Slip and Falls Can be Fatal for Elderly Individuals

Posted by Ryan Russman | May 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

A slip and fall accident can result in serious injury, especially in elderly individuals. Businesses and retail stores that cater to older adults should take extra caution to make sure that their premises are safe from slip and fall and trip and fall hazards. Not only does premises liability law require property owners to keep their land and structures relatively safe for all visitors, any business such as a nursing home or medical supply company that deals with elderly individuals on a regular basis has a duty to their patrons to make sure they stay safe. If a land owner or property manager neglects this duty, individual who are injured may be entitled to seek compensation for their medical expenses.  To find out more about elderly victims' right to compensation in New Hampshire, contact an experienced injury lawyer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults over the age of 65 have the biggest risk of being seriously injured from a fall related accident. They estimate that 1 out of 3 adults over 65 will experience a fall every year and that 20% to 30% of them will suffer moderate to severe injuries as a result. Additionally, these injuries can have long-term effects making it difficult for seniors to get around or live alone and, in some cases, they may even lead to death. The CDC also reports that, in 2011, emergency rooms treated 2.4 million elderly individuals for slip and fall or trip and fall injuries.

In addition to the physical pain and suffering, a fall related injury can also be very expensive. In fact, among community dwelling older adults, fall related injuries are one of the 20 most expensive medical conditions. The CDC states that the average Medicare cost for a fall related injury was between $13,797 and $20,450. In a 1998 study of people aged 72 and older who were injured in fall related accidents found that the average health care cost per person was about $19,440. In 2010 alone, the CDC estimates that the total direct medical costs for fall injuries occurring in people age 65 and older was about $30 billion. By 2020, they estimate the annual direct and indirect costs of these types of injuries will reach $67.7 billion. In nonfatal fall injuries, hospitalizations account for nearly two thirds of the total cost of care.

Slip and fall injuries are quite common among the elderly. In 2002, 22% of community dwelling senior citizens reported having fallen the year before. The CDC found that the costs for medical care from injuries resulting from falls in senior citizens was made up of the following:

  • 65% of costs went to direct medical care for inpatient hospitalization
  • 10% of costs went to medical office visits and home health care
  • 8% of costs went towards hospital outpatient visits
  • 7% of costs were for emergency room visits
  • 1% of costs went towards prescription drug and dental visits

In addition to these costs for care and treatment of the injury, a serious fall injury can have long-term effects that cause an elderly person to become unable to live on their own. This can result in a drastic change of life and additional costs for an in-home aide or nursing home.

Slip and falls occur every day. Though some are minor, studies have shown that as an individual's age advances, so does their risk of experiencing serious injury from a fall. When an individual slip and falls, there are number of injuries that they may experience. The Center for Disease Control found that in 78% of fatal fall injuries, the victim died as a result of a traumatic brain injury and injuries to the lower extremities. 28% of fall related deaths involved injury to an internal organ.

The most common non-fatal slip and fall injury is a bone fracture. More than one third of nonfatal slip and fall victims experience fractures. The CDC found that these fall fractures account for about $18.8 billion in medical costs every year. Hip fractures are the most serious and costly fall related nonfatal injury. In elderly individuals a hip fracture can often require surgery, the loss of their ability to walk and often the loss of their ability to live independently.

If you or an elderly loved one have been hurt in a slip and fall accident away from home in New Hampshire, contact a personal injury attorney right away. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses as well as other costs associated with the injury.

About the Author

Ryan Russman

Attorney Ryan Russman has dedicated his career to fighting for the rights of New Hampshire citizens. His practice, based in Exeter (Rockingham County) New Hampshire, is limited to cases involving DWI and DUI, other motor vehicle and criminal cases, and many cases involving personal injury. He is, however, best known as one of New Hampshire's leading legal authorities on DWI.


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