Each year, thousands of Canadians are injured due to accidents in and outside the home. The financial cost of these accidents totals billions of dollars. But an accident victim’s true hardship is difficult to calculate. The long-term physical and mental consequences of a painful or debilitating injury can put an emotional and financial strain on victims, their families, and public services. The impact of an inability to work or enjoy life as a result of an accident can be immense.
A significant portion of accidents resulting in injury occurs when commercial or public property is unsafe. Slip and fall accidents often happen when owners or managers of a property fail to protect employees, customers, or visitors from safety risks. Slip and fall accidents often occur at grocery stores, retail stores, and gas stations. These hazardous conditions, called dangerous premises, can easily cause an avoidable slip and fall injury.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
1. Broken Bones
If you’ve ever broken a bone before, you know how painful it is. The sheer force of a slip and fall accident can result in one or more broken bones. Broken bones from slips and falls can occur almost anywhere on the body, with the wrists, arms, and hips often receiving the brunt of the impact. These accidents often result in stress or oblique fractures. Elderly victims are also at risk of compression or spiral fractures, especially if they have osteoporosis or some other skeletal disorder.
2. Head Injuries
Impacts to the skull resulting in fracture can be painful and constitute an immediate and sometimes dire emergency. Bleeding from the head can be profuse due to increased blood supply to the brain, putting the injured person at risk of blood loss. Head injuries can often result in concussions that can be difficult to detect through medical examination. Concussion symptoms may not appear until later, with effects ranging from subtle to severe. The long-term effects of head injuries and concussions can include headaches, blurred vision, and difficulty with concentration, thinking, and memory.
Head impacts caused by a slip and fall can result in brain bleeding and can require emergency medical care. Severe head injuries with or without brain bleeds can cause permanent brain damage called a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The effects of a TBI can be long-term or even permanent, and can result in physical or cognitive disability.
3. Neck Injuries
Neck injuries occur when the impact from a slip or fall damages the tissue of the neck. These can include injuries that affect soft tissues like ligaments, tendons, and muscles or hard tissues like the bones of the spine that connect to the base of the neck. Neck injuries are likely to occur when a slip and fall accident results in sudden and violent movement of the neck.
4. Cuts and Lacerations
Broken glass, exposed metal, and rough or uneven ground can all cause cuts and lacerations during a fall. Cuts can damage more than one’s appearance. In addition to infection risk, cuts can damage the soft tissue underneath, causing major damage when they are deep enough to strain or sever muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
5. Back and Spinal Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur as the result of forceful impact or attempts to brace oneself during a fall. Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can result immediately after a fall or develop over time with continued strain. Accident victims with SCI can have a wide range of symptoms including limited mobility, pain, and in some cases paralysis. The spine is segmented, by the vertebrae and the layer of sensitive tissue underneath, with each section controlling a different part of the body. Beyond pain and immobility, injuries to spinal regions can result in damage to systems that control bodily processes like urination, sexual function, and sense of touch.
6. Knee and Ankle Injuries
Knees and ankles are at risk during a slip and fall. Though the distance may not seem far, those who fall directly on their knees could suffer a patellar fracture of the kneecap. Common knee injuries also include ACL tears and sprains which are not only painful but can require surgery, taking months or even years for the joint to become fully functional again. Similar risks exist for ankles, which are surrounded by soft tissues with bone inside. Strains and ankle breaks are common during winter weather or on uneven ground.
7. Chronic Pain
If you are elderly, in poor health, or have difficulty healing due to diseases like diabetes, your injury may develop into chronic pain. Even the young and healthy can suffer an injury that turns into a long-term problem requiring treatment or worse: becomes something doctors can do little about. Doctors tell patients not to brush off chronic pain, especially from injury, because it can indicate a deeper problem. Slip and fall accident victims can be compensated for their injuries, including those that cause chronic pain.