Perhaps you rarely think about just how serious a fall can be, but statistics say that you should. For example, did you know that falls were the leading cause of injury and death for older Americans, or that falls are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities?
We are all vulnerable to injuries suffered in a simple slip, trip or fall. If we fail to take fall risks seriously, we put ourselves and those around us in danger. We can fall in our homes, in businesses we frequent, on the job or in medical facilities. At Guajardo & Marks, we realize that falls can be extremely serious, and we make sure that when our clients are injured because of the negligence of a property owner or business, they do not have to pay the costs for that negligence.
How Falls Happen
Falls occur for many reasons, depending on the environment in which a person slips, trips or loses their footing. From the construction worker to the elderly nursing home resident, risks are as varied as:
- Slick or wet floors
- Icy surfaces
- Broken or loose flooring
- Narrow stairs
- Broken steps
- Cluttered walkways
- Broken or missing handrails
- Dim lighting.
Who is At Risk for Slip and Fall Injuries?
A slip-and-fall injury can happen to any one of us. However, there are some people more prone to falls than others. For example, older adults are not only more likely to fall than others, they are also much more likely to be injured in a fall. Roughly one out of every person over the age of 65 falls every year.
Certain types of workers are more vulnerable to injuries suffered in a fall. Construction workers often do their jobs at great heights, sometimes on dangerous structures like scaffolding. Aside from highway collisions, falls are the leading cause of construction worker injury in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that falls account for nearly 40 percent of workplace injuries every year.
Falls are also more likely to occur among people taking medications that induce drowsiness or dizziness. This makes medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes a likely location for serious slip and fall injuries. Hundreds of thousands of patients in the United States fall in hospitals, and up to half of those falls lead to injuries.
Common Injuries in Falls
Falls can result in several types of injuries. One of the most severe and common results of a fall is a traumatic brain injury. In fact, falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls are the cause of nearly half of all traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths every year.
Falls also cause many other types of injuries. Falls cause 95 percent of broken hips. They might also lead to other broken bones, such as broken wrists or ankles. Falls from great heights might also cause serious internal injuries or internal bleeding, which could be fatal.
Who is Responsible for a Fall-Related Injury?
In most cases, property owners are responsible for maintaining the condition of a property to ensure its safety. But the responsibility for minimizing fall risks doesn’t end there. In a workplace, the employer or supervisor bears responsibility for ensuring the safety of workers. In a business, the supervisor or other employees might be held accountable if they fail to notify customers or patrons that a surface is unsafe. In hospitals, the staff might also be responsible for identifying and addressing potential fall risks.
The CDC says that a fall injury costs an average of $30,000, though some fall injuries can be much costlier. For example, the CDC points out that the estimated cost of $30,000 doesn’t include indirect costs of a fall, such as lost productivity at work or lost wages, nor does the figure account for the incredible amount of pain and suffering experienced by a fall victim or that victim’s family.
A fall can disrupt a person’s life and lead to many more serious medical conditions. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries from a slip-and-fall accident, you have legal options. Our attorneys can help you determine who should be held responsible for the damages you have suffered. Contact Guajardo & Marks to learn more about what we can do for you. Our consultations are free, and we earn no fee unless we win your case.