If you are partial to old Pennsylvania TV shows and movies where the ne’er-do-well hero inevitably took pratfalls in front of a crowd of shocked, albeit amused, onlookers, you likely added your laughter to theirs. Unfortunately, however, real slip-and-fall accidents are anything but funny. In fact, they represent the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
A TBI is one of the most potentially debilitating injuries you can sustain because, by definition, it injures your brain to the extent that it becomes dysfunctional. When you hit your head as the result of a slip-and-fall accident, the force of the blow sends your brain swinging violently against the inside of your skull, injuring its delicate tissues.
No two TBIs are the same. Depending on which parts of your brain you injure and the severity of the injury, your TBI symptoms could appear immediately after your fall, several hours later, or even weeks afterward. Therefore, even if you have no initial symptoms and think you suffered only a simple bump on the head, you should seek immediate medical attention. A trained head trauma specialist is the only person qualified to assess your situation, run the appropriate tests and begin treatment to minimize the effects of your TBI.
Even if your physician gives you a clean bill of health after your slip and fall, be on the lookout for TBI symptoms in the days and weeks after your accident, including the following:
- Changes in your sight or hearing
- Frequent headaches
- Recurring bouts of nausea and/or vomiting
- Difficulties with your speech
- Difficulties with your memory and/or concentration
- Feelings of confusion, disorientation or unreality
Many TBI sufferers also develop personality changes, especially with regard to sudden mood swings, anger, argumentativeness and even a tendency toward violence. If you and/or your family notices any of these physical or psychological TBI symptoms, report them to your doctor immediately so (s)he can administer additional tests.
In addition to a TBI being one of the most debilitating injuries you can receive, it also can be one of the most costly. Depending on the precise nature of your TBI, you could face the following:
- Physical and/or occupational therapy
- Prescription medications
- In-home and/or assisted living care
All of these costs mount up quickly, especially at a time when your TBI likely makes it impossible for you to work and collect your wages or salary. Your best strategy may be to consider filing suit against the owner of the property on which you fell.