Have you recently been embarrassed for falling in a Pennsylvania grocery store? You might since have realized that you hurt much more than your pride. Slip-and-fall accidents can cause a variety of injuries that only become evident after one or more days. You might have noticed a restriction in your range of motion along with pain and discomfort in some areas of your body. These pains are your body's way of telling you to go for a medical examination.
Although there might be no reason for concern, slip-and-fall injuries could cause long-term health problems, and early diagnosis and prompt treatment could prevent such consequences. Whether your fall resulted from tripping over an object or slipping on a wet floor, the legal term for both is a slip-and-fall accident. However, although regarded the same legally, the types of injuries they cause are entirely different. If you slip, you would typically fall backward, while tripping over something will cause you to fall forward.
Common slip-and-fall injuries
Along with the direction in which someone falls, as well as his or her age, many other factors influence the extent and nature of someone's injuries, and, sometimes, these falls can change a victim's life forever. The following are painful injuries that you might suffer if you trip or slip and fall:
- Knee injuries: Your knees bear your weight, and any knee injury can cause pain with every step you take. When you trip and fall forward, the impact of your knees on a hard surface or your attempt to prevent the fall could damage the cartilage and ligaments or dislocate your knee.
- Fractured bones: If you grab onto something like a banister or railing to stop your fall, you might end up with a fractured arm or wrist. However, falling directly onto your buttocks could cause a hip fracture and the same can happen if you fall sideways. Older people seldom manage to live independently after a hip fracture.
- Shoulder injuries: An injury to the rotator cuff -- which ensures your upper arm's ball joint sits securely in the shoulder socket -- can cause severe problems. If you strain, sprain or tear the rotator cuff, raising your arm and any other arm movement can cause excruciating pain.
- Back and neck injuries: Like car accidents, falls can cause a whiplash movement of your neck and head, which could cause injuries that lead to tingling and numbness in your hands and arms, headaches, neck pain and reduced range of motion. If you injure your lower back in a fall, you might experience similar problems in your feet, legs and buttocks, and this might indicate a compression fracture or a herniated disc that could cause chronic pain.
- Spinal cord injuries: The same whiplash motion during a fall could damage the spinal cord. If this happens to you, the damage might be permanent, requiring high-cost care for life.
- Traumatic brain injuries: A backward fall can cause your head to strike a hard object or surface, causing traumatic brain injuries. These injuries could range from a concussion to a permanent brain injury that leaves you with cognitive impairment, and a TBI could even be fatal.
Your legal options
If a medical examination indicates that you suffered injuries when you fell to the ground in a store, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit against the business. This is a complicated field of the law, and the skills of an experienced Pennsylvania premises liability attorney might be necessary for the navigation of the legal proceedings. The lawyer can provide support and guidance throughout, starting with the first hurdle of establishing negligence and determining whom to name as defendants in your pursuit to recover financial and emotional damages.