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Fall Injury Prevention Week Highlights Risks for Older Adults

National Fall Prevention Week is a critical reminder of the risk of serious or fatal injuries resulting from falls, particularly when it comes to older adults here in Southwest Florida. slip and fall

The National Safety Council is promoting fall accident prevention from Sept. 23-29, noting that every 20 minutes an older adult is killed in a fall in the United States. While younger fall victims are more easily able to escape serious injury, older adults are much more prone to suffering serious, permanent disability, as well as loss of independence and mobility after a fall accident.

Injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral know many of these falls are preventable. Those who think fall injuries too often result in frivolous lawsuits have never suffered a serious fall. The fact is, fall injuries can be devastating. Not only do they account for the leading cause of death among older Americans, they account for one-third of all non-fatal injuries reported in the United States.

Liability for Fall Injuries in Southwest Florida

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 800,000 people are hospitalized with fall related injuries each year, most commonly for joint injuries or head injuries.

Falls at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are a daily occurrence. While it’s true that frail older adults prone to falling are often placed in professional care, it’s equally true that families and loved ones place elderly family members in such professional facilities precisely to reduce the risks of serious or fatal injuries resulting from preventable falls.

Commercial facilities, including restaurants, tourist attractions, movie theaters and shopping malls, also have an obligation to protect customers from preventable fall injuries. This is particularly true if they cater to an older clientele.

F.S. 768.0755 is among the Florida laws that govern liability for fall injuries. In the case of transitory foreign substances in a business establishment, the law requires a business establishment to have actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. Constructive knowledge means a dangerous condition existed for a long enough period of time to have been discovered by a reasonably diligent operator. 

While it’s true customers visiting a business establishment are owed a higher duty of care when it comes to keeping a premises free from known or foreseeable risks, it’s also true that these cases require our injury lawyers in Cape Coral and Fort Myers to conduct a thorough investigation as part of a comprehensive claim for damages.

Older Adult Fall Prevention

Annual vision checks are recommended for senior citizens. Additional safety steps for older adults include:

  • Removing clutter and monitoring home environment for trip hazards, including rugs and extension chords.
  • Leave plenty of room for walking, arrange furniture appropriately to keep aisles clear while providing handholds.
  • Install grab bars in tubs and showers, where many falls to a hard surface result in serious or fatal injuries.
  • Keep outdoor walking areas well lit.
  • Use a cane or other walking assistance if necessary.

Check your risk for falling: This self-assessment from the CDC allows you to compute your fall risk. Be sure to share the results with your doctor.

If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.