Every year, three million elderly people are treated in emergency departments due to fall injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, falls are the leading cause of visits to the emergency room in the United States and the number one reason for accidental deaths for adults older than 65, according to American Family Physician (AFP). A fall later in life often coincides with a reduction in independence for older adults and a decreased enjoyment of life.
If you or an elderly loved one slipped and fell because of a property owner’s negligence, a Tampa elderly slip and fall lawyer from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine may be able to help. We can discuss the circumstances surrounding the fall and whether you may have a cause of action against a third party. Contact us at (800) 747-3733 for a free case review.
Why Slips and Falls Are So Dangerous for the Elderly
As people age, their bones become weaker and are more susceptible to breakage if there is blunt force to them. The CDC reports that one out of five falls causes a serious injury, like a broken bone or a head injury. These injuries can severely limit an elderly person’s interactions and abilities. Falls are often the predecessor of sending an elderly loved one to a nursing home or assisted living facility.
After a person falls once, they are twice as likely to fall again, which may result in additional injuries. Additionally, once an elderly person falls, they may become fearful that they will fall again, which may cause them to reduce their otherwise safe activities because of this fear. This can lead to them becoming less active and weaker due to their decreased physical activity.
For a free legal consultation with a elderly slip and fall accidents lawyer serving Tampa, 800-747-3733
Risk Factors for the Elderly
There are several risk factors that may make an elderly person more likely to suffer a fall, including:
Weak Bones and Muscles
Elderly individuals may develop weaker bones and muscles due to the natural aging process or conditions like osteoporosis or arthritis. Weak bones or muscles can increase the likelihood of falling.
Some people may suffer from poor balance due to health conditions like Parkinson’s disease or stroke. Others may suffer from dizziness due to the medications they are taking or underlying health conditions, like inner ear problems or dehydration. Poor balance can lead to falls.
Memory loss or cognitive difficulties can make it more difficult for a person to judge risky situations or take necessary precautions.
The CD warns that many different medicines can affect a person’s balance and how steady they are on their feet. Some of these medicines may include:
- Some over-the-counter medications
Foot problems such as bunions, calluses, or corns can negatively affect balance. They can also make it more difficult to exercise, which can further lead to weak muscles and poor balance. Some individuals with diabetes may suffer from numbness in their feet, which can affect traction and increase the risk of a fall.
Other Medical Issues
Older individuals may suffer from various medical issues that may increase the possibility of a fall, such as:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Poor vision
- Hearing problems
- Medical conditions that cause loss of consciousness
- Bladder or bowel conditions that make a person rush to the restroom
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Common Injuries Associated with Falls
Falls can cause a variety of injuries, including:
- Broken hips: the CDC reports that 95% of broken hips occur because of falls.
- Other broken bones: broken wrists, arms, and ankles are also common in falls.
- Head injuries: falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, according to the CDC
- Soft tissue injuries: tendons, ligaments, and muscles may be injured during falls.
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Reasons for Slips and Falls
Many slips and falls occur because property owners do not take the necessary steps to maintain safe premises. Possible causes of slips and falls include:
- Wet or slippery floors
- Torn carpets
- Loose tiles
- Broken or uneven steps
- Stairwells with loose railings
- Poor lighting
- Throw rugs or clutter that elderly people may trip over
- Shelves that have merchandise that is not stacked correctly, causing the items to fall and become a trip hazard
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Legal Duties of Property Owners
The legal duty that a property owner has to someone depends on their status to the visitor as follows:
- Invitee: an invitee is someone who is invited onto the property by the property owner, usually for the owner’s financial gain, such as a store customer. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care and must take reasonable steps to make the property safe for these visitors, including making repairs, posting clear warning signs, and periodically inspecting the property for potential hazards.
- Licensee: a licensee is someone who is invited to a property for a social reason, such as someone inviting you over to their house for dinner or for a birthday party. Property owners must inform licensees of known dangers on the property that are not obvious.
- Trespasser: a trespasser does not have a legal right to be on the property owner. While the same laws do not apply for trespassers as for licensees and invitees, the property owner must refrain from doing anything to intentionally harm the trespasser.
There can be different rules that apply if the legal status of the person changed while they were on the property. Contact us by calling (800) 747-3733 for more information about this type of claim.
Proving Negligence for Your Slip and Fall
Your ability to receive compensation for the medical expenses and other damages you or your loved one sustained will come down to being able to prove negligence was the cause of the fall. A Tampa elderly slip and fall lawyer from our team may be able to help investigate your accident and gather evidence that may help establish this, such as:
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Video footage of the accident
- Eyewitness statements
- Maintenance records
- Medical records
A Tampa Elderly Slip and Fall Lawyer May Be Able to Help with Your Claim
Our Tampa slip and fall lawyers may be able to help you or your loved one with your slip and fall claim. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine provides responsive legal assistance and wants you to focus on recovery. We provide a free consultation to discuss your potential cause of action that you can arrange by calling (800) 747-3733.
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