Q What should I do to protect myself if I injured my spine in a slip and fall accident?
Accidents happen all the time; one minute you’re admiring the workmanship of the USS Orleck and attentively listening to the tour guide discuss her voyages. The next thing you know you’re flat on your back because you didn’t pay attention to the deck’s “Caution: Slippery When Wet” sign. In some cases that moment could just simply be a hilarious anecdote your friends tell at parties, or a funny YouTube video you hope no one sees. Depending on how hard you land, that moment could alter your life forever.
An estimated 10 million people a year suffer from slip and fall injuries—with nearly 25,000 fatalities annually. This results in falling accidents being rated the second leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States. Falls are also responsible for over 40 percent of all traumatic spinal cord injuries, making them an extremely hazardous accident to have, especially if you could have avoided it.
The following preventative measures can help you avoid hazardous slip and falls:
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Do not drag your feet
- Remove tripping hazards—paper, boxes, toys, clothes, shoes—from stairs and walkways
- Periodically check the condition of walkways and steps, repairing any damages immediately
- Clean up all spills immediately
Precautions During an Accident
Sometimes tripping and/or falling is unavoidable—you just can’t help it. However, once you’ve fallen you can stop yourself and others from making any injuries worse. Before attempting to move you should always follow necessary accident protocols:
- Access the damage – Identify where any injuries may be and where they hurt.
- Don’t attempt to move if it hurts or any part of your body is numb – Spinal swelling or bruising could have occurred and any additional movement could make it worse.
- Call for help – If you can’t move or are worried that you have seriously injured your back—call for emergency help.
Precautions After a Slip and Fall
Slip and fall injuries are not only painful, but they can also be extremely expensive. Spinal cord injuries alone can cause debilitating complications. The average cost of treatment for a spinal cord injury can range from $300,000 to several million throughout your lifetime. This is why it is extremely important that you take proper steps to be able to manage your injury as well as pay all your expenses. After a fall it is recommended that you go over your insurance benefits and contact a certified spinal cord injury lawyer.
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