Slip and Fall Injuries

By Peter DePaolis

Seeing someone slip and fall on an icy sidewalk may make for a funny home video, but slip and fall injuries are no laughing matter. While some people do pick themselves up after a fall and walk away unharmed, some experience injuries that are long-term and costly. When the fall occurs on someone else’s property, the owner may be liable for your injuries.

Different segments of the population, mainly children and the elderly, are more susceptible to slip and fall injuries. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that as much as 50 percent of all traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases in children 14-years-old and below are from slip and fall accidents.

Different Types of Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall cases fit into three categories:

  • Slip and fall – the floor surface fails to support the surface of the shoe and the walker’s center of gravity
  • Step and fall – the walker steps in a hole in the surface
  • Stump and fall – the foot meets an obstacle in the surface that impedes the foot
  • Trip and fall – there is a foreign object in the walker’s path

The slip and fall accident is generally most common. Injuries are less serious when falling on a fleshy part of the body. However, injuries may be more severe if a bony part of the body strikes the surface. Slip and fall victims have suffered injuries as serious as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and in the worst cases, death.

After a slip and fall, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Head, neck or back pain
  • Difficulty in focusing your eyes
  • Vomiting or extreme sleepiness
  • Difficulty in walking.

All of the above could signal a serious head or neck injury.

There is a relatively short statute of limitations for most slip and fall accidents. This means you have a limited amount of time to seek compensation for your injuries. That period is even shorter if the negligent party is a governmental or municipal entity. A Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney can tell you more about your legal rights.

If you experience any pain after a slip and fall, consult a doctor for an examination and x-rays. Also, take a photograph of the surface immediately after the incident. Almost everyone carries cell phones equipped with cameras, so instant photographs are possible. When you contact a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer, the pictures will help him or her assess your claim.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.