The average adult is surprisingly dismissive about the seriousness of slip-and-fall incidents. People tend to assume they only result in minor injuries, but that is not always the case. Some people end up breaking bones when they fall because of their age or an underlying health condition that reduces their overall bone density.
Other people aren’t able to slow their descent at all, which means that they might hit their head on the floor, fixtures, furniture nearby or on a shopping cart when they fall. They could end up with a brain injury. Developing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most pressing risks associated with a slip-and-fall scenario and is also a very common reason that victims require medical evaluation afterward.
Falls are a leading cause of TBIs
When people think about brain injuries, they might think about falls from an elevation and may ignore how dangerous a same-level fall like a slip-and-fall can actually be. Yes, falls from a significant elevation can lead to permanent injury or death in some cases, but no significant elevation is necessary to cause damage to the brain in a fall. Simply falling straight forward or backward and hitting one’s head could be sufficient to cause permanent or even fatal brain injuries. According to data from 2017 provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 17,500 people lost their lives that year because of brain injuries created by falls in the United States.
Thousands of others may have experienced significant brain injuries that didn’t cause their deaths but might lead to lasting limitations. Brain injuries produce symptoms that vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Some people develop issues with memory or their sense of balance. Others may have sensory changes, such as difficulty hearing or blurry vision. Motor function consequences and even changes in personality also have a strong association with TBIs.
Often, those very concerning symptoms won’t be obvious immediately and may only develop a few days after the initial injury occurs. The delayed onset of TBI symptoms makes it very important for those hurt in a public location to report the incident before leaving the store or business and to seek medical evaluation if they have any reason to think they may have hurt their brain.
A slip-and-fall incident may give rise to a premises liability claim that culminates in an insurance payout or possibly in personal injury litigation. Understanding the possible consequences after a slip-and-fall in public may help an accident victim or close loved one better understand why it may be necessary to take steps to seek compensation in the aftermath of sustaining harm.