While many slip and fall injuries are not incapacitating, an alarming number qualify as serious and can even be fatal. Losing a loved one in this type of preventable accident is devastating, causing unimaginable grief, but also substantial financial harm. Fortunately, in many cases, the family members of victims can recover damages from the party responsible for the hazard that caused their relative’s fatal slip and fall accident.
Fatal Slip and Fall Accidents are On the Rise
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fatal slip and fall accidents are occurring at an increasingly high rate across the country. In fact, an estimated 800,000 people are hospitalized every year in the U.S. because of a fall injury. Falls are also the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), even exceeding injuries sustained in car accidents. Alarmingly, these falls don’t seem to be occurring less, but are actually on the rise, with the CDC estimating that fatal falls increased 30 percent between 2007 and 2016. If numbers continue to rise at this rate, experts propose that by 2030, seven people will suffer fall-related deaths on a daily basis.
Slip and Fall Accidents Cause Head Injuries
Of the many types of injuries that a slip and fall accident victim can sustain, head injuries are perhaps the most dangerous. The most serious and the most likely to result in a fatality include:
- Hematoma, which occur when a blow to the head damages the brain’s blood vessels, causing the formation of a blood clot that puts pressure on the brain tissue, causing permanent damage if left untreated;
- Hemorrhages, which occurs when a blunt force impact to the head causes bleeding in the brain and the placing of excessive pressure on brain tissue;
- Skull fractures, which can be dangerous if the skull actually pierces the brain itself, causing sometimes irreparable damage; and
- Diffuse axonal injuries, which involve non-bleeding wounds to the brain that lead to brain cell damage.
These types of head injuries can have devastating consequences for victims. Unfortunately, recognizing these injuries for what they are isn’t always immediately possible due to delayed symptoms, which is why it is so important for those who sustain blunt force impacts to the head upon slipping and falling to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Injured parties should also keep an eye out for certain symptoms, including:
- Nausea or vomiting;
- A loss of balance;
- Sensitivity to light and sound;
- Blood or fluid dripping from the ears; and
All of these symptoms could be indicative of a much more serious head injury which, if left untreated, could prove fatal.
Property Owner Liability
Falls don’t have to occur from a great height for a person to sustain a fatal injury. In fact, even slipping on the sidewalk or tripping on the stairs can have devastating consequences if a person strikes his or her head in a certain way. When someone passes away after sustaining a fatal injury in a slip and fall accident, that person’s surviving relatives could have standing to file a wrongful death claim on the victim’s behalf. Wrongful death claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit that is filed not by the victim, who passed away from his or her injuries, but by the loved ones who the victim left behind.
In addition to recovering compensation for the victim’s final medical bills, plaintiffs could also be entitled to damages for funeral and burial expenses, loss of income and benefits, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship and services. To recover these losses, a claimant will likely need to show that the property owner knew the dangerous condition existed, or would have known if he or she had been properly inspecting and maintaining the premises.
Call Our Dedicated Miami Wrongful Death Lawyers
Slip and fall accidents can and do cause grave harm, sometimes resulting in injuries that tragically end up being fatal. If your own loved one lost his or her life in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you are undoubtedly feeling lost and unsure of your next steps. While nothing can make up for such a loss, a successful wrongful death claim could help you cover your immediate financial needs while you attempt to put the pieces of your life back together. You can contact the dedicated and compassionate Miami wrongful death lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein by calling 305-371-2692, or by reaching out to us via online message.