Did you know that falls have become the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among the elderly population? Older adults are at greater risk of fall-related injuries, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). As the Aging & Disability Resource Center of Broward County reports, as of 2014, Florida’s seniors accounted for 23 percent of the total population, and that number is expected to rise to about 28 percent by the year 2020. To put that number in perspective, seniors accounted for 14.5 percent of the total U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census.
Given that Florida has one of the highest populations of adults aged 65 and older, it is extremely important to learn more about preventing fall-related injuries at your home and at your business. If an elderly loved one recently slipped and fell, you should learn more about filing a premises liability lawsuit.
Getting the Facts About Falls Among the Elderly in Florida
A fact sheet from the Florida Department of Health emphasizes that older adult falls are extremely serious, and that they come with physical, emotional, and financial costs. In 2014 alone, nearly 2,500 seniors suffered fatal injuries in fall accidents and nearly 51,000 required hospitalization for nonfatal fall-related injuries. In addition to the physical and psychological costs of these falls for the victims and their families, there are also steep financial costs. To be sure, the average cost for a fall-related hospitalization is over $46,000, and in 2014 the total financial cost was in excess of $3.3 billion. On average, seniors who suffer nonfatal falls require hospitalization for four days.
When seniors fall, it diminishes their quality of life. Many fear falling again, resulting in depression and other psychological wounds. Broken bones and other serious injuries from a fall often lead to a senior’s forced relocation to an assisted-living facility or a nursing home, causing stress for the older adult and his or her family members.
Who is Responsible for Older Adult Falls?
Many falls among the elderly can be prevented. Seniors and their families should ensure that the older adult exercises regularly, that her eyes are checked yearly by a doctor, and that prescription medicines are not adding to the risk of a fall. In addition, homes and businesses can be outfitted to limit the risk of falls.
In some situations, homeowners or business owners may be liable if a senior suffers a fall-related injury on the premises. A fact sheet from The Hartford emphasizes that business owners can take steps to prevent falls among elderly and other patrons, such as:
- Regularly checking your business for fall risks, such as slick floors, uneven flooring surfaces, broken or cracked walkways, and potholes or other defects in your business parking lot;
- Immediately repairing any noticeable hazards, including repairing damaged carpet or flooring and filling holes in your parking lot;
- Installing high-quality lighting along walkways and in parking areas to prevent injuries;
- Installing warning signs if there is a fall hazard that cannot be immediately repaired or remedied;
- Scheduling daily checks of the premises to look for any spills or other hazardous spots; and
- Planning for inclement weather, particularly heavy rains in Florida that could lead to slick walkways.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in West Palm Beach
If your elderly loved one recently slipped and fell, you should discuss your case with a West Palm Beach premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC today for more information.