When you’re strolling along, minding your own business, the last thing you expect is to wind up flat on your back with searing pain in your head, neck, or back. However, slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere at any time, putting you at risk for serious and even life-threatening injuries.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict when a slip and fall accident will occur. It’s also extremely difficult to catch yourself in mid-fall. This is why it’s important to have an understanding of what a slip and fall can do to you—both physically as well as financially.
Slip and Fall Costs
Slip and fall injuries vary depending on several factors (height of fall, weight, age, etc). These factors can also play a part in how severe an injury is—a sprained ankle for a 20-year-old may be far less of an impediment than a sprained ankle for a 70-year-old. However, no matter how small the accident is, or how painful the injury is, it’s important to know that even minor accidents can cause injuries that may require medical attention.
The most common injuries from a trip, slip, or fall include:
- Pulled muscles. When you feel yourself fall, your natural reaction is to brace yourself for impact. Unfortunately, this reflex causes you to tense your muscles and contort your limbs, which can result in painful pulled and stretched muscles and tendons.
- Sprained or broken wrists, ankles, and knees. Your joints are always the most susceptible places for injury, as they have little stability protection. Unfortunately, your wrists, ankles, and knees are also the joints that you use most often to catch yourself in a fall. When you feel yourself go down, you reach out your hands to stop your face from hitting the ground, or you bend your knees so they take the impact. Either way, the majority of the impact force is placed on your fragile joints, causing them to become sprained, dislocated, or broken.
- Fractured collarbones. When you fall face-first, the impact force exerted on your chest can cause your collarbone to snap or shatter.
- Bruised or chipped tailbones. Similar to effects an impact has on your collarbone, when you fall backward the force of the fall will be exerted on the first thing the ground comes in contact with—usually, your bottom and lower back. This impact can cause your tailbone to chip, and the residual force could travel up the tailbone and cause spinal injury.
- Spinal cord injuries. Another issue when falling on your back is the possibility that the impact force may travel up your spinal cord. Depending on the force of the fall, vertebrae can chip, break, or become compressed, causing permanent damage to the spinal column or the spinal cord.
- Head and brain trauma. Any fall’s force has the potential to cause head injuries. Since your neck isn’t rigid, when you fall it acts like a whip, displacing force toward your skull. This means that even if you catch yourself an inch from the ground, your neck will allow your head to continue toward it without protection. This action can not only cause horrible whiplash, but it could cause skull fractures, bruising, and brain damage.
Although none of these injuries are guaranteed to happen in a slip and fall accident, they all have the potential to occur, and they all have the potential to cost you pain, money, and stress. Medical treatment for these injuries can be extremely expensive and last weeks, months or even longer. So, the next time you go for a walk, make sure you stay alert to your surroundings. Otherwise, you may need to contact us for support and guidance to help you recover from serious injuries.