No one likes feeling like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, but there are some injuries no one should try to walk off. It is no matter of toughness or pain tolerance, just that certain traumas can get worse very quickly without immediate medical attention, and may not even be noticeable without it — until it is too late. More than anything, this advice refers to any sort of head injury, whether the cause is a car accident or a slip-and-fall at the grocery store. Traumatic brain injuries happen easier than one may think, which means simply shaking off slipping on a wet floor can have severe and possibly fatal consequences.
An abundance of caution is always the best way to go, even if you feel fine, and one should never assume a relatively minor accident like a slip-and-fall can only cause minor injuries, because this could not be further from the truth.
How dangerous slip-and-falls can actually be
When people think about slip-and-falls, they commonly think of slipping on icy sidewalks or wet linoleum. While they are not wrong, the umbrella encompasses a much wider range of incidents. Unsafe or improperly managed conditions can lead to a multitude of possible dangers, and all of them would qualify if they result in someone falling and injuring themselves. Some dangerous conditions that increase the risk of falls include:
- Broken stairs
- Missing or improperly-secured handrails
- Uneven and/or cracked sidewalks or pavement
- Spilled goods, such as produce or cans
- Wet or slippery floors
- Dim or otherwise inadequate lighting
- Torn carpeting
- Snow or ice
- Wet leaves
These accidents happen suddenly and usually too quickly for the victim to react, especially if more than one of these conditions are present at the same time. If they do not take the victim’s life, the victim may still suffer injuries such as:
- Spinal cord and other back and neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
There is not much that separates injuries sustained after a fall from injuries sustained after a serious car accident, and the same amount of caution should be applied, for the safety of yourself and those around you. Remember that the danger is not only what you slip on and how far you fall, but also what you may hit on the way down.
Take any head injury seriously
Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. More specifically, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries that require hospitalization, which means any time you hit your head following a fall, you should seek medical attention. Many concussions are minor and heal up with no adverse, long-term effects, but many more are not, and do not. Traumatic brain injuries, especially those that are not treated quickly or adequately enough, can lead to a lifetime of pain and hardship, including:
- Impaired cognitive function
- Memory loss
- Partial paralysis
- Loss of balance
- Language impairment
- Emotional problems
- Post-traumatic epilepsy
Sometimes, though, people are not lucky enough to have lifelong hardships because their brain injuries lead to fatal outcomes. Bob Saget famously and tragically died after hitting his head (reason unknown) and opting to go to sleep instead of seeking help. Medical experts theorize he may have felt confused or disoriented after his fall, and his impaired judgment made him think rest was all he needed. This sort of tragedy happens more often than one may think, which is why assuming you are fine is such a dangerous move.
Indeed, some minor head injuries can be slept off (though you should still consult with a doctor to make sure), but if you notice any of the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one, get to an emergency room as quickly as possible:
- Any lack of consciousness, no matter how brief
- Any memory issues, especially surrounding the accident
- Experience any bleeding
- Feel nauseated and/or actively vomit
- Have trouble balancing
- Notice a persistent headache over the next few days
- Notice unusual behavior following the incident
- Have any sort of discharge from the nose or ears
- Feel any sort of numbness, weakness, or dizziness
Ideally, you should not be alone in the days following a head injury. A trusted friend or family member should be monitoring your behavior and health, as victims of TBIs may simply not notice certain symptoms in themselves, especially if they are already forgetting information and failing to concentrate on normal tasks. If you are alone, you should not wait to notice any of these symptoms before seeking medical help for the same reason. No matter how educated or self-aware you are, this is one mistake you do not want to make.
Alongside taking care of your physical health, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury after a slip-and-fall on any property that is not your own, you may want to consider finding legal representation. Depending on the severity of the accident, your injuries may require years of expensive therapies and treatments, and you should not have to pay for them due to the negligence of another party. While you focus on recovering, let a premises liability attorney comb through the details of your case and work to get you the financial compensation you deserve.
The Oklahoma City premises liability attorneys at Cunningham & Mears have years of experience fighting for the rights of the injured public. We have seen it all and we know how to use it in your favor. Suffering a traumatic brain injury is bad enough; when it is due to a completely avoidable incident, the party responsible should be held accountable and made to pay. To learn more about how we help victims just like you, call us today at (405) 232-1212 or use our contact form.
Marcus P. Mears is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Mears is committed to helping Oklahoma’s injured victims in the areas of injury law and insurance litigation. Mr. Mears was selected to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for his work as lead counsel in multiple seven figure injury cases. Learn More