Immediately after a fall in or around a store, whether due to unmarked slippery floors or faulty staircases or handrails, you might brush it off, thinking it was nothing. Yet, the pain from the fall you thought was not important could turn into a more serious injury and result in unexpected medical costs. Continue reading to see what symptoms you need to be watchful for after a slip-and-fall injury and, if severe enough, why it might be time to involve one of the experienced premises liability attorneys at Kirshbaum Injury Law.
In the moments after a fall, you might not feel like you did any damage but later on it could be more severe than you thought. Here are some of the injury symptoms you should be on the watch for following any type of fall.
Continuous pain after a fall is the body’s way of signaling you that something is wrong. You may have a broken bone, neurological damage, or some other type of injury that requires medical attention.
An immediate sharp, severe pain that does not dissipate or ease can indicate a serious injury. Look for additional symptoms in the area, such as swelling or bruising,
Your head may hurt after a fall, especially if you hit it on the floor or on another object. Pain here can be from a minor TBI (traumatic brain injury), like a concussion, or something more severe. Accompanying the pain may be vision problems, disorientation, dizziness, ringing in your ears, and a sudden loss of balance.
Pain in your stomach may start slow and dull, then escalate. You may begin to feel dizzy or light-headed as the pain increases. Such pain in the abdominal area can indicate injury to your spleen, liver, or other area and also be due to internal bleeding.
Back pain often does not show up until hours or days after a fall and may be the result of an actual injury to the area or another condition in the body. There are a number of causes of back pain, including the strain or sprain of muscles or ligaments, damage to a spinal disc, or other internal injury.
If you slip and fall, try not to get up too quickly. Determine if you feel any pain or other discomfort, and if not, slowly brace yourself against another person or some type of railing to rise. Again, move slowly and check your body for any symptoms that may indicate an injury.
Be sure to report the fall to the store manager or facility owner where you fell and fill out an incident report. Obtain a copy of the report if possible.
Next, ask yourself if you believe the fall was the result of someone else’s negligence. If so, do your best to collect and record details of the event, including location, hazardous conditions at the time of the slip-and-fall, and other factors, such as whether or not there were any warning signs. Take photos of the area and also of your injuries. Obtain contact information from any witnesses.
Even if you do not feel anything strongly, the first step is to seek medical help to assess and treat any potential injuries. According to reports by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), falls can be harmful as roughly one in five causes a serious injury, especially in older adults who are 65 and beyond.
Contact a dedicated Minnesota personal injury attorney for a consultation as soon as possible. This attorney can review the circumstances surrounding the fall, provide legal advice on your rights, and help you file a claim. They can also communicate and negotiate with insurance companies, so you can focus more on healing.
After a slip and fall, several different kinds of injuries are likely. These include the following.
With over 200 bones in the body, it is no wonder that broken bones are a common injury sustained during a fall. The most common areas for broken bones include the arm, wrist, and ankle. You may need an x-ray or other diagnostic test to determine the location. Hip fractures are also possible.
Head injuries result when you are unable to avoid striking your head against the floor, ground, or another object in your path. These injuries can be mild and only give you a slight headache or be severe, even causing a loss of consciousness.
An injury to the neck can occur, such as whiplash (soft tissue injury), herniation of a disc, or fracture to the cervical vertebrae.
Bruises are common following a fall and can appear on any part of the body. While these may seem minor, in some cases, they are signs of an internal injury. Sprains are also common, especially in the wrists if you try to catch yourself or lessen the impact of the fall with your hands.
Injuries in your extremities are also common and may appear in the form of fractures or sprains in the knee, ankle, or wrist. Specific arm injuries include damage to the shoulder joint or elbow. Leg injuries can include sprains or pulled muscles in the calf or thigh areas.
Sudden impact or stress on the back can result in a number of injuries, including herniated discs, fractures, and muscle strains or sprains. In some falls, fractures to the spinal cord occur and can cause nerve damage and even paralysis.
The most common causes for someone to slip and fall include weather conditions, broken handrails, slippery surfaces, and uneven or damaged floors.
Changing weather conditions, such as rain, ice, or snow, can lead to slippery surfaces on sidewalks, parking lots, and others where people walk daily. Water can pool in holes or uneven walkways and be invisible. If ice builds up on a property, such as on a ramp leading into a store or covering a parking lot, it can also be the cause of a slip and fall.
Handrails are meant to be a safety feature for people, and when they are broken or start to become unattached, they are fall risk factors. Grasping or placing weight on these can cause you to slip and fall without warning.
A slip and fall in a store can be the result of damp or wet floors, creating a slippery surface. This situation usually occurs due to a recent mopping in the area by an employee or a leak in the roof.
Uneven or damaged floors can cause you to slip or trip, resulting in a fall that can cause various injuries. Flooring may be loose, carpeting or rugs unattached, or floors uneven.
While you may not initially feel that injury occurred during a slip and fall, be proactive and seek a medical exam to be sure. It is important to see a doctor following a fall for several reasons, including the following:
If you are an older adult, there may be severe injuries or underlying medical conditions (e.g., low blood pressure) contributing to the fall.
After a slip and fall accident due to another party’s negligence, your first concern is seeking medical care. Not only is this essential to your well-being, but any delay in seeking that healthcare treatment can reduce the strength of your case. Once you receive initial evaluation, diagnosis, and medical treatment at an emergency room or your own doctor’s office, next consider consulting with an attorney.
By attending to your health first, the types of injuries you sustain and the treatments you need will be well documented. This documentation by a medical professional will play a key role in your case, serving as valuable evidence. Your attorney will compile this information along with a calculation of damages to seek, including medical bills and expenses (past and future), any lost wages, and others, depending on your particular circumstances.
The earlier you discuss your case with legal counsel, the stronger your chance of filing a successful claim for the full amount of compensation you deserve. Also, in the state of Minnesota, in most slip and fall cases, you have six years from the injury date to file your personal injury claim. Even if you didn’t file early on, you still have time to seek legal advice and file it within that timeframe.
If your slip and fall occurs on the property of another, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit to obtain enough compensation to meet your needs. Premises liability law in Minnesota holds that a property owner is responsible for maintaining their premises in a safe and secure manner. If they neglect to do so, that owner or even the manager of the business at that location can be held liable for your injuries.
In order to file a successful lawsuit, your premises liability attorney will need to prove the following four elements showing negligence on behalf of the property owner.
Your attorney will work diligently to prove these four elements by compiling evidence and speaking to witnesses. You can expect the property owner or manager and their insurance companies to fight against these accusations, often blaming you for the fall and resulting injury. With tenacious legal advice and representation, however, you can win your lawsuit and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Pains can start out gradually or affect you all at once. If that pain follows a slip and fall that resulted from the negligence of another, such as a store owner, seek medical attention for you or a loved one first, then contact the professionals at Kirshbaum Injury Law. Our premises liability lawyers are available for free consultations, during which you can find out what your options are and the next steps to take. Call our phone number at 952-545-2700 or use our convenient online form to get in touch. We are here to serve clients in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, as well as the entire state of Minnesota.
Jim is a very experienced trial lawyer having conducted jury trials in multiple states both on behalf of injured people and on behalf of defending insurance companies.