Slip-and-falls often don’t receive the respect they deserve. People may chuckle under their breath when they see someone else lose their balance or may feel profound embarrassment when they are the ones to fall in a public space.
If you were to fall in a store, your embarrassed reaction could lead to a big mistake. Instead of carefully evaluating yourself for injury and filing a formal report with the manager on duty, you may have brushed yourself off, looked around yourself sheepishly and then gone on with your day. It could be later in the afternoon or maybe several days after your slip-and-fall that you realize you actually hurt yourself.
What are the potentially serious injuries that people can develop because of a slip-and-fall in a public place?
Soft tissue injuries
It is natural for people to flail around when they lose their balance. As you slip, you will try to catch yourself or brace on the way down to absorb some of the impact. Those abrupt motions and the force of gravity can cause soft tissue injuries in your arms, back, neck or shoulders.
While soft tissue injuries often resolve on their own over time, you may have extreme pain, possibly starting the day after your fall, and you may not be able to work until your symptoms subside.
Pulling a muscle or damaging the connective tissue is far from the worst thing you could do when trying to stop yourself mid-fall. You can break a bone. Breaking up an arm or a leg because you throw your arms to the side or kick on the way down is common.
Especially for older adults who fall to the side, there could be a risk of a hip fracture as well. Broken bones can also mean weeks off of work and hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars in medical care costs.
Traumatic brain injuries
If you don’t try to stop yourself on the way to the floor, you might hit your head, causing swelling or bleeding on the brain. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) could cause lifelong symptoms in a worst-case scenario.
Those symptoms vary from issues with memory to changes in personality and sensory perception. Delayed symptoms are common with brain injuries, as the brain will need to continue bleeding until the pressure creates more serious symptoms.
One of the best ways to protect your right to make an insurance claim later is to notify someone before leaving a business after a slip-and-fall. It is also usually advisable to seek medical evaluation as soon as is reasonable so that there is a clear connection between your fall and your diagnosis. Learning more about the possible injuries in a slip-and-fall can help you treat an incident with the seriousness it demands.