Learn about the types and causes of slip and fall hip injuries. Find out what your claim might be worth and what you need to win your case.
Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of injuries in the United States. There are several types of injuries that can be caused by a slip and fall, including fractures.
Hip fractures are among the most serious kinds of bone fractures one can suffer. As you get older, your risk of suffering a hip fracture after falling only goes up, as hip injuries are a leading cause of elder hospitalizations.¹
It’s likely that either you or a loved one are at an increased risk for a hip injury. It helps to be aware of the medical, financial and legal consequences of a hip injury. You should also be aware of the ways you can make up for some of your losses after an injury by getting the money you deserve.
This article will examine the causes of slip and fall hip injuries, symptoms, and treatments. It will look at the effects that a hip injury can have on your life or the life of a loved one. Finally, we will take a look at how to get compensation for your injury claim — whether in or out of court.
How Slip and Fall Hip Injuries Happen
As with other slip and fall injuries, claims for hip injuries are made against property owners or businesses who allow a dangerous condition on their property.
Most slip and fall injuries happen when a property owner causes a hazard, or fails to correct a hazard they know or should have known about. Sometimes a property owner or resident may act intentionally or recklessly to create a hazard.
In any event, the injury happens because of a dangerous property condition. The person controlling the property is usually responsible.
Intentional or Reckless Conduct: Why Is It Important?
An injury is intentional if the property owner deliberately created or allowed a hazard to exist because they wanted to hurt someone.
A reckless property owner allows a known hazard to exist without caring whether someone gets injured or not.
If your serious hip injury is the result of someone else’s intentional or reckless behavior, you may be able to win punitive damages in court on top of your compensatory damages. Punitive damages are awarded in lawsuits to punish the at-fault person or business for particularly malicious behavior.
Hip injuries can happen anywhere that a person may slip or trip and fall. Hip fractures are a serious consequence of falls that might occur in retail stores, restaurants, or hotels, to name a few.
Particularly on rainy or snowy days, floors can get wet and slippery. A facility may not put down proper rugs or pads to absorb and control water on the floors, creating a hazardous walking condition.
Different Types of Hip Injuries
The violent impact from slipping and landing on your hip can cause damage to any part of the hip.
The hip joint is made up of:
- Muscles and tendons
- Nerves and blood vessels
Hip fractures most commonly happen when the fall victim lands on their side. This results in a fracture of the femur bone near the ball-and-socket joint.
The femur (also called the thigh bone) is the longest and strongest bone in the body. The head of the femur bone is the “ball” that fits into the hip socket. It takes a strong impact to break the femur.
There are two common types of femur fractures:
- A femoral neck fracture, where the femur breaks 1 to 2 inches from the hip joint.
- An intertrochanteric fracture, where the femur breaks 3 to 4 inches away from the joint.
Soft tissue hip injuries, also known as hip strains or sprains, are also possible. These can range from overstretching to tearing of the hip muscles. Though hip strains are not as complicated as a broken hip, they are also painful and require extensive treatment.
Hip Fracture Symptoms
Symptoms of a hip fracture are usually apparent immediately after the victim has fallen.
- Severe pain in the hip or groin
- Inability to get up or bear weight on the affected leg
- The affected leg may appear shorter than the other
- The foot of the affected leg may be turned out at an odd angle
Call 911 to ask for an ambulance if a hip fracture is suspected. Try not to move the victim, but keep them quiet and warm until the ambulance arrives.
Effects of Hip Injuries
Hip fractures from slip and falls usually require surgery, and may include a full hip joint replacement.
In any event, hip surgery is serious, painful, and can take two to four weeks for recovery, depending on your age and general health before the injury.
Hip fractures are extremely painful. Pain management of hip fractures can be challenging. It’s important to get the patient moving after surgery, without over-sedation which makes some patients confused and unsteady.
Rehabilitation and physical therapy after a hip replacement may require inpatient services at a rehab facility or nursing home for several weeks after surgery.
Older slip and fall victims are at risk for dangerous complications after a hip fracture, and many never regain their independence.
Hip strains do not need surgery as often. More serious injuries, like tears of muscles, ligaments and tendons, may need surgical intervention. Conservative treatment, like heat therapy and physical therapy, can also have positive effects. Just because it’s more conservative, though, does not mean that it’s not expensive or painful.
Proving Your Slip and Fall Hip Injury Claim
As with any other serious injury claims, you always need medical bills and other evidence of your medical treatment.
Hip injury cases, with their need for surgery, can be particularly expensive.
Hip injuries, particularly hip fractures, are serious injuries that require extensive medical care and rehabilitation.
Be sure to keep an updated list of all the medical providers and services you or your loved one required after the slip and fall. Keep copies of all reports and test results, hospital discharge summaries, and all other medical records and bills.
In the event that you have to file a lawsuit to be compensated for your hip injury, these records and summaries can save a lot of work for you and your attorney.
You should be compensated for the full cost of all reasonable diagnostic tests and treatments.
You might be treated by more than one type of doctor, like your family doctor, an orthopedic surgeon, a rheumatologist, and a physical therapist.
Diagnostic studies may include one or more:
- CT scan
If you have a pre-existing hip condition or an old injury, you’ll need to show that your current pain and limitations are directly caused by the slip and fall.
Your collection of medical records should also include opinions by your doctors about your treatment and your likelihood of regaining your ability to walk and perform activities of daily living.
Should your case proceed to a lawsuit, the court will want to hear expert testimony about your injury. If your treating doctors can provide that testimony, it’s better than if a stranger was giving it.
Non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, also need evidence. This will likely come from family members who knew you before and after the accident, and can testify about the effects it’s had on your life. Your own testimony, as well as family photos and journal entries, can also be helpful.
Because hip injuries can have such dramatic effects on your professional life, you should also gather evidence regarding your work attendance and performance. Because most jobs require mobility, your hip injury will likely have caused you to miss significant work and may even prevent you from working in the future.
Hip Injury Claim Values
Severe hip injuries are high-dollar claims. Because insurance adjusters don’t willingly pay out big settlements, they will look for any excuse to minimize your claim.
Your attorney will know how to fight back against an adjuster’s arguments that you fell from your own carelessness, or that your hip fractured because you’re old.
You may need to file a lawsuit in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Once your lawsuit is filed, your attorney may be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, or your case will go to trial.
In either event, you will need all of that evidence you collected earlier. Without a strong case backed by evidence, it’s unlikely you can recover even $10,000.
With proper evidence and a good personal injury lawyer, you may be able to recover the cost of your hip surgery, which is usually between $30,000 and $40,000. You should also get the cost of your rehab, out-of-pocket expenses, and non-economic damages.
Payment for pain and suffering differs greatly from case to case, but will generally be more if a case is brought to trial. Jury verdicts for pain and suffering in these cases can range from $200,000 to $2 million, depending on the severity of the injury.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits end up settling out of court. Very few lawsuits brought to trial have headline-grabbing verdicts. But, at the least, you should be able to pay for your medical treatment and other economic damages. You should also be able to get a modest amount for pain and suffering.
Be Alert Before and After Your Injury
Nobody wants to suffer a hip injury. But if you do, it’s important to take charge of your life and your medical care. Make sure that you receive the necessary treatment. Keep track of your expenses and the ways that the injury affected your life. Also pay attention to how the injury has affected the life of your family.
If you or a loved one has suffered a slip and fall hip injury, first take all the necessary steps to protect your and your family’s health, including appropriate medical attention. Then, contact a qualified personal injury attorney in your state for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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