When Should You Go to the Doctor After a Fall?

When should you go to the doctor after a fall?

While many of us grew up with the “walk-it-off” approach to falls, a sudden slip can have serious health consequences. Sometimes, you may not feel the full effects until much later. As a result, it’s important to seek medical attention after falling. Doing so can prevent severe injury and help you build a case if you decide to sue the liable entity for negligence.

What Injuries Can Result From a Fall?

The severity of a fall injury depends on the height of the fall, the location of impact and your preexisting conditions. For example, if you have osteoporosis, you have a higher risk of broken bones. Certain factors also make you more likely to take a tumble:

  • Foot pain
  • Vision problems
  • Medications that affect balance
  • Lower body weakness
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Falls are especially common in individuals over 64. As we age, we lose musculoskeletal function, the ability to issue motor commands and access to full sensory elements, which interfere with our capacity to navigate the world safely. Something as simple as a coffee table can pose a major obstacle despite being a minor issue years prior.

Scraps and bruises are common injuries in minor falls and usually don’t require special care. However, a serious slip can cause the following:

  • Lacerations
  • Tendon and ligament tears
  • Bone fractures
  • Head injuries
  • Sprains and strains

These issues are often immediately apparent due to pain and visual clues. If you experience pain after a fall, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention immediately to determine the extent of the damage.

If you feel fine, do you still need to visit the doctor? You should schedule an appointment to be safe, as you may not realize you’ve sustained an injury at the moment. Adrenaline can mask the pain for an astonishingly long time — sometimes, you may not feel the full effects until days later. For some injuries, you may not experience discomfort until it’s too late. The following severe injuries can have delayed symptoms:

Head injuries are particularly insidious. You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you experience the following:

  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision changes
  • Loss of sensation
  • Extreme sleepiness

Why Is It Important To See a Doctor After a Fall?

First and foremost, seeing a doctor safeguards your health. Immediate medical attention increases the likelihood of catching serious injuries early, and the earlier the diagnosis, the better your prognosis. For example, if you have a fracture, delay can cause the bone to heal out of alignment, requiring more extensive care for a full recovery.

Medical examinations also start a paper trail that can be useful later. For instance, if your fall leads to a chronic illness or disability, you’ll need documentation to apply for government benefits. This is especially important if the symptoms don’t manifest for several days or weeks after the fall, as waiting that long can make it more difficult to prove a connection between the incident and your condition.

Documentation is also essential if insurance becomes involved. If you fall on a commercial property or another person’s personal property, the owner’s insurance company may pay your medical expenses. The insurer will want detailed documentation of what care you received, when you received it and how much it cost. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep a record of the following:

  • Prescriptions
  • X-rays, MRI results and test results
  • Diagnosis records and treatment plans
  • Discharge instructions

Unfortunately, insurers may try to downplay your injuries to avoid paying the entire bill. If this occurs, you’ll need documentation for a civil lawsuit.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Incident?

If you slip and fall on another entity’s property, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You only have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit in New York, so don’t delay. An attorney can determine whether you have a case and get the ball rolling.

Retaining legal counsel will also be invaluable if the liable party’s insurance company gives you a hard time. Unfortunately, insurers, being businesses at their core, often fight legitimate claims to save money. They may also make you jump through hoops in hopes that you’ll give up and accept their settlement offer.

An experienced attorney can fight for the compensation you deserve. Personal injury lawyers know when a settlement is fair, ensuring insurers don’t take advantage of you.

An attorney can also file a lawsuit on your behalf. If the liable party has insurance, the insurer will handle the legal battle with its own lawyer. Without proper representation, you’ll be at a disadvantage.

Additionally, a civil suit may be the only way to seek compensation if the liable party doesn’t have insurance. Again, you’ll need an experienced attorney to navigate the system’s complexities. A law firm can also help you organize documentation, monitor deadlines and manage the details of a drawn-out legal battle.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Slipping and Falling?

Sometimes, falls happen due to preexisting conditions. For instance, you’re twice as likely to fall if you’ve already had a slip-and-fall incident.

However, individuals and companies have a duty to keep premises safe, no matter visitors’ physical conditions. In fact, commercial property owners have a responsibility under the Americans With Disabilities Act to ensure equal access to their goods and services, including offering accommodations. For instance, many grocery stores offer motorized shopping carts for customers with mobility issues.

Of course, a perfectly healthy person can fall under the right circumstances. The following are some of the most common causes of slip-and-falls:

  • Uneven flooring
  • Spills
  • Loose rugs and carpeting

Companies should maintain their premises to prevent these hazards. They should also keep up with outdoor maintenance. Ice, snow and rain can make otherwise innocuous areas dangerous, especially if there’s no drainage or regular cleaning.

Homeowners may also be liable for slip-and-fall injuries if they’re negligent about property upkeep. Say you visit your neighbors, and your foot goes through a rotten plank on their porch, causing you to fall. If the homeowners knew about the plank’s state and delayed getting it fixed, you may be able to sue them.

Finally, poor maintenance of public spaces can put people at risk of falling. Potholes and cracked sidewalks, for example, can cause tripping. However, receiving compensation for these falls can get complicated depending on who is responsible. If a homeowners association bears the responsibility of hiring vendors to de-ice sidewalks, but the vendors deliver subpar services, you may have a case against the HOA.

If a municipality is responsible for fixing a pothole, the situation must meet extra criteria before you can file a suit. First, the municipality must have prior written notice of the issue. Second, the municipality must have had enough time to remedy the situation. Otherwise, the local government has immunity from civil action, even if you sustained a serious injury.

Where Can You Find a Slip and Fall Lawyer?

Cellino Law has helped victims claim their rightful compensation for over 65 years. We only take payment if we win the case, and we’ve successfully supervised settlements totaling over $2 billion. We’re open 24/7, so don’t hesitate to reach out to schedule a free consultation online or by calling (718) 305-4776.

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