A Closer Look at Slip-and-Fall Injuries

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2020 | Injuries, Premises Liability

The direct costs of non-fatal fall injuries total an average of $19 billion a year. The indirect expenses, such as lost work and other damages not easily measured in dollars and cents, cost much more. Frequently, while victims struggle to recover from their injuries, insurance adjusters seemingly call constantly, demanding settlement. It’s tempting to take the offer and try to move on. But most victims simply do not know if the proposal is fair or not.

A Lexington personal injury attorney takes care of this immediate need. A lawyer does more than stand up for you in court. A lawyer also runs interference with the insurance company. So, you can focus on getting better. In the long run, as outlined below, an attorney builds a compelling case for financial compensation. That’s the best way, and maybe the only way, to fully recover from a fall injury.

Physical Injuries

Head injuries are usually the most serious fall-related injuries. Although these wounds are treatable, they are also permanent. Once brain cells die, they never regenerate. 

Fall-related head injuries are often difficult to diagnose, especially if the victim was an older adult. Frequently, doctors ascribe symptoms like confusion and disorientation to shock from the fall or even early onset dementia. As a result, these victims often do not get the treatment they need until their injuries reach more advanced stages.

Generally, falls also cause serious broken bones. Frequently, these injuries never completely heal. Fall victims usually feel the lingering effects of these injuries for the rest of their lives.

 

Emotional Injuries

Physical fall injuries are only the beginning. Roughly 90 percent of fall injury victims experience symptoms like:

  • Anger,
  • Depression,
  • Fear,
  • Stress, and
  • Flashbacks.

These emotional injuries often fuel a downward spiral. Many fall victims are so afraid of falling again that they essentially become invalids. As their bones and muscles atrophy, they ironically face a higher risk of a repeat fall.

Obtaining Compensation

Legal responsibility and knowledge of the hazard are the two pillars of a fall claim against a property owner.

Kentucky law uses a classification system based on common law to determine legal responsibility, as follows:

  • Invitees: These individuals have permission to be on the land and their presence benefits owners in a financial or nonfinancial way. Most shoppers, paid guests, and social guests are invitees. In these situations, owners have a duty of care to make the premises reasonably safe.
  • Licensees: These individuals have permission to be on the land, but there is no benefit. Guests of apartment tenants are usually licensees. In these situations, owners must warn about any latent (hidden) property defects.
  • Trespassers: These individuals have no permission to be on the land and there is no benefit. Stories of injured burglars who successfully sued homeowners for personal injury damages are mostly urban legends.

Next, victim/plaintiffs must prove the owner knew about the wet spot or other hazard which caused the fall. A few claims feature direct evidence of actual knowledge, such as a restroom cleaning report or a “cleanup on Aisle Four” announcement.

Most slip-and-fall claims feature circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known). This proof usually involves the time-notice rule. Picture a banana peel on the floor. If the peel was yellow, it probably fell recently, so there is no constructive knowledge. But if the peel was black and had been on the floor for more than a few minutes, someone should have picked it up. So, there is constructive knowledge.

The Recovery Process

Most slip-and-fall victims never completely recover from their emotional and physical injuries. But there are some ways, beyond physical therapy, which make these injuries easier to deal with.

Yoga is an excellent way to build muscle tone and add flexibility. If regular yoga is not an option, chair and underwater yoga classes are usually available.

As for the mental effects, many fall victims recover if they stick to established routines, such as walking the dog around the block in daylight. Also understand that it’s natural to be afraid of another fall. But it’s not natural to let that fear control your life.

Fall victims must often deal with lifelong injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act.