Slip-and-fall accidents are one of the most common injuries in today’s society. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits annually. Slips and falls account for about 12 percent of total falls. Most falls are not fatal, but slip-and-fall accidents do represent the primary reason adults miss work.
Risk of falls by age
Some people face a higher risk of slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace and the community. Senior citizens face a high risk of injuries during falls. Falls are the leading occupational injury for workers over the age of 55. People over 85 face the highest risk of death due to a fall, no matter where it occurs. Most fatalities from falls occur in those who are 75 or older.
It is estimated that about one-third of all senior citizens will sustain a fall each year. Many of these falls lead to nursing home admissions because the elderly cannot live independently following a fall that causes a hip fracture. Seniors also face a higher risk of a spinal cord or brain injury after a fall. Seniors’ bodies are more vulnerable to injuries.
What to do after a slip-and-fall accident
When a person gets injured on someone else’s premises, it is possible that the fall could have been prevented. As an employee, the injured would have a workers’ compensation claim, but if he or she is shopping and trips on a piece of carpet or slips on a puddle in the aisle, he or she may have a personal injury claim. These steps can be taken to protect evidence in case an injury is serious:
- Get medical treatment. Save all the paperwork received from health care providers. Keep bills organized, too.
- If possible, safely take pictures after the fall. Make notes about the weather conditions or store conditions that day.
- Take down witness names, if there are any.
- Tell the store manager about the accident. Just give the facts. Do not make any claims about fault.
- Save all clothing or shoes as evidence of chemicals on the floor.
Premises liability for slip-and-fall accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents that could have been prevented fall under a legal concept known as premises liability. Demonstrating that the owners of a property are liable for a person’s injuries can be difficult, but the owners should be held accountable for the safety of their property. For senior citizens, the injuries could be life-altering, and compensation would be needed for all medical expenses after a fall, past and future. Contacting an attorney about an accident is a good first step.