Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere, inside or outside, on commercial or private property. It is not always possible to predict or prevent slip-and-fall accidents, but they often occur because somebody failed in their duty of care. For example, they didn’t wipe up a spill on the floor or clear the snow and ice away from their steps, and you became injured as a result.
The type of injury that you receive from a slip and fall depends largely on the part of the body you land on. Falling on slippery stairs, for example, could cause you to fall backwards, which can result in an injury to your spine. These can range in severity, the most serious of which could cause permanent paralysis.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is the lengthy nerve tissue that runs down your back. Along with your brain, it forms the central nervous system, and its function is to relay nerve signals to the rest of your body. Injury to your spinal cord from a slip and fall could occur due to a fracture in one of your vertebrae. Sometimes the fractured vertebra becomes displaced, which could put pressure on your spine and disrupt the nerve signals, causing changes in sensation and possibly paralysis. It may be possible to reverse this by restoring the vertebra to its anatomical position, relieving the pressure. However, sometimes the spinal cord becomes severed, resulting in disruption of the nerve signals and causing paralysis. Nerve tissue does not regenerate like other tissues, so in this case, the paralysis is permanent.
A compression fracture is a particular pattern that only happens in the vertebrae of the back. Each bone of the spine consists mainly of a column called the vertebral body. A compression fracture causes the vertebral body to collapse on itself. This can cause severe pain. Over time, it can also cause loss of height and spinal deformity. While compression fractures occur more often in older people, a trauma to the back may be sufficient to cause it.
Between the bones of the back are flexible cartilaginous structures called intervertebral disks. These consist of a hard outer shell containing a softer inner layer. A blow to the back can cause tearing of the outer layer, allowing the inner layer to leak out. This leaking is called herniation, and it can put pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots that extend out from it, causing changes of sensation and pain.
Even a relatively minor spine injury can have a dramatic effect on your functioning. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Washington DC, like the attorneys at Cohen and Cohen. An attorney can determine if negligence was to blame.