The thought of venturing outside the home evokes a sense of fear in many people. Why is that the case? While individuals are familiar with and can maintain a certain degree of quality control over their surroundings in their home or around their property, they lack it when out and about on others’ premises, or when they have to rely on others. Auto accidents and slip and fall accidents are by far some of the most common dangers that individuals face daily when out in public.
Certain circumstances result in slip and fall accidents more than others. Some people are more vulnerable to being hurt in these incidents than others. We can all benefit from learning tips to avoid such incidents and what to do if they occur.
How Big of an Issue Are Slips and Falls?
Statistics published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding slips and falls are staggering. The federal agency’s data shows that:
- Falls result in 800,000 annual hospitalizations in the U.S.
- An overwhelming 95% of patients who are diagnosed with fractured hips suffer these injuries in a fall.
- Falls cost insurance companies and consumers more than $50 billion annually.
- Traumatic brain injuries most commonly result from falls rather than contact sport incidents or car accidents.
Are Some People More Likely Than Others To Have a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slips and falls are particularly common among older Americans. It’s not uncommon for seniors to experience multiple slips and falls during their lifetime. CDC statistics show that 25% of adults older than 65 fall each year in the U.S.
Less than half of these people report their incidents to their physicians. This statistic is concerning, considering how CDC research shows that once an individual experiences a fall, their chances of doing so again become twice as likely.
What Injuries Most Commonly Result From Slip and Fall Incidents?
CDC data shows that as many as 1 million patients face hospitalization after suffering injuries in slip and fall accidents each year. Many of those patients end up being diagnosed with life-altering injuries once there.
Doctors end up diagnosing at least 20% of those patients seen in hospital emergency rooms with serious injuries, such as bone or skull fractures. While traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are the most common injury resulting from slip and falls, at least 300,000 patients receive hip fracture diagnoses each year.
Where Are Slips and Falls Most Apt To Occur?
Many individuals would assume that a slip and fall incident would only occur during a bitterly cold Williamsport, PA winter when snow and ice are in abundance. While any Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will tell you that there’s likely an uptick in such incidents during the coldest months of the year, everyone must remain vigilant for other potential hazards any time of the year, including:
- Wet, soapy, or waxed floors at stores and office buildings
- Uneven pavement
- Parking lot potholes
- Frayed carpets
- Obstructions, such as toys and trash
- Floor mats with rolled edges
- Unmarked curbs
- Slippery or chipped tiles in bathrooms or around swimming pools
- Improperly illuminated or cluttered staircases
The concerns above are only some of the many issues that can result in someone facing an above-average risk for suffering slip and fall injuries.
Seniors, disabled individuals, and others facing physical limitations often hurt themselves in slip and fall incidents because:
- Facilities aren’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- There’s inadequate staffing to tend to their needs, leading these individuals to attempt to do things that overextend themselves.
Each of these concerns can put individuals at risk of getting hurt.
Are Slips and Falls Preventable?
There are a variety of measures that individuals can take to minimize their chances of suffering a slip and fall incident. These approaches include:
Being cognizant of your surroundings: One tip that you’ll often see recommended for motorists to follow is to regularly scan the roadway for potential dangers. The same logic should apply to individuals looking to prevent slips and falls. A quick review of your surroundings may help you notice spills on floors, chipped tiles, potholes, or other potential slip and fall hazards.
Taking stock of the side effects your medications pose: Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs carry with them certain side effects, some of which may be drowsiness and dizziness. You may want to avoid running errands alone if at all possible if these are potential side effects that your medications cause.
Staying on top of your health: Heart conditions, vertigo, traumatic brain injuries, certain seizure disorders, migraines, low blood pressure, and other health concerns can make individuals more susceptible to balance issues and thus falls. You may want to take special precautions, such as asking someone to accompany you on your trips, if these are concerns for you. You may also want to have your vitamin levels periodically checked to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you require, such as vitamin D, which helps strengthen your bones.
Dressing right for conditions: Individuals often risk getting hurt because of their footwear choices. Take time to carefully select appropriate shoes for your activity and the weather. For example, don’t wear high heels to the office if it’s snowing, rainy, or icy outside. It may also not be ideal for wearing open-toe shoes if you’re hiking in rugged areas.
You can greatly reduce your chances of getting hurt if you regularly scan your surroundings, stay on top of your health, are careful about your choices when you’re on certain medications, and by figuring in conditions when deciding what to wear.
How To Handle a Slip and Fall Accident When One Occurs
There are instances in which you may do everything possible to ensure your safety, yet someone else’s negligence puts you at an increased risk of getting hurt.
You may be wondering, “What should I do after a slip and fall accident?” You’ll want to report the incident to the property owner or the person in charge, take photographs of the scene where the incident occurred, and secure witness contact information and statements if possible. This information will be key in helping your personal injury attorney, like ours at Stapp Law, LLC, prove liability in your case.