Slip and fall accidents injure a significant number of people in Connecticut and throughout the United States every year. According to the National Safety Council, more than 39,400 people died as a result of a falling accident in 2019 alone. Many others suffered debilitating injuries from slipping and falling while shopping.
Since falling accidents are completely preventable, it is important for people to know how to handle these potentially dangerous situations. Furthermore, victims of slip and fall accidents should understand what to do if they become the victim of another’s negligence.
What Conditions May Lead To A Fall?
Falls can occur both indoors and outdoors under certain conditions. People can trip over unsecured tiles, torn carpet or misplaced mats. Floors may be wet from a spill or from people tracking in snow, slush or ice from outside. Other conditions that can lead to a slip and fall accident include:
- Objects dropped and/or lying in the walkway
- Waxed floors that have not been properly marked
- Curbs and/or steps that are properly marked
- Cracks or potholes in the parking lot or on the sidewalk
- Bad weather conditions, such as snow, ice, rain and fog
In addition, poorly lit and dim areas of stores can make it difficult for people to see potential hazards.
What Types of Injuries Can Occur?
Falling can cause both acute injuries and long-term issues, depending on the severity of the fall. You may notice some injuries, such as broken bones and lacerations, immediately. Yet other injuries, such as traumatic brain damage, herniated discs and spinal cord trauma, may take days or weeks to appear.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries send more than 223,000 people to the hospital each year. Falls are responsible for at least half of those cases. Brain injuries can have long-term repercussions that can affect your ability to work, perform daily activities or enjoy hobbies and sports.
A sudden jolt to the head can result in these common symptoms of brain injuries:
- Consistent headaches and dizziness
- Confusion, trouble remembering or difficulty organizing ideas
- Sensory deficiencies, such as trouble seeing, hearing or communicating with others
- Change in sleep patterns, fatigue or insomnia
- Change in mood, possible depression, anxiety or stress
- Seizures, convulsions or tingling in the muscles
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a fall accident, as immediate attention can improve your outcome. Medical professionals can screen, identify and diagnose a brain injury. A health care team can then customize a treatment plan and minimize any long-term damage that may occur.
The impact of falling can cause a broken bone. While some breaks are clean and heal easily with a support cast, other breaks may require surgery and rehabilitation. Difficult breaks can cause serious pain, which may continue even after the broken bone heals. Hips are the most common type of fracture, as the CDC reports 95% of broken hips occur in fall accidents.
Sprains, Strains and Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue damage involves injuries to the tendons, ligaments and muscles. Tearing or pulling of these tissues can result in swelling, inflammation, pain and bruising. Sprains involve partial tearing of a ligament, while strains include injuries to the tendons or muscle. A complete tear often requires surgery and could lead to a long recovery time.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Fall accidents cause more than one-fourth of spinal cord injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. A pinch in the spinal cord can cause immediate damage. As fluid builds up in the spinal column and fibers inflame, further damage can occur over time. Symptoms often include loss of movement, sharp pain, stinging sensations, difficulty breathing or coughing.
Slipped discs or vertebrae issues can cause chronic back pain that could make it difficult for you to perform daily activities. When discs bulge from between two vertebrae, they can press on nerves that travel to the rest of the body. This can result in intense nerve pain in the arm and legs, as well as tingling, numbness or weakness in the muscles.
Who Is Responsible?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, property or business owners may be liable for injuries resulting from accidents that occurred on their property. Property and business owners have a responsibility to maintain their grounds and attend to situations that arise. This includes taking care of spills, leaks or icy walkways in a timely manner. If the business owners knew of the issue and failed to take care of the problem, they are responsible for any accidents that occur.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
In a personal injury case, the court must determine who is at fault for the incident and to what extent. Comparative negligence tells the court whether the property owner or accident victim is primarily responsible. Connecticut has a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that if the property owner is more than 50% responsible for the accident, the slip and fall victim is likely to receive compensation for his or her injuries.
What Can My Insurance Company Do?
When you file a claim with the insurance company, the representative is trained to pay out as little as possible for your case. As a business, this is the most profitable way for the company to make money. An insurance adjuster may ask leading questions to determine who is at fault following a slip and fall accident. Although you may respond truthfully, the adjustor may use your answers against you. That is why it is important to talk to an attorney before speaking with the adjustor.
If you must speak with an insurance company, be sure to limit your answers to set facts, such as the date and location of the incident. If they ask further questions, let them know that you would like to seek legal assistance before giving a response.
What Types of Compensation Are Available?
If you suffer from injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident, you may be battling medical bills and other costly expenses. It can be difficult to make ends meet if you are unable to work due to your injuries. You may receive compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including rehabilitation costs and hospital stays
- Lost wages from missing work due to your injuries and/or reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Anticipated future medical expenses
- Household costs
You may suffer from a change in your quality of life due to the accident as well. As the victim of an accident, you deserve compensation that will help get you back on your feet and back to a normal way of life.
Partner With a Legal Advocate
An experienced attorney can help you explore all of your legal options and provide assistance throughout the process. At Gould Injury Law, we understand that unforeseen accidents disrupt your way of life and require quick action. That is why we offer free consultations to gather information regarding your case and act fast to get you the money you need and deserve. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to obtaining fast results for your case. We partner with you and act as legal advocates who are by your side through it all. Call today to schedule your free consultation.
If you suffered injuries due to a slip and fall at any of the following commercial establishments, our personal injury attorneys could help with your case:
- Basking Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Big Lots
- Burger King
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Dollar General
- Dollar Tree
- Duane Reade/Walgreens