worker man lying on staircase after slip and fall accident

Understanding the Physical and Emotional Damages Associated with a Slip and Fall Accident​

Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, whether it be at your local grocery store, apartment complex, on a cruise ship or place of employment. In fact, recent studies have shown that slip and fall accidents are the primary cause of work-related accidents. The reasons for slip and fall accidents include a number of factors, including, but not limited to uneven flooring, poor lighting, cluttered walkways, or slippery surfaces. Regardless of how the accident happens, the damage resulting from the fall can be painful and costly. A slip and fall can result in significant physical injuries, including broken bones, spinal cord damage, and head trauma. On top of that, emotional and psychological damage can be incurred, as well. Physical Damages from Slip and Falls Physical injuries resulting from a slip and fall can range from minor to severe, depending on the circumstances surrounding the fall. Common physical injuries from slip and falls include:
  • Bruises, abrasions, and cuts: Some of the more minor slip and fall accidents will result in bruises, scrapes, and cuts. Most of these cuts and bruises are minor and do not require medical attention, but sometimes, they can be severe and require stitches or other medical procedures to treat them.
  • Sprains: Another common physical ailment resulting from a slip and fall is a sprain. These sprains normally occur on the ankle or wrist. Think about it: when you fall, your instinct is to extend your arm to protect yourself from the fall. The problem is, when you land, your body weight and the impact from the fall will put significant strain on your wrist, which will lead to a sprain that will require medical attention.
  • Broken bones: Slip and falls often result in broken bones, which always require medical treatment. Depending on how serious the injury is, the area may need to be immobilized for months, and in some circumstances, surgery may need to be performed to fully repair the break.
  • Stretched tendons and pulled muscles: When a fall happens, your body’s first instinct is to protect the body and prepare for impact. To do this, the body will usually tense the muscles to prepare for the fall. Also, many people will stretch, twist, or contort their bodies in unusual ways to break their fall. All of these movements and this additional tension can lead to a tendon or muscle to either pull or stretch, which can be a painful injury that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Head injuries: Slip and fall accidents can result in head injuries, which can be extremely serious if not treated immediately. Head injuries may lead to chronic headaches, dizziness, or even nausea. All of these symptoms could be signs of a concussion or other serious head injury. If you have fallen and struck your head, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Neck injuries: Neck injuries can also be quite common when it comes to slip and fall accidents. Symptoms of a serious neck injury can include numbness or tingling in the arms or hands, pain or soreness in the neck, neck spasms, as well as pain in the shoulder or neck.
  • Back injuries: Neck and head injuries are not the only types of physical damage sustained in a slip and fall. Back injuries are quite common given the impact from the fall. Symptoms of back injuries include pain in the arm or back area, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, and muscle weakness or loss of sensation in the arms or legs.
  • Arm injuries: When falling, many people will use their arms to break their falls, which is why arm injuries are common results from slip and fall accidents. Common arm injuries include sprained or fractured wrists, damage to the elbows or shoulders, and fractured or broken bones.
  • Leg injuries: Leg injuries also commonly result from slip and fall accidents and can include sprained or fractured knees or ankles, as well as pulled muscles or tendons.
Emotional Damages from Slip and Fall Accidents Physical injuries are not the only kind of damage sustained in a slip and fall accident. A great deal of emotional anguish and stress can come along with these types of accidents. Much of this emotional damage is directly tied to the physical injuries sustained. Approximately one-third of all slip and fall accidents result in serious physical injuries that require hospitalization, as well as rehabilitation, and extended recovery periods. The physical suffering that comes along with these injuries, as well as discomfort and immobility, can lead to depression and anxiety. The additional financial strain that comes with medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the fall can further exacerbate this emotional distress. Unfortunately, the psychological or emotional effects of a slip and fall injury do not always show up immediately. In fact, as soon as the accident occurs, the injured person may be in a state of shock, and still in “fight or flight” mode, unaware of the emotional effects to come. In some of the more serious slip and fall accidents, it is quite common for injured victims to experience delayed emotional trauma months or even years after the accident occurred. Many of these emotional injuries include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), difficulty coping with day-to-day tasks due to new physical limitations relating to the person’s physical injuries, or the fear of falling again. Common psychological disorders associated with sustaining a slip and fall include anxiety, depression, trauma, and PTSD. Left untreated, the emotional damage associated with the fall and injuries can be quite serious and debilitating, making the recovery process even more difficult for the injured party. How to Cope with the Physical and Emotional Effects of a Slip and Fall Accident First, the injured party needs to seek immediate medical care as soon as the accident occurs. Not only will this treat the person’s injuries, but it will also document the status of the injury for legal purposes. Following treatment, it is important that the injured party closely follow all doctor’s orders for managing pain or discomfort, as well as what needs to be done in terms of physical rehabilitation. If the injury is severe, physical therapy for an extended period may be necessary for the person to fully recover. It is important that those orders be followed. In terms of emotional needs, the injured party needs to take advantage of all available resources, including therapy or counseling services. While it can be tempting to go alone in terms of dealing with depression and anxiety relating to the injury, there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help. These resources are available for a reason. It is important that the injured victim have a support system in place of people he or she can trust, such as family members or friends, to not only help with physical needs but also to talk to when things get tough. Most importantly, it is imperative that the injured person prioritize his or her physical and emotional needs after sustaining a slip and fall. They need to stay on top of their medical needs, as well as their psychological needs, throughout the entire recovery process. When Should Someone Seek Help after a Slip and Fall? Many people who have been injured in a slip and fall accident think that they can handle their medical and psychological needs alone, but eventually, the time comes when professional help is needed. It helps to recognize the signs of needing this help, which include the following:
  • The injured victim sustained a severe injury or resulting disability due to the slip and fall.
  • The slip and fall were caused by unsafe conditions on another person’s property.
  • The medical bills and other expenses associated with their injuries exceed their health insurance coverage and/or personal financial resources.
  • The person is experiencing emotional distress or trauma from the slip and fall accident; and/or
  • The injured party’s insurance provider has denied coverage for his or her claim or offers inadequate financial resources or settlement amount to pay for damages.
When is Legal Assistance Needed for a Slip and Fall Injury? If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it may be time to seek legal assistance to help with your damages. An attorney who is experienced in personal injury law associated with slip and falls can assist in recovering compensation for your physical and/or emotional damages. The attorney will be able to sit down with the injured person and review the specific details of the case, making sure to determine what potential claims may be available, as well as what defenses should be anticipated. A personal injury attorney will also be able to review the claim and assess any third-party liability claims that may be made, preparing evidence that will help the injured party prove fault in the accident. Many slip and fall claims are settled outside of the courtroom, and if a business or other entity is the at-fault party, it should be expected that the other side will have legal counsel. By having an attorney on your side, he or she can provide representation during settlement negotiations and any potential court proceedings, protecting your legal interests. They know what evidence is needed to successfully win a claim and have the professional network available to them to gather resources or evidence related to the case. An attorney will also know what damages are possible for your specific claim, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is extremely important that you sit down with an attorney to discuss your legal rights.  The sooner you do this the better.  Important evidence (such as photos and video surveillance footage) must be obtained quickly to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
As experienced Miami slip and fall accident lawyers, we understand Florida’s slip-and-fall laws and how to hold businesses accountable for our client’s injuries, lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. If you have suffered a slip and fall at a grocery store, restaurant or retail store in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, The Keys or anywhere in the State of Florida it is critically important for you to consult with an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer who will fight to protect your legal rights. When selecting a lawyer- ask them about their qualifications and experience in claims against grocery stores, retailers, and restaurants. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer and our firm, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has successfully represented people and their families in slip and fall claims across the country since 1991. Call us today for a free initial consultation 1-888-742-0372 or email [email protected] and speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your potential claim.