It may come as a surprise to learn that falls are, globally, the second main cause of death due to unintentional injury; that is, around 680,000 people die from injuries sustained from a fall every year. Some fall facts and statistics clearly indicate that it is older adults most at-risk and who endure the most fatal falls annually. However, slip and fall lawyers have seen that anyone can experience an accidental slip and fall due to environmental or other causes.
As for less serious slip and fall injuries, over 37 million fall-related incidents require medical attention. The toll on the healthcare system is not slight. Falls are also blamed for significant loss of DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), resulting in impaired function, limited mobility, and a decrease in overall life quality for many.
In these instances, we encourage you to speak with our slip and fall lawyers to learn if you might be entitled to money for your losses.
So, what causes people to slip and fall? More importantly, how can these accidents and subsequent injuries be prevented?
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Why do people slip and fall? There are a few common denominators and causes of these accidents:
● Slick surfaces, like a wet floor
● Sub-par, uneven, or shoddy flooring
● Environmental or natural conditions, like ice or poor lighting
● Unsafe stairs, steps, or ladders
● Complacency or ignoring safety measures
There are other causes of falls, like medical episodes or loss of balance, too. However, it is more difficult to prevent these types of incidents compared to a typical slip and fall accident.
Risk Factors for a Fall
Are there factors that would put you more at risk for a slip and fall? Yes, there are some risk factors that impact the chance that you will take a nasty fall, including your age. It is estimated that most injuries and fatal falls are among those that are 60 and older.
Around 25% of seniors that fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, and the likelihood of a serious injury increases as you age.
Children also are at risk for slip and fall injuries. This is often due to their urge to be independent and a predisposition towards risk-taking, or sometimes a lack of supervision. What other factors increase your risk of a fall?
● Females fall more often, but men are more likely to suffer a fatal fall.
● If you have a hazardous occupation, you are more at risk for a fall and fall-related injury.
● Substance use and abuse put you more at risk of a fall.
● Overcrowded living conditions can play a role.
● Poor vision can contribute to falls.
● Medication can cause side effects that increase your fall risk.
● Medical issues, including cardiac or neurological conditions, can cause falls.
It should be noted that a lack of flexibility and physical inactivity can also put you more at risk for an injurious fall. A loss of coordination or lack of balance can also contribute to falls among those who may have sedentary lifestyles.
Common Injuries from a Fall
The types of injuries sustained can run the gamut from mild and benign to fatal. The most common, perhaps less-serious types of injuries after a slip and fall include:
● Backaches and pain
● Bruising and soft tissue damage
● Cuts and lacerations
● Sprains, commonly in the ankles and wrists
● Torn ligaments or dislocations
● Nerve damage Depending on your age and physical condition, you should seek medical attention after a fall to ensure you are not seriously injured. More serious injuries merit calling for emergency assistance and transport to prevent further injury.
Serious Fall-Related Injuries
What are the most serious injuries sustained from slipping and falling? Know that falls can be fatal. Some of the more significant and chronic problems caused by a fall are:
Neck injuries are common when you slip and fall, but most serious neck issues come from trying to prevent yourself from falling. Some neck injuries following falls require surgery to repair.
Broken wrists are among the most common orthopedic injuries that can result from a slip and fall. Seniors may be more vulnerable to fractures and broken bones due to brittle bones. Furthermore, a broken bone can compromise and jeopardize the mobility and independence of older individuals.
Hip or Pelvis Fracture
In serious falls, you could break your hip or pelvis. These types of injuries often require surgery and a long recuperation. Broken hips and pelvis bones can lead to lifelong mobility limitations.
You may not consider eye injuries related to a slip and fall, but they happen. Abrasions, burns, scratches, or trauma can cause eyes to hemorrhage and bleed. You could experience a crack or fracture of an eye socket during a fall- which is a painful injury to endure. Some trauma to the eyes can lead to irreversible vision loss.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
TBIs are injuries that occur when you hit your head- often in a serious fall. From simple bumps and bruises to concussions and skull fractures, you should always see your medical provider when experiencing a blow to the head, as TBIs can affect cognition, bodily function and cause life-threatening seizures.
Spinal Cord Injury
It is also possible to damage your spinal cord in a fall. If you fall on your back or twist awkwardly to avoid falling, you risk a spinal cord injury. These include hernias, slipped discs, muscle spasms, chronic back pain, and paralysis.
Emotional Toll of a Fall
Beyond physical injuries, a fall and subsequent injury can take an emotional toll and cause psychological distress. Falling is an innate fear instilled in humans from infancy, and experiencing a fall can have severe psychological effects long after. In fact, fear of falling again can cause many people to isolate and withdraw, which can lead to debilitating anxiety and depression.
Reducing Slip and Fall Incidents
Accidents do happen, but the best way to reduce slip and fall injuries is with prevention. Fall prevention for seniors, or others who may be prone to a fall, usually includes changes to the environment. Also, share safety tips and strategies with those in your life more susceptible to a fall — it could prevent an injury!
Some ways to reduce the risk of an injurious fall include these suggestions:
● Enhance lighting, especially around doorways and stairways.
● Consider investing in mobility aids, like grab-bars, for support.
● Assess the home for clutter and hazards, like unsecured flooring or carpeting.
● Wear sensible footwear and clothing that is not too big or loose. Evaluate your environment for safety issues that could contribute to a fall. While you cannot always predict an accidental injury, you can reduce the risk with these common-sense solutions. Troubleshoot and seek out hazards that could possibly cause a fall to address and avoid these incidents.
Contact Carrollton Slip and Fall Lawyers If You Have Sustained Injuries From a Recent Fall
Carrollton slip and fall lawyers urge that falls should be taken very seriously— and preventing them should be a priority. If you or someone you know experiences a fall, consider seeking medical assistance right away. Depending on the circumstances, it may be prudent to call an ambulance for assistance. The best way to reduce fall-related injuries is to avoid falls altogether. Use these tips to make your home or workplace a safer environment and potentially reduce the risk of these unfortunate incidents, accidents, and injuries from occurring