According to data compiled by the National Safety Council, slips, trips, and falls account for some 8.9 million visits to emergency departments each year. Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in New York homes and communities, resulting in more than 25,000 fatalities each year.
Falls Are Most Common Among the Aged
While anyone can slip and fall, if the conditions are “right” (i.e., wrong for the victim), generally speaking, the older one is, the more likely that you are to suffer from a debilitating fall. Patients in nursing homes are particularly susceptible to injury from falling. Here are some disturbing facts, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall
- Most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation
- Each year in the United States, one out of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall
- Annually, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 die as a result of falls
- More than 1.8 million people over the age of 65 are annually treated in an emergency room as a result of a fall
- For those between the ages of 65 and 84, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death
- For those who are 85 years old or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death
- About 60 percent of all fatal falls involve persons aged 75 years or older
- Over 60 percent of nursing homes residents fall each year
- Half of all patients over the age of 65 who are hospitalized for hip fractures never return home or live independently after the fracture
Common Causes of Falls
Many types of conditions can lead to slips, trips, and falls. Some of the most common causes, however, are:
Many businesses fail to clear their grounds, sidewalks, and parking lots of ice and snow. That hazard, added to poor visibility due to the shorter periods of sunlight during winter months, make for a hazardous combination. Sometimes, a hazard is visible, but all too often, that isn’t the case. For example, drifting snow can also obscure concrete bumpers in parking lots. Premises owners need to understand that they can be held liable for injuries sustained on their property, particularly when they have ignored a hazardous condition.
Wet or Uneven Surfaces
After one has safely entered a building, there may be other perils that can cause a fall. Some buildings have uneven floors and worn carpet. Owners of some premises allow spills to lie in hallways and stairwells. Some businesses do not warn when floors have been mopped.
Other Hazardous Conditions
Premises owners sometimes allow other dangerous conditions to exist, including:
- Throw rugs that do not have non-skid under-surfaces
- Electrical and/or telephone cords that are allowed to exist in heavy traffic areas
- Cluttered rooms
- Rickety furniture
- Loose handrails
Falls Are Costly
The National Safety Council estimates that slip and fall accidents cost $70 billion annually in terms of medical care, lost time from work, and long-term disability. If you or a family member has suffered a slip and fall injury in a public building, shopping mall, or office structure, then you may be entitled to recover your medical expenses and additional sums for pain and suffering. You may still be entitled to some recovery, even if you or the family member was partially at fault in falling. Just like a slick floor, time is your enemy, however. If you wait too long to file your claim, it may be barred by a New York court.
A Skilled, Resourceful Attorney is Key to Recovery
Retaining an expert slip and fall attorney is crucial to your success. E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy has the experience and resources to help you establish your claim, and negotiate the best possible settlement. We also have the skill and tenacity required to take your case to trial, if necessary. As one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the capital district, we have been representing clients for more than 125 years. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 284-3183 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law Firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, even on holidays.