Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases are brought under the law of premises liability. When a person trips, he or she ordinarily falls backward. In a trip and fall, the person usually falls forward. Just about everybody has slipped or tripped and fallen. Most of the time, the only damage that they suffer is to their pride, but there are other times when genuine physical injuries result. Quite often those injuries are to one of the victim’s knees.
Knee injuries from falls can result from unnatural twisting or blunt trauma. As personal injury lawyers, here are four types of slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall knee injuries that we commonly see.
- Strains and sprains
In both slips and trips, muscles and tendons might be unnaturally extended without tearing. Some stiffness from swelling might occur, and there might even be minor bruising. Doctors and therapists have varying treatment plans for knee strains and sprains, but they’re generally in agreement with resting, icing and elevating the affected leg.
Knee fractures are far more common in trips as compared to slips. The kneecap (patella) is a bone that works as a shield for the knee joint. With a non-displaced patella fracture, surgery might not be necessary. A long cast will be applied to immobilize the affected leg for six weeks to two months, and the patient can expect to be on crutches while healing. With a displaced fracture, the muscles that are attached to the patella pull it apart. Surgery and subsequent rehab are likely required to put the patella back together. Expect some knee stiffness in the future.
- Cartilage and ligament tears
A magnetic resonance imaging study might show torn cartilage or a ligament tear in the knee joint. A common spot for such a tear is the cushion between the thighbone and shinbone called the meniscus. Each knee has two menisci that can be torn or otherwise damaged by an abrupt twist when one foot is planted, and the knee on that side rotates while falling. These tears are accompanied by noticeable pain and swelling. Badly torn cartilage usually requires surgery and removal. Expect that knee to become arthritic over time.
- The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
Four primary ligaments connect the thighbone with the shinbone. One of those is the ACL. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the ACL injury mechanism can involve twisting, pivoting and awkward landings like in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall. An ACL tear is extremely painful, and the range of motion of the affected knee is severely restricted. ACL tear victims can expect surgery and a lengthy rehab period. Even with athletes, the knee is never really the same.
Owners and occupiers of retail establishments, homeowners, or even government entities can be held liable for slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries and damages. If you or somebody close to you was injured in a fall resulting from a slip or trip, contact our offices by phone or email for a free consultation and case assessment. There’s no obligation, and if we’re retained, no legal fees are charged by us unless we obtain a settlement or verdict in the case. Consult with an experienced attorney such as the such as the personal injury lawyer St Paul MN locals turn to.
Thanks to authors at Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into Personal Injury Law.