Most people think of slip-and-fall (or trip-and-fall) injuries as minor accidents – ones that might be more embarrassing than painful. But make no mistake: a simple slip-and-fall on the job can have far more serious consequences than you may realize. Below, we describe three of the more dangerous outcomes associated with these common workplace accidents.
Traumatic brain injuries after a slip-and-fall
Perhaps the most serious non-fatal consequence of a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall is suffering a traumatic brain injury. Depending on the force and location of impact, brain injuries can result in a wide variety of serious symptoms. Here are just a few examples:
- Long-lasting pain
- Cognitive impairment
- Chronic and persistent headaches
- Trouble concentrating
- Vision issues
Serious traumatic brain injury can result in weeks or months of missed work. In some cases, the effects could be permanent.
If you may have suffered a concussion or other traumatic brain injury at work, it is important to be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. An examination can help assess the extent of the damage and determine if it is unsafe for you to return to work.
New or exacerbated back/spine injuries
Millions of Americans either have back problems or are prone to back problems. Some risks are genetic while other risks are simply a function of age and lifestyle. Unfortunately, a slip-and-fall accident has a high likelihood of either causing a back/spinal injury or exacerbating an existing one.
Back and spine injuries that commonly result from slip-and-falls include:
- Chronic pain
- Slipped or herniated discs
- Painful bruising
- Limited range of motion
- Inability to reach up high or lift even moderately heavy items
- Difficulty walking or standing up for any length of time
You don’t even need to fall down to suffer some of these injuries. In certain cases, the rapid jerking of muscles can be enough to cause the damage as you instinctively respond to slipping.
Broken bones or torn muscles/ligaments
The impact of your fall will be absorbed by some part of your body. If you are “fortunate” enough to fall forward and break your fall with your arms, you could nonetheless break an arm or seriously injure muscles/tendons in your elbow or wrist. If you land on your tailbone, you could easily suffer a pelvic fracture or painful bruising that makes it very difficult to walk. It is also common for slip-and-fall victims to experience muscle strains, sprains and torn ligaments in their legs and feet as they attempt to prevent themselves from falling.
Treat your own injuries seriously
A workplace accident doesn’t need to result in blood or a lost limb in order to be considered serious. If you suffer a slip-and-fall at work, please make sure you receive a medical examination and report the accident to your supervisor or boss. Even if injuries are not immediately apparent, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim in the near future.