holds the upper arm's ball joint securely in the socket of your shoulder.
Gravity is to blame for the extreme pain of shoulder injuries because it always pulls your shoulder down.
Back and neck injuries
Car accidents are not the only occurrence that causes whiplash, and the violent jerking motion of a fall can cause the following injuries:
- Lower back trauma can cause tingling and numbness in your feet, legs and buttocks.
- It can also create a compression fracture or a herniated disc.
- If the whiplash motion causes neck trauma, the tingling and numbness will be in your hands and arms.
- Limited range of motion can result, along with severe headaches and neck pain.
The injuries might resolve themselves, but they could cause long-term problems.
Spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries
Both of these types of injuries can lead to high-cost care for life:
- Spinal cord injuries can cause permanent disability, and they could result from the whiplash motion of your neck and head during a fall.
- Traumatic brain injuries often occur during backward falls. If your head strikes a hard object, the consequences can include anything from a mild concussion to TBI with permanent cognitive impairment, and it could even be fatal.
Your rights to litigation
If a property owner's negligence caused you to slip on a wet spot or trip over an object or uneven walking surface, or cause trip and fall injuries, you might have questions about your legal rights to recover damages. This is a complicated field of civil law in Florida. An experienced premises liability attorney can provide not only answers to your questions but also the necessary support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings to recover economic and noneconomic damages.