For many shoppers, a harmless slip and fall may only lead to bruises or a sprained ankle. However, for some Costco customers, slip and fall injuries can be disabling, chronic, and even deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults are at risk of suffering significant consequences from falls. Common fall injuries can include:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI can occur due to trauma to the head in a severe fall. Some TBIs are mild and can heal on their own. However, severe TBIs can be life-changing for victims, who may not be able to work again or lead the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. Some TBI patients suffer from devastating cognitive problems and irreversible brain damage, needing round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.
Common fractures from falls can include the wrists, hip, knees, and ankles. Most individuals try to break their falls by stretching out their arms and hands, resulting in broken wrists in even minor falls. In Costco falls, older adults are more prone to breaking large bones such as the hips, legs, and arms. Complex fractures can result in expensive medical bills and extended recovery and rehabilitation.
If customers are holding merchandise in their hands while slipping and falling, they may be unable to cushion their fall with their hands. This can result in painful facial and dental injuries, such as chipped or broken teeth. Other facial injuries in falls can include:
- Broken nose
- Fractured eye socket
- Broken jaw
- Tooth loss
- Eye injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
Facial trauma, if not treated promptly, can cause permanent problems with chewing, swallowing, and speaking.
Spinal Cord Damage
A spinal cord injury can arise when an individual experiences a sudden blow to the spine in a fall, fracturing, crushing, or dislocating vertebrae. Spinal cord injuries are typically serious and can cause permanent loss of sensation, strength, and other body functions below the injury site. The most severe spinal cord damage can lead to complete paralysis.
Cuts and Lacerations
Falling on broken glass, hard floors, or debris from merchandise can cause abrasions and lacerations. While minor scrapes and cuts can be harmless, deep wounds typically require medical assistance as they can cause heavy bleeding and damage nerves and muscles.