Personal injuries can happen anywhere, and they have many different causes. In Florida, residents know that slips, trips, and falls are common causes of personal injuries, particularly among the elderly. And given that nearly 20 percent of Florida's population is aged 65 or older according to the 2014 U.S. Census, it's important to learn more about slip and fall accidents and how we can prevent the injuries that often arise from a serious fall.
Older Adults Sustain Personal Injuries in Fall-Related Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year millions of adults aged 65 and older get hurt when they slip and fall. Depending on the severity of the fall, such an accident can cause moderate to severe injuries, including but not limited to lacerations, bruises, broken bones, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Indeed, the CDC reports that "falls are the most common cause" of TBIs across the country.
When seniors suffer injuries such as hip fractures or head traumas, it can be difficult to continue living independently. Additionally, personal injuries suffered during a fall can increase a senior's risk of early death. How common are personal injuries caused by falls? Let's take a look at some statistics offered by the CDC:
● For older adults, "falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries."
● About one out of every three seniors in American suffers a fall each year, but fewer than half of those accident victims discuss their injuries with a medical professional.
● On average, around 2.5 million nonfatal falls among older adults require treatment in an emergency room every year. Of those elderly patients who require emergency room visits, more than 730,000 will require hospitalization.
● Annually, the financial costs of fall-related accidents totals around $34 billion.
Why do we need to pay attention to personal injuries resulting from slips and falls? In addition to our quickly aging population and the sheer number of seniors in the state of Florida, it's important to know that fatal fall accidents among the elderly have been on the rise in recent years. In 2013 alone, more than 25,000 seniors suffered fatal injuries from unintentional falls.
Determining Personal Injury Risk and Preventing Falls
We know that older adults are more likely than younger people to sustain personal injuries in a slip and fall. But are some elderly Floridians at greater risk than others? The following data suggests that age and sex play a large role in predicting risks of fall-related injuries:
● Males are more likely than females to suffer a deadly injury in a slip and fall. To be sure, "the fall death rate is approximately 40 percent higher for men than for women."
● While men are more likely than women to die from a fall, women are twice as likely as men to suffer broken bones, such as a hip or leg fracture, in a slip, trip, or fall accident.
● Floridians aged 75 and older are "four to five times more likely than those aged 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer."
What can older adults in Central Florida do to prevent personal injuries from falls? The CDC and the National Safety Council (NSC) recommend some of the following tips:
● Regular exercise: staying fit can help to improve balance and prevent a dangerous fall.
● Reviewing medications: speaking with your healthcare provider about prescription drugs that can cause dizziness or drowsiness can provide you with different medications that can make a fall less likely.
● Reducing tripping hazards: homeowners and business owners can install railings and additional lighting to help prevent slips, trips, and falls.
● Cleaning up spills: as soon as a liquid spill occurs, it's important to clean it up. For an elderly Florida resident, cleaning up a spill quickly can be the difference between living independently and needing constant in-home care. This includes mopping up puddles that accumulate from Florida rainstorms and taking care of slick, muddy areas around doorways.
Contact a Brandon Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love recently suffered a personal injury in a fall-related accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a dedicated personal injury lawyer in Central Florida today to learn more about filing a personal injury claim. An attorney at the Wells Law Group, P.A. can help.