Slip and fall accidents that involve the elderly are the most common source of premises liability cases. The elderly have a high risk of experiencing some type of slip and fall accident as they age.
It’s possible in some situations for a slip and fall accident to be nothing more than an accident, but a slip and fall accident can also be the result of a property owner’s negligence. In these situations, it may be necessary for an accident victim to collect damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Cases of Elderly Slip And Fall
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 25 percent of Americans 65 and older experience a fall every year. An older adult is treated for a fall in an emergency room every 12 seconds.
It’s also estimated that every 18 minutes an older adult experiences a fall that results in death. The leading cause of fatal injuries, as well as physical trauma in older adults, is slip and fall accidents. The CDC estimates the cost of adults being injured by slip and fall will increase to over $67 billion by the year 2020.
Elderly Slip and Fall Factors
A number of different factors influence the level of risk an older person has of experiencing a slip and fall accident. This could include an older person’s inadequate posture control, infrequent activity, decreased reaction time, poor balance, medication side effects and more. Certain things in an elderly person’s environment that were no problem at one time can become a hazard, such as slippery floors, poor lighting and holes in carpeting. It’s also possible for a combination of conditions to create a situation where a slip and fall accident can occur.
Lack Of Exercise
It’s common for elderly individuals to decrease their amount of exercise. This is often caused by their fear of falling. Research indicates that when an elderly person decreases their exercise, they actually increase their chances of experiencing a slip and fall accident.
Trondheim University in Norway conducted a number of studies concerning balance. Study results showed that regular exercise by older individuals results in a remarkable decrease in their chances of falling. The best results occur with exercise that focuses on repetition and balancing tasks.
Most slip and fall accidents experienced by the elderly occur in their home or at an assisted living facility due to hazards created by unsafe conditions. This includes slippery floors, especially in the bathroom. Tripping hazards such as worn rugs or exposed electrical cords are also common causes.
Stairs without proper handrails, areas with abrupt changes in the levels of a walking surface, high thresholds for doors and cracked or blocked sidewalks also regularly cause elderly slip and fall accidents.
Duty Of Care in the Case of an Accident
A property owner has a duty of care to keep their area of control safe for anyone who goes there. If it can be proven that a defendant breached their duty of care, a plaintiff may be awarded monetary compensation. It must be proven that the breach of care was the cause of a plaintiff’s injuries.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident
It may not be easy to determine who is legally responsible for a slip and fall injury. It’s important to show any negligence involved with creating an unsafe condition that caused the fall. Success requires proving that dangerous conditions were in place because of a property owner’s carelessness. This condition can be shown to create an unreasonable risk. It needs to be demonstrated that an elderly person could not have anticipated the dangerous conditions.
Compensation for Slip and Fall Damages
When an elderly person is the victim of a slip and fall accident, they will have several types of expenses and may require compensation. Possible costs include medical bills, pain and suffering and other incidental expenses such as transportation to see physicians, therapists and more.
An experienced attorney will know how to file a personal injury lawsuit so that fair compensation can be received by an elderly accident victim. A lawyer will also be able to determine the damages an elderly person qualifies to receive.