Slips, trips, and falls are one of the leading causes of accidental injury in the U.S. And while these types of accidents may sound minor when compared to a car crash or other type of accident, they can lead to very serious injuries.
One common injury after slipping and falling is hip fractures. Hip fractures are dangerous injuries at any age, but for those over the age of 65, they are often deadly. According to the CDC, one in five hip fracture patients die within a year of their injury.
If you suspect you’ve broken your hip, or are susceptible to falls or broken bones (if you are over the age of 65, female, underweight, take certain medications, or are a heavy drinker or smoker) and want to know what to do if you slip and fall when outside your home, here are the key steps you should know and follow.
After a fall where you may have broken a hip, don’t try to get up right away. If you suffered a severe injury, trying to get up on your own could make the injury worse.
If you can get up, do so slowly. Start by rolling onto your uninjured side, then push yourself to your knees. Next, rise slowly and get to a chair or other piece of stable furniture where you can sit down.
If you can’t get up, don’t panic. If you have a phone on you, dial 911. If you don’t have a phone or can’t reach your phone, call for help as loud as you can. Try to move yourself slowly toward an object you can use to pull yourself up by rolling onto your uninjured side.
Look for Signs It May Be a Broken Hip
Make sure that you take stock of your level of pain. These could be signs of a broken hip:
- Intense pain in your hip or groin
- Inability to get up
- Inability to put any weight on the side of your injured hip
- Swollen or discolored skin around your hip on the injured side
- The leg on the injured side may appear shorter or may turn outward
However, just because you can get up and walk away doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t suffer a broken hip. Some people who break a hip can still walk, but they may feel pain in their hips, back, groin, or thighs.
Determine What Caused Your Fall
If you can, try to determine what caused your fall. When your fall is the result of poor property maintenance or an unmarked hazard, such as a wet floor, uneven floor, loose carpeting, broken railing, or trip hazard such as an extension cord, the property owner could be held liable for your injury.
If you are able, get pictures of the scene where you tripped and the contact information of any witnesses. This should be done immediately after the accident, since the trip hazard may be removed from the scene after you leave. If you are unable (i.e., if you need to be transported to a hospital for emergency treatment immediately), see if it is possible for someone else such as a trusted friend or family member to take pictures and collect contact information for you.
Report the Accident
Make sure the property owner or manager is aware of what happened before you leave the premises, and make sure the report is taken down in writing. Request a copy of the report.
Get Medical Treatment
Tell the medical professional about how you fell and that you suspect a hip fracture. They will likely take an X-ray to determine whether you suffered a hip fracture or not, but if the X-ray is unclear, an MRI or bone scan may be required.
Hip fractures almost always require surgery, even when the victim is young and otherwise healthy. This could mean installing metal plates or screws to hold the bone together, or even partial or total hip replacement.
People who suffer from broken hips will almost always need extensive physical therapy to get back to where they were before their accidents, and some never regain full mobility. This can include relearning how to walk, get dressed, bathe, use the restroom, and other vital day-to-day activities.
Hire a Lawyer to Improve Your Chances of Getting Compensation
People who suffer from hip fractures can experience many complications, including:
- Long-term complications with mobility (resulting in reduced independence)
- Weakened bones and muscles
- Shorter lifespan
- (If bedridden from your injury for any significant period of time) bed sores
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
Even when people fully recover from a broken hip after a fall, they are often left drowning in significant medical debt.
And when your fall is the result of a dangerous hazard that you should have been warned about or that should not have been there in the first place, the property owner can and should be held responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
After suffering a serious injury like a broken hip, contact the experienced Syracuse slip and fall attorneys at Catalano Law today for a free case review.