Years of cartoons and comedies have left the average person with a distorted idea about the danger involved in a slip-and-fall incident. Contrary to what you've seen in movies or on television, slipping and falling unexpectedly is often anything but humorous. While those who are past retirement age are often at increased risk for severe slip-and-fall injuries, anyone can end up hurt after stumbling down.
Even if consumers take steps to avoid slipping, poorly maintained facilities still pose risks to the public. There's a reason that New Jersey law requires business managers and property owners to maintain safe facilities. People going about their lawful business have the right to safely move through a building, across a parking lot or down a sidewalk. Failing to maintain dry floors, remove ice and snow and address similar maintenance issues can leave workers or customers at risk of injuries — or in severe cases — death.
Broken bones, brain injuries common in slip-and-falls
Some of the most common injuries associated with slip-and-fall accidents are fractured bones and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), e.g., concussions.
Falls are responsible for approximately 87 percent of fractures in those age 65 or greater. In fact, falls are the second most common cause of both spinal and brain injuries. Of course, slipping doesn't only happen to people of a certain age. Anyone can end up falling down because of slick, wet or cluttered floors.
When falls occur, the potential for injury is very real. People who are falling often attempt to brace themselves for the impact. This instinctive behavior frequently results in broken arms, collarbones and shoulders. Hitting furniture, merchandise or fixtures during a fall can also result in broken limbs.
It's also quite common for people who can't break their falls themselves and those who fall backward to strike their heads on the floor, nearby objects or walls. That type of blow can cause TBIs where the injured parties can suffer permanent damage and no longer be able to work and enjoy the same social activities.
Always report slip-and-falls
If you get hurt in a slip-and-fall at work or in a business or property owned by someone else, immediately report what happened to the manager or business owner. If this incident occurred in a parking lot or an adjacent sidewalk, go inside (or send someone, if you can't move) to report what happened.
Even in cases where you don't have an obvious injury but hit your head, make sure to make a timely report. The symptoms of a TBI can manifest anywhere from hours to weeks after your fall. If you struck your head or blacked out for even a second, reporting the accident can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve if the injury later develops into something more serious.