Particularly in the winter, slip and fall accidents are quite common in New Jersey. They can happen in a parking lot, in a store, at other people’s homes, or just walking around outside.
An important thing to note about a slip and fall accident is that there is a duty of care the law requires of a property owner, business owner, or property occupant to maintain a safe environment for people.
Although in many cases, people who are injured in a slip and fall accident do not go immediately to see a doctor, often because they do not want the property owner to feel badly and they may well think the incident will just wind up leaving bruises in the affected area, everyone involved in a slip and fall accident should immediately be evaluated by a doctor.
Injuries are not always what they seem to be immediately, and getting treatment quickly may prevent more serious problems.
Why the Doctor’s Examination Matters
Some people have a high pain tolerance, and so the injury from a slip and fall accident will, at least in the beginning, feel as though it will have a minimal impact on the body. Perhaps it will feel like injuries that will result in a big bruise, not something serious.
However, even if it feels just like expected aches and pains from the fall, it might be far more serious.
For example, a person may mistake back pain for simple overexertion as the body tries to prevent a fall. It could be a herniated disk from the fall. However, the injured person will not know if this is the case unless a doctor’s examination leads to a diagnostic test, such as an X-ray.
Therefore, the first reason to go to the doctor following a slip and fall injury is for your own health; you need to know if something serious resulted from the accident.
The second and the third reason for you to get a doctor’s examination are financial. They are:
- Injuries require medical attention, and it is likely you will lose time at work. An established reason for absence or taking sick leave, literally a note from the doctor for your employer, will maintain your job while you are recovering.
- Paying for medical care and covering that lost income are possible by either filing a property liability suit against the business owner or filing a personal injury claim with their insurance carrier.
If you choose to file suit for the injury, the doctor’s record will clearly establish what date and time you were seen, and the nature of the injuries. The immediate evaluation is helpful to the court because otherwise, the injuries could be from something else and the accident may be regarded as a fabrication.
If you seek to file a claim through the insurance of the property or business owner, the same thing really applies. Establishing a record of what the injury or injuries were, and the recommended treatment, is going to provide information the insurance company will need to come up with a settlement figure.
Types of Injuries from a Slip and Fall Accident
There are a number of serious injuries to keep in mind following a slip and fall accident. First on that list is head injuries.
Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are often disguised problems because they are below the skin. However, a few telltale signs indicate that a brain injury may have occurred from the accident:
All these symptoms should provide incentive to get to a doctor immediately. It does not have to be at your primary care physician if that doctor is not available. You can also go to an emergency room or an urgent care center. The point is to get the injury diagnosed right away and start a plan on how to treat it. History and countless stories of injured football players and boxers suffering from undiagnosed head injuries has taught us that if you have any of those symptoms, you need to see a doctor.
It is important to note that a slip and fall accident can impact far more than your head. Here are a few other injuries to keep in mind following a slip and fall accident:
- Spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury can lead to permanent paralysis, temporary paralysis, neurological or sensory impairments, and even death.
According to online safety information resource SafeWise, slip and fall accidents are responsible for about 25 percent of spinal cord injuries in the United States. For people aged 65 and older, most spinal cord injuries are caused by a slip and fall accident.
- Back injuries, including fractured vertebrae, slipped disks, herniated disks. These are back injuries that can cause significant pain and limited mobility. Serious fractures may cause difficulty walking and difficulty moving arms and legs. Some severe injuries may require surgery.
- Neck injuries. This may be as simple as muscles that tensed to prevent the fall while the person was falling; it could be muscle spasms from overexertion during a fall; or it could be as serious as a spinal injury, which could mean paralysis.
- Shoulder injuries. Slip and fall injuries can result in shoulder dislocation, torn nerves, and collarbone breaks.
In less serious injuries, for which surgery is not needed, there will still be need for regular medical treatment. Often, doctors will recommend physical or occupational therapy or both, for the patient to regain strength and recuperate from the injury. For more serious injuries, such as severe vertebral fractures, the patient may be immobilized or wear a back brace to limit movement, as movement will be painful and difficult.
Mount Laurel Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Help Clients Injured in Slip and Fall Accidents
If you or a loved one has been in a slip and fall accident, it is important to see a doctor to be examined for injuries. Also, reach out to the Mount Laurel slip and fall lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Our legal team will investigate the cause of your accident and be your advocate to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us at 856-751-2345 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Mount Laurel and surrounding areas.