Winter weather can lead to serious accidents involving ice, snow, wind and rain. In fact, slip and fall accidents on ice injure approximately one million Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 17,000 of those incidents result in death. Whether you trip on uncleared ice on a walkway or slip on an icy patch in the parking lot, the outcome could be disastrous.
Outside areas, such as parking lots and sidewalks, can have hazardous conditions, especially for older or disabled individuals. People may also track water and slush into building entryways, causing slippery surface areas inside the building. If you slip and fall, it is essential to know how to handle the situation.
Organizing Your Case
If you have fallen on ice and hurt yourself, you may be eligible for compensation. Depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may receive money to pay for your medical expenses and trauma. First, you must determine whether you have a case.
What Are the Circumstances?
Where did you slip and fall? Was it in the parking lot of a business? Were you walking into work when you fell? Business owners may be at fault if they neglect to remove the snow on walkways or parking lots quickly and diligently. Furthermore, they may be liable if snow or ice accumulates from puddles that have melted and refrozen or if ice collects on the roof, melts and drips off the roof then refreezes on the ground.
Who Is To Blame?
It is critical to determine who is responsible for maintaining the property where your slip and fall accident occurred. Property owners have a legal obligation, or duty of care, to maintain their premises and ensure consumers stay safe from potential hazards. Whether there was a defective condition, such as a leaky pipe or backed-up water drain, that contributed to an ice patch or the property owner did not clear the pathways in a timely manner, it is essential to determine the type of negligence that occurred.
Is It Your Fault?
In some cases, the property owner may claim that you are partially or completely at fault for the slip and fall accident. The court could establish what percentage of blame lies with each party before determining compensation. If your fault is at 50% or greater, the chance of recovering cash for your injuries declines.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Falling on ice can cause a wide range of problems, some of which may result in severe pain, long-term damage or death. In some cases, symptoms of an injury can take days or weeks to appear, depending on what area of the body is affected. No matter what, take pictures of your wounds to document the severity of the injury and seek medical help as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common types of slip and fall injuries.
Bone and stress fractures can result in serious issues depending on the area and type of fracture. Bone breaks can damage the tissues, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and other organs. Crushed or bruised nerves can take months to heal or lead to ongoing nerve pain. These problems can make it difficult for you to engage in recreation and everyday activities.
Bruises, Contusions and Lacerations
While bruising will often heal on its own, lacerations should receive treatment to avoid serious infection. Deep lacerations may need stitches or even surgery to reconnect tissues that may have been severed. Bruises may also signal deep muscle and tissue damage as well.
Strains and Sprains
Sprains involve the tearing or stretching of the strong ligaments that bind two bones together in the joint capsule, according to the Mayo Clinic. Serious injuries may require surgery to repair the tearing. On the other hand, strains refer to an injury to a muscle, specifically where it connects to the bone.
A sudden impact to the back can create an intense pressure, causing the vertebral discs to bulge, herniate or slip out of place. A herniated disc may press against some of the many nerves that run through the spinal cord and out to the rest of the body. Symptoms include numbness, intense pain or tingling that runs throughout the body. If your back hurts after a slip and fall, it’s most likely caused by lumbar herniations; however, you can also suffer from cervical herniations depending on the way you land.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The CDC reports that falls lead to nearly half of hospitalizations involving traumatic brain injuries. During a fall, your head may hit the ice, concrete, another object or the road. Although brain tissue is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid within the skull cavity, a sudden jolt can cause the soft tissue to hit the hard skull bone. The impact may result in a brain injury, causing bruising, bleeding and inflammation. If left untreated, traumatic brain damage can result in serious, lifelong trauma that could affect your ability to work and function in daily activities.
When Is It Time To See a Doctor?
It may be obvious that you need immediate medical attention in some situations, especially if you have a broken bone, deep laceration, or severe pain. Other injuries, however, may not be as noticeable. Nerve damage, herniated discs and other back and muscle injuries may not appear for some time after the accident occurs. Common signs of a slip and fall injury include the following:
- Dizziness or confusion
- Nausea or unsettled stomach
- Headache, often increasing in intensity
- Ringing in the ears
It is vital to see a medical professional to catch any potential injuries as soon as possible after you fall and hurt yourself. A medical team can find the problem and customize a treatment plan to ensure you get back on your feet quickly and safely.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
In a slip and fall accident, you may find yourself buried under a pile of medical bills from treatment, surgeries, physical therapy and psychological trauma. If you cannot work during the recovery process, it may be difficult to make payments on your medical bills while paying your regular monthly bills. You should not have to struggle due to another person’s negligence.
You have the right to fair and just compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost wages from missing work
- Quality of life changes
Some injuries, such as traumatic brain damage or herniated discs, may require long-term treatment. You could be unable to work due to the injury and resulting damage. With the guidance of a trusted lawyer, you may be able to obtain ongoing support depending on the circumstances of your situation.
Help Is Available
If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident, you may wish to partner with a qualified legal professional. Gould Injury Law’s experienced team is available to investigate the details of your situation, organize a strong case and act as your legal advocate. We know that you need compensation now. That is why we work fast to ensure you get the money you deserve. Let us assist you in navigating the legal process. Call us today to learn how we can help you.