Hitting your head in a fall can lead to serious complications. You can end up with a brain injury that can cause a variety of disorienting symptoms, including confusion, memory problems, and difficulty focusing on the tasks at hand. Many of those symptoms can last long after the initial incident. If you hit your head in a trip and fall accident, you may need to carefully protect your physical health and your right to compensation.
1. Have a Medical Professional Evaluate You as Soon as Possible
In some cases, you may know immediately after an accident that you have a high risk of having suffered a traumatic brain injury: for example, if you lost consciousness even briefly, you may know that you need to have a medical professional check you out as soon as possible. Other symptoms, however, may take longer to show up. You may not have symptoms of TBI until days or weeks after the accident, especially if you have bruising, swelling, or bleeding that can lead to long-term complications.
Let a medical professional know that you tripped and fell and that you hit your head in the fall. If you did not see a medical professional immediately after the accident, you may want to see a medical care provider as soon as you notice any symptoms of a head injury, including:
- Headache, especially headache that will not resolve
- Blurred vision
- Changes in hearing, including ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Memory problems, including challenges with short-term memory
- Changes in your sleeping patterns
- Mood swings
- Problems concentrating or focusing
Any time you experience symptoms of a brain injury, having a medical care professional evaluate you can rule out serious issues and increase the odds that you will get the full care you need.
As you seek medical attention for your injuries, keep track of all medical records and any bills associated with the accident. You may want to start a specific folder or start a document on your phone where you input pictures of all the bills you face. If you go on to file an injury claim for the damages associated with your fall, you may want that documentation.
2. Document Your Challenges
Brain injuries can impact different people in dramatically different ways. The symptoms you have from a brain injury may depend on the extent of the damage and the location of the injury. For example, while some patients may have immense trouble communicating or difficulty focusing on any task at all after a fall that results in a head injury, others may note that they struggle more with memory. Some may have symptoms for weeks or months after an accident, while others may recover soon after.
Document the specific challenges you face as you recover from a brain injury. You may want to make note of:
- How much work you have had to miss because of cognitive challenges or issues related to a brain injury. Many people find that they cannot get back to work for quite some time after a fall that involves any type of head injury.
- How your inability to focus or concentrate has impacted you. In many cases, patients with traumatic brain injury may find it very difficult to focus well enough to engage in the activities that they usually enjoy as well as the activities that they must take on for work or school.
- How your brain injury has impacted your relationships. For example, some people suffering from brain injury may have a hard time regulating emotions, which can lead to relationship difficulties.
- What independence you have lost, including how you may have had to rely on other people to help with common, everyday tasks after your accident.
Many slip and fall claims involving traumatic brain injury will include compensation for the emotional damages you sustained due to the accident. By putting together documentation of those emotional losses ahead of time, you can often more easily show the compensation you deserve.
3. Know Common Warning Signs
If you hit your head in a fall, you may need to review warning signs of more serious injury. Any time you notice dangerous symptoms, you may need to see a doctor immediately.
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Repeated vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Ongoing or worsening confusion
- Inability to wake from sleep
Any time you notice your symptoms worsening unexpectedly after you hit your head in a fall, talk to a doctor immediately.
4. Talk to a Lawyer
If you suffered a trip and fall accident due to the negligence of another party, and you suffered any type of head injury due to that negligence, you may have the right to pursue compensation for those injuries. Talk to a traumatic brain injury lawyer about the conditions that led to your accident. For example, you may have the right to file a claim if the property owner failed to properly maintain the property, including the sidewalk or outdoor area belonging to the business, or if you suffered a slip and fall due to a spill that the property owner failed to clean up in a timely manner.
Working with a lawyer can offer a number of advantages.
- A lawyer can help you figure out whether you may deserve compensation for trip and fall injuries. You may have the right to file a claim after a head injury from a fall that occurred in a business or on private property, as long as you had the legal right to enter that property.
- A lawyer can offer better insight into how much compensation you should expect for your injuries. In many cases, serious head injuries can result in substantial financial and non-financial losses, for which you may deserve considerable compensation.
- Working with a lawyer can help you avoid many of the issues the insurance company may raise. For example, the insurance company may try to pressure you into accepting a low settlement offer after a slip and fall.
Any time you have questions about your rights after a trip and fall accident, including a fall involving a head injury, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your right to compensation.