We all fall. Sometimes we are able to brace ourselves and come away with nothing more than a bruise, and sometimes we just have a sore bottom. Your health, age, and the circumstances of your fall all contribute to the seriousness of your injuries, but did you know that if you slip backward at the wrong angle or suffer a serious fall on a hard surface, such as a sidewalk, this can result in a concussion?
Concussions as Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you come to after a sudden fall and are told by first responders that you likely suffered a concussion, this actually just a symptom of a traumatic brain injury. A “traumatic brain injury” is an injury that “occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.” This can include falls the ground, when the external force, i.e., the concrete, causes an injury to your brain. Not all concussions result in a loss of consciousness, however. A traumatic brain injury can be classified as either mild, moderate, or severe, with a mild traumatic brain injury only resulting in a bit of pain and confusion. You may have suffered from a severe traumatic brain injury as a result of your slip-and-fall if you begin to experience any of the following symptoms, which generally fall into three categories – physical, sensory, and cognitive:
- Persistent and worsening headaches;
- Vomiting and nausea;
- Brain fluids draining from the nose or ears;
- Dysfunction in your hands and feet; and
- General loss of coordination.
Further, you are likely to suffer from the following cognitive (i.e., mental) symptoms:
- Extreme confusion;
- Unusual or aggressive behavior;
- Slurred speech; or
Seeking Compensation After your Slip-and-Fall Injury
If you were injured in slip and fall accident, the traditional cause of action is negligence as the result of something called “premises liability.” When litigating premises liability claims, the reason for your presence on the property is essential, as you cannot sue someone for an injury if you were on her property without her express or implied permission. There are three main types of categories you can fall into if you are present on someone else’s property:
Business or Social Invitees – An invitee is someone who is on the premises, i.e., shopping at the supermarket, for the purpose of “doing business” at that establishment. If you are an invitee, you are owed the highest duty of care, and the property owner must be sure to monitor the property for danger and make the premises safe for you. If you slip on spilled juice in the supermarket that was sticky because it seemed to have been there for a while, you were owed a duty of care;
- Licensee – A licensee is someone who is permitted on the property but not for the sake of doing business. For example, if you are walking your dog on a public street. In this case, the property owner must warn you of known dangers on the property, but he does not have a duty to monitor and make the property safe for you. This category tends to apply in public areas such as on sidewalks and in parks;
- Trespassers – Trespassers are those who are not permitted on the property and, as such, no duty is owed to a trespasser if she is injured. For example, if you use a restaurant restroom when it is clearly marked “for customers only”, you likely cannot sue for negligence because no duty was owed to you if there was water on the floor. The intent of the trespass does not have to be criminal. Further, you don’t even have to know that you are trespassing in order to be considered a trespasser.
Your purpose on the premises is one of the main factors that the judge or jury will consider when determining whether you are entitled to compensation after a Florida slip and fall accident.
Vulnerability Before a Slip-and-Fall
Because concussions and traumatic brain injuries do not always result from simple slip and falls, as opposed to falls from high places, a property owner cannot disclaim liability for your injuries simply because they were more severe than expected from a light fall. This is called the “eggshell plaintiff” or “eggshell skull” rule, which is a doctrine that states a defendant is liable for all injuries suffered by a plaintiff as the result of the defendant’s negligent conduct, including those injuries that are uncommon, unforeseeable, or exacerbated due to a plaintiff’s prior medical conditions. A defendant cannot absolve himself from liability simply because the injury was preexisting. For example, if you played football when you were younger and suffered from concussions in the past, because your brain’s support structures and cells are likely weaker as a result, if you slip and fall on a spilled drink and suffer a severe concussion as a result, your potential for recovery cannot be diminished based on the fact you’ve suffered brain injuries in the past that made this experience worse.
Contact a Clearwater Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one was injured as the result of a Florida slip and fall accident, you are entitled to compensation even if the injury was unexpected and resulted in a serious concussion. The Dolman Law Group has the Clearwater premises liability and slip and fall attorneys you need to analyze the facts of your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Further, they have experience litigating traumatic brain injury cases, which can be complicated. Their attorneys can ensure that they fight for your right to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any related expenses that you incurred as the result of a property owner’s negligence. They are your premier personal injury and premises liability lawyers in the greater Tampa Bay area. Call them today at 727-451-6900 or contact them online for a free, no-risk consultation.