Some people joke that you can tell how old someone is by a stranger’s reaction if they slip and fall in public. When a child or a young adult falls, people will often find the circumstances humorous. However, when someone reaches a certain age, strangers in public will react with fear if they see that individual fall.
While it certainly is true that those over a certain age are at elevated risk of having adverse medical outcomes in a slip-and-fall scenario, serious injuries can occur at any age. When you understand the kinds of injuries that develop in a slip-and-fall, you might start to treat anyone who slips with caution and consideration instead of finding the incident humorous.
What serious medical issues can people develop if they experience a slip-and-fall in public?
Although it may only be a fall at the same level, the momentum someone develops on the way to the ground, especially if they aren’t able to slow themselves with their arms, could be enough to cause significant injury to the head.
People who hit their heads on the floor or on nearby fixtures or furniture when they fall can develop traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). A TBI can affect many different areas of your life, from your personality to your sense of equilibrium. The symptoms from a TBI can slowly get worse over time if someone does not receive proper medical attention after they fall.
While falling without catching yourself can lead to a major injury, so can trying to brace yourself on the way down. People can easily break their arms when they fall, especially if they are older adults or they have underlying medical conditions that affect their bone density.
A broken bone might mean hospital bills. In extreme cases, people may require surgery. Adults may also need to take weeks off of work until they fully recover. In rare cases, broken bones can lead to infections, blood loss or the development of rare nerve disorders that cause increasing pain and diminished strength over time.
You never know the exact extent of an injury until a doctor looks you over, which is why it is important to see report a slip-and-fall at the store when it happens. If a doctor confirms you have a serious injury later, your decision to report the fall will help you connect with premises liability insurance coverage and protect your right to make a claim.
Understanding the possible consequences of a slip-and-fall can help you treat these incidents with the seriousness they deserve.