According to the National Floor Safety Institute, each year more than 8 million people make emergency room visits due to injuries they’ve suffered from falls, representing 21.3 percent of all ER visits. Of those 8 million ER visits, 1 million are due to slip and fall accidents. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 96 Texans died from a slip and fall accident.
The most common injury from a slip and fall accident is a fracture, which can often lead to a drastic change in lifestyle. Excluding fatalities, the most serious consequence is a traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a TBI. Trauma to the brain can result in reduced mental capacity, confusion, dizziness, nausea, migraines, and other serious symptoms.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a slip and fall and you live in the Houston or Harris County areas of Texas, contact the Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C. I will investigate the details of your case and work with you to obtain the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps track of workplace injury statistics, and slips, trips, and falls comprise the largest category each year.
A trip generally results from walking into an obstacle on the floor — whether it's a power cord, a loose carpet or mat, debris, or other forms of clutter. A slip, as the name implies, involves stepping onto something slippery on a floor or surface. These are generally caused by spills or natural elements like ice or snow.
Both slips and trips can result in the victim falling down. Slips often result in a backward fall, leading to potential head and brain injuries. OSHA recognizes two types of falls – those occurring on the same level surface, and those occurring on different levels, such as falling from scaffolding or down a flight of steps.
OSHA regulations, along with state laws, obligate employers and property owners to maintain conditions that are safe and free of obstacles and other unsafe conditions that can lead to slip-and-fall injuries. If these obligations are not met or otherwise neglected, the employers and property owners can be held liable for any resulting injuries.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
If you fall and hit your head, you can be subjected to a traumatic brain injury. The mildest form is known as a concussion. National Football League (NFL) players often suffer concussions from repeated collisions to the head, with many being medically sidelined for two weeks or more as symptoms are monitored.
If you strike your head on a surface after a fall, you may run the risk of suffering a potential traumatic brain injury, just like many NFL players do. However, if the symptoms persist, you may be facing something more than just a concussion. In any case, immediate medical evaluation and treatment is necessary.
Symptoms often fall into four major categories:
Ability to think and remember things clearly. You may find it difficult to think clearly or remember new information, or you may even feel slowed down or unable to fully concentrate.
Physical symptoms. You may experience headaches, fuzzy or blurred vision, dizziness, balance problems, and even nausea and vomiting.
Emotional symptoms and mood swings. Your mood may become sadder or more irritable, and you may feel more anxiety or nervousness.
Changes in sleep patterns. You may have trouble sleeping and finding yourself sleeping less, or you may even sleep more.
Some of these symptoms may appear right away, while others may take weeks or even months to surface. If you feel any of these symptoms after a fall, it’s important that you seek immediate medical attention. Go to the hospital’s emergency department immediately. In some cases, a blood clot that crowds the brain can develop, and this can be extremely dangerous.
Treatment often involves rest, medication, and potentially even surgery to remove pressure on the brain. During your recovery, you can suffer from lost wages and run up huge medical expenses, all of which can form the basis for a personal injury claim.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall
If you’re involved in a slip and fall incident whether at work, in a commercial setting, or even in someone else’s home, you should follow these steps:
Ask for help: Don’t shrug the incident off and just walk away. Instead, stay put and seek assistance.
Seek medical attention: You need to get a full medical examination as quickly as possible, even if you’re feeling little or no pain. Don’t wait for symptoms to arise, as this could make treatment more urgent or difficult.
Document everything: If possible, take photos of the scene and gather witness contact information so they can provide their account of the incident. When you get a chance, write everything down as you remember it. And be sure to keep copies of all medical records.
Report the incident: If you’re at work, you need to notify your employer of the incident in order to trigger a workers’ compensation claim. If you’re on non-work property, obtain the owner’s contact information and the insurance company’s name if possible.
Exert your legal rights: Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so you can begin to explore and exercise all of your legal rights.
Premises Liability and Property
In Texas, injuries sustained on another person’s property fall under what is called premises liability law, which places a “duty of care” responsibility on the property owner to maintain a safe and hazard-free environment. At the same time, however, someone injured on another’s property must prove that the owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition that caused the incident, and then neglected to do anything about it. This places a rather high burden on the claimant in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit.
When it comes to traumatic brain injury, a TBI can sometimes be harder to prove to an insurance company than a spine or bone injury, as these injuries can be shown on an MRI or X-ray. This can be another challenge you and your attorney might have to face.
How the Law Office of
Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C. Can Help
To navigate these legal hurdles, you need the help of an experienced Texas personal injury attorney. You also face a two-year window, known as a statute of limitations, to file your injury claim, so you want to exercise your legal rights as soon as possible and not wait until symptoms become severe or unbearable.
As an experienced personal injury attorney, I have been representing clients in Houston and Harris County for over three decades. I know the ins and outs of negotiating with insurance adjusters. I will help you explore all of your legal options and work to develop the best possible legal strategy aimed at helping you get the justice you deserve, even if it involves a lawsuit. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident, contact me at the Law Office of Joseph Onwuteaka, P.C. today to schedule a free case consultation.