Fall down injuries are the number one cause of emergency room visits every year, numbering over 8 million, with 12 percent of all falls caused by slip and fall accidents. The CDC reports that, on average, 1 out of 5 fall down accidents results in serious injury. Injuries in these cases can be wide-ranging, from minor scrapes and bruises, to catastrophic injury and even death. It is not surprising that slip and fall cases are some of the most frequently filed personal injury lawsuits in the courts.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
There are many ways that a person can slip and fall, as well as an unlimited number of locations where these accidents can occur. A number of factors contribute to the type and severity of injuries that slip and fall accident victims suffer. The age and health of the injured person weighs in heavily as well.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Fractures are some of the most common slip and fall injuries, and there a number of different types. For example, a displaced fracture is a fracture where the bone snaps into two or more parts. Often, displaced fractures require surgical implantation of plates and screws to fuse the bone together so it can heal properly. A compound fracture is a type of displaced fracture where the skin may be pierced by the bone and the bone is visible in the wound. Finally, a comminuted fracture describes a type of displaced fracture where the bone shatters into three or more pieces.
Other areas of the body that are commonly impacted by slip and fall accidents include the shoulder, back, leg, knee, arm, elbow, ankle, wrist, foot, and hand.
Head Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Slips and falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Indeed, if someone hits their head on a hard surface, the resulting damage can be severe. Head trauma, skull fractures and internal bleeding can have severe consequences.
Spinal Cord Injury
When a person falls, their natural inclination is to break the fall. This may lead to body contortions that cause severe spinal injury when the body hits the ground. Wrenched muscles and tendons, vertebrae fractures, and herniated or slipped discs are often the result.
Grabbing a railing as a person falls or landing heavily on an arm can result in shoulder dislocation or torn rotator cuff. These are extremely painful injuries that can require surgery and have long recovery periods.
Bruises, Contusions, Abrasions and Lacerations
Even minor slip and fall accidents may lead to pain and discomfort from cuts and bruising. Moreover, if the victim is elderly or in poor health, these types of injuries can develop into more serious conditions, such as internal damage and infection.
Recovery from slip and fall injuries can be a lengthy and painful process, involving hospital visits, surgery, therapy, rehabilitation and other medical intervention. In extreme cases, these accidents can result in permanent disability, the need for full-time nursing care and even death.