The medical bills related to slip-and-fall injuries total over $50 billion a year in the United States alone. Government programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, shoulder about 75 percent of these expenses.
There are other costs as well. Among younger victims, falls are the leading cause of missed days from work. Among older victims, falls usually mean loss of independence. Most of these victims either live in nursing homes or with full-time caregivers for the rest of their lives. Some of the most serious fall-related injuries are discussed below.
A Lexington personal injury attorney can obtain compensation for these economic and noneconomic losses. Generally, slip-and-fall injury claims settle out of court and on victim-friendly terms.
Typically, property owners are legally responsible for fall injuries if they owed a legal duty to the victim and the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazard which caused the fall. Most property owners have a duty of reasonable care in these situations. Victims must prove actual knowledge, or constructive knowledge (should have known), by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
An awkward fall or landing usually causes a ligament tear in a joint like the knee. ACL and MCL tears usually take many months to heal. During this time, victims are essentially immobile. Evening walks, playing with grandchildren, and other things that make life more enjoyable are a thing of the past.
Knee dislocations are common as well, especially if the victim has a pre-existing condition. These patella dislocations usually require reconstructive surgery. Young people can usually bounce back from such procedures, but older people often cannot.
Incidentally, insurance companies usually cannot use pre-existing conditions to reduce or deny compensation in these cases. The eggshell skull rule basically says that defendants must take victims as they find them.
Sometimes, the fall itself causes these injuries. This area of the body is not designed to absorb the impact of a fall. Other times, the reaction to a fall causes these injuries. As victims fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. Such unusual and sudden movements often damage nerves in the brachial plexus bundle of nerves beneath the shoulders. Typically, these injuries are permanent.
These injuries are incredibly painful and incredibly difficult to surgically correct. As a result, many of these victims become addicted to opioid painkillers. Such addiction could give rise to a separate legal action against the doctor who wrote the prescription, the drug company that manufactured the medicine, or the transportation company that shipped it to the pharmacy.
The spine is not a long, single bone. Instead, it’s basically a chain of smaller bones. Any unusual force typically knocks these bones out of alignment. The resulting disruption of nerve pathways could result in permanent paralysis or even death.
Pinched nerves and herniated discs are common as well. When these bones crack, the soft material inside them leaks out and places pressure on the nerve. If the crack or break is too large, the disc herniates. These injuries are incredibly painful and always significantly impede mobility. Pretty much all activities, even things like standing and sitting, become almost impossible to perform.
Serious Abrasions and Cuts
These injuries are usually not as bad in falls as they are in vehicle collisions and some other incidents. Generally, however, the facial abrasions are large contact burns that usually don’t heal very quickly or very well.
Abrasions on the hips, knees, back, and other parts of the body are even more common. They’re also a bit more serious. Until they heal, these injuries usually limit mobility. And as mentioned, these wounds often heal very slowly.
Victims often sprain their wrists when, as mentioned above, they extend their arms to break their falls. Older victims with gait disorders often sprain their ankles. When these individuals stumble, they usually fall. That’s because any irregular step causes them to land awkwardly.
Sprains, much like abrasions, must normally heal on their own. In the meantime, most victims cannot button their shirts or walk normally. Furthermore, sprains are usually even more painful than breaks. These factors significantly add to the amount of noneconomic damages available in these cases.
These injuries normally happen when, as is often the case, victims fall on their sides. The impact usually either crushes the hip bone or knocks the cup-and-socket joint out of place. Either injury basically immobilizes victims. In extreme cases, victims often need invasive and risky hip implants in order to regain their mobility.
These wounds are by far the most common, and most serious, slip-and-fall-related injuries in Kentucky.
The other injuries on this list usually heal, given time and treatment. But head injuries are always permanent. Once brain cells die, they do not regenerate.
Although head injuries are permanent, the symptoms are not. Brain injury physical therapists can train uninjured parts of the brain to assume lost functions. This kind of physical therapy is a long and winding road. Attorneys must advocate for victims in these situations, Otherwise, the insurance company will most likely cut off funding before victims reach their maximum medical improvement.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters. #goodelawyers