Anyone could slip and fall while shopping or visiting an apartment complex. However, some people are at far greater risk of falling and may suffer worse consequences if they do fall. Older adults who are past the age of 55 are more likely than younger people to suffer major medical consequences when they fall, for example, and those over the age of 65 are more likely than the average person to fall.
Roughly one in four adults over the age of 65 will fall each year, often with serious medical consequences. If an older adult suffers a slip-and-fall, they could very easily experience catastrophic consequences.
Falls are often the start of someone’s medical decline
Older adults tend to have lower bone density and reduced musculature when compared with individuals of a similar size at a younger age. Therefore, they are less likely to be able to stop a fall when one occurs and more likely to suffer a broken bone.
Major fractures caused by slip-and-fall scenarios could put older adults in the hospital for weeks. In many cases, that broken bone will be the beginning of a rapid medical decline. Someone confined to bed because they broke their hip or their leg might very quickly start developing secondary health issues and complications that decrease their health and overall quality of life. They may end up living in a nursing home because the risk of falling again is higher when someone already has a major fall on their record. The combination of limited mobility and reduced socialization opportunities could very easily affect someone’s long-term prognosis.
How should older adults handle a fall?
When someone slips and falls in a public location, they should speak up as soon as the incident occurs. Notifying the property manager or business owner about the incident will ensure that there are proper internal records related to the fall. Those records will play a crucial role in someone’s potential future insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
When an older adult falls and has a cascade of medical consequences, it may be possible to take legal action against the property owner or business where the fall occurred. Generally, plaintiffs in such cases would need to establish that negligent care of the facilities caused the slip-and-fall. Premises liability claims could compensate someone for their medical costs and the numerous other expenses potentially generated by the injuries suffered in a slip-and-fall.
Recognizing how expensive and devastating a slip-and-fall might be for an older adult can help individuals to respond effectively to such scenarios. For example, those who fall in public locations may benefit from seeking compensation from a property owner if their fall was caused by a negligent condition of the property in question.