Many of us have had the experience of falling while out in public. Maybe it was a trip over a loose piece of carpeting in a bank lobby, a slip on a wet floor in the local grocers, or a fall going down some stairs in a department store. Either way, falling in public can make anyone feel a little sheepish and clumsy, and for many people, the tendency is to laugh it off and blame it on ourselves. The fact is that falls are no laughing matter, and slip and fall injuries cause serious, sometime disabling damages. More often than not, these incidences have nothing to do with clumsiness and everything to do with someone else’s negligent actions. Dangerous conditions such as wet floors, uneven carpeting, and poorly lit stairs are all a hazard that could cause anyone to fall, and business owners have an obligation to ensure the safety of their patrons. It is important to be aware of the serious health ramifications that can result from a fall, as well as how to prevent falls both at home and in public.
Falls and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
According to the National Flooring Council, injuries caused by falls are the leading cause of hospital visits and send over eight million people to hospital emergency rooms each year. Falls affect children, older adults, and workers more than any other group, and half of all accidental deaths that occur in the home are as the result of falls. According to statistics on falls from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, a serious, disabling, and potentially life threatening injury.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon (BIA Oregon) is a non-profit group that provides advocacy, education, and support about brain injuries, while working to prevent these types of injuries from occurring. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can occur as the result of a bump, blow, or any kind of jolt to the head, and affect over 5.3 million people in the United States. The BIA estimates that over 150,000 people in Oregon alone suffer the effects of TBI, which can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of injury. Complications resulting from traumatic brain injuries include:
- Cognitive problems, such as memory loss, slowed speech, and problems with reasoning and judgment;
- Physical problems, such as seizures, visual or hearing impairment, and muscle spasms; and
- Psychological problems, such as inappropriate behaviors, anxiety and depression, and angry or even violent outbursts.
According to the BIA, people with brain injuries typically require intensive rehabilitation and long term care. Lifetime costs associated with TBI are estimated at $4.1 million or more.
You can protect yourself and those you love from TBI and other serious injuries caused by falls by following these fall prevention tips from the Fall Prevention Center:
- Be aware of when and where you walk. Make sure to use lighted pathways at night, and be aware of cracks or changes in sidewalks. Avoid slippery floors, and make sure you are wearing the correct prescription eye wear so that your vision is not impaired.
- When engaging in physical activity, go to places that are well-maintained, walk in pairs, and wear the appropriate shoes.
- When traveling, use handrails for stairs and on buses and trains. Always cross the street at designated crosswalks, and stop at the median if the light changes rather than running across the street. Be careful of sidewalks and curbs, which can have uneven surfaces.
Reach Out to a Portland Brain Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you know has suffered a slip or fall injury, contact our experienced Portland slip and fall attorney immediately. At the Johnston Law Firm, we can provide the aggressive legal representation needed to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our Portland personal injury attorney today for a free review of your case.