A former Palm Beach realtor recently sought multi-million dollar damages related to a 2007 slip and fall incident. She suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.
So far, she has incurred over $670,000 in medical expenses alone, and the woman’s injuries have also rendered her unable to work.
This is one case that certainly demonstrates how a slip and fall accident can lead to life-changing injuries. So we want to take a closer look at how slips, trips, and falls like this can lead to traumatic brain injury.
We also want you to know how to tell if you’ve sustained this type of injury and the legal options you have to seek compensation for your injuries.
“I’m Not the Person I Was,” Says the Palm Beach Woman After Her Fall
The lawsuit alleges that an access ramp in a Palm Beach shopping plaza was painted causing slippery and unsafe conditions. The realtor claims this is what ultimately caused her accident.
Soon after the fall, she began experiencing severe headaches and body stiffness. In the end, medical professionals discovered that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury.
“I am not the person I was prior to this. I am not able to work or make a living,” she explained to jurors through tears. “I do not think well, I do not remember…I’m a different person, not productive, sort of worthless.”
Well, most of us slip, trip, and fall, occasionally. How did this particular incident result in something as severe as a traumatic brain injury?
How a Florida Slip and Fall Can Lead to Traumatic Brain Injury
When we do happen to fall, most of the time we are lucky enough to dust ourselves off and walk away, suffering little more than a bruised ego.
However, depending on conditions surrounding the fall, exactly how we land, and whether the fall took place from certain heights can quickly change the situation. Suddenly, unsafe and slippery conditions can wind up causing severe – or even fatal – injuries.
A severe slip that sends you flying backward and lands you flat on the ground can lead to serious brain injuries. Similarly, a fall from a height or down a flight of stairs can also involve head trauma.
Every year falls cause thousands of these devastating injuries, which are often fatal or leave victims severely disabled. In fact, falls are the leading cause of brain injuries. About 35% of all traumatic brain injuries are linked to this type of incident.
Watch for Traumatic Brain Injury Signs and Symptoms
Here’s the thing. You may not know that you’ve sustained a brain or spinal cord injury right away. Symptoms often appear days or even weeks after a slip and fall.
Still, if you’ve sustained a brain or spinal cord injury, timely medical attention is of utmost importance. This means that where there is any chance at all you’re injured from a fall, you should seek immediate medical attention.
In the days and weeks following the accident, be on the lookout for symptoms of a brain or spinal cord injury. As soon as you recognize any of the following, seek medical advice.
Physical Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes
- Feeling dazed, confused or disoriented
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sleep disturbances, or sleeping more than usual
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Clear fluid drainage from the nose or ears
- Loss of coordination
- Weakness or numbness in the fingers or toes
Cognitive and Sensory Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in the ability to smell or taste
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Depression or anxiety
- Agitation, fractiousness or other unusual behavior
- Slurred speech
The sooner you get medical attention, the less likely you are to sustain lasting damage.
Seeking Compensation for Florida Slip and Fall Incidents
If you’re injured in a slip and fall on another person’s property, consider seeking compensation for your injuries, especially if you think that negligence on the part of the property owner or unsafe conditions contributed to the accident.
In Florida, you have four years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. However, from a strategic standpoint, sooner is better. Waiting several years to seek damages makes it difficult to argue an injury’s severity.
In order to win a slip and fall lawsuit, you’ll need to prove that the property owner (or some other party like a contractor) was responsible for the accident.
In other words, something this party did or failed to do must be proven to have caused an unsafe condition, which directly led to your slip and fall, and subsequent injury.
If you’re injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s worthwhile to look into your options for seeking compensation. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be left with high medical bills or unable to work, compromising the financial future of your whole family.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.