Slip and fall accidents for people aged 65 and older are dangerous. And there’s no question about that. Not only are seniors more likely to have a slip and fall accident, but their weaker joints and compromised health mean that these slip and fall accidents can be much more devastating. For many, serious injury occurs and in the worst cases, falls can be fatal. In fact, one in three senior citizens falls every year, and fewer than half report their falls to their doctors. Falling once doubles the chance of falling again, making it important to understand all that you can about these accidents.
Understanding slip and fall accidents may help you or a loved one avoid having an accident altogether.
Common Causes of Falls
There are a variety of things that can cause a senior citizen to slip and fall. Some of the most common causes are loose area rugs, obstacles in pathways, and low light. If you want to help your elderly loved one make their home safer, look for these things.
Area rugs are easy to tape down or they can be removed altogether. Look for obstacles that can be tripped over. Electric cords should be taped down, toys should be picked up and furniture should be moved against walls. Add extra lighting in hallways and along staircases. Night lights are an excellent choice. If there are no outlets available, you can use battery-operated lights.
Fall Can Be Costly
One out of every five falls results in serious injury. Broken bones and head injuries are suffered by the elderly each year. More than two million people are treated in emergency rooms around the country each year due to slip and fall accidents.
Over 700,000 people who experience a fall are injured in such a way that they require extended treatment in a hospital. This is typical because of a hip or head injury. It is estimated that at least 250,000 elderly people are forced to stay in the hospital due to hip fractures each year. These fractures are most often caused by sideways falls. In other words, the elderly person lands on their hip, breaking the bone.
Among the elderly, slip and fall accidents are the most common cause of TBI, traumatic brain injury. The cost of TBI varies from patient to patient, but it can run into the tens of thousands if not more. The cost of medical injuries caused by slip and fall accidents is estimated to be approximately $34 billion annually.
After a Fall
Some falls do not cause dramatic injuries, but one in five will, and these injuries can have life-changing and long-lasting effects. When a person is injured in such a way, it can be difficult for them to continue to live on their own. They may not be able to participate in everyday activities, and they may find it difficult to get around on their own.
The most important thing you should do after a fall is to get a medical professional to assess the injury and document everything. Getting medical attention immediately will help you heal faster and it will help your case if you decide to recover damages from your insurance company or the owner of the premises where the slip and fall took place.
And remember, not all slip and fall accidents result in noticeable damage at first. It’s always better to get a checkup just incase. Just because you think you are ok, doesn’t mean that you are. Half of all concussions go unreported or undetected. (UPMC) And the after effects of a traumatic brain injury can be incredible. When a fall results in a TBI, the person may suffer permanent brain damage. They may have behavioral changes, may suffer from amnesia, or could even slip into a coma. A hip fracture is no doubt serious, but TBI is considered the most serious consequence of a fall.
Conditions that Contribute to Falls
While there are certain causes of falls that are within our control, some are less likely to be so. Lower body weakness, difficulties with balance, a Vitamin D deficiency, vision problems, and other medical conditions can make it easier for a person to fall to the ground. This is why it is so important that seniors have regular wellness checkups and visits with the doctor of their choice. It is also important that they discuss any falls with their medical professionals.
Most slip and fall accidents happen at home when we are most off guard. In fact, almost half of all at home accidental deaths are the result of a slip and fall accident. (NFSI)
Why Falls Aren’t Discussed
There are several reasons that the elderly do not tell others that they have fallen. Perhaps the biggest reason is the fear of not being able to live independently any longer. Imagine being elderly, falling, and having to tell someone that you were unable to keep your balance. Your family’s gut reaction may be to tell you that you can no longer live on your own. They are concerned about your safety and think that a nursing home would be safer. Fear of being placed in a “home” is enough to keep much elderly silent.
As your loved one’s age, it may be beneficial if you can take at least some part in their care. Make sure that your loved one understands that you are not out to put them “away” or remove them from their home. If you know that they have taken a spill, there are steps you can help them take to ensure a second fall doesn’t occur any time soon.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a slip and fall injury in Tampa, you may be entitled to compensation depending on the circumstances surrounding the fall. Call our team of personal injury attorneys today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We will review the details of your incident and advise you of the options available to you under Florida law. Call now and discover how our firm can assist you and your family as you seek compensation for your injuries.