Falls a Leading Cause of Elderly Deaths
Falls are a more serious threat to older Americans than many people may realize. According to a recent warning by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an elderly person falls every second in the United States, leading to serious and even fatal injuries.
The news came in a September 22 press release announcing a new report published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which states that falls are the number one cause of death for Americans age 65 and older. These falls lead to millions of injuries and roughly $3 billion in Medicare costs each year.
Aging population leads to increase in injuries
In 2014, the CDC recorded 29 million falls by elderly Americans, which led to seven million injuries. About 2.8 million of the falls were serious enough to require a visit to a hospital emergency room and 800,000 led to hospitalization. More than 27,000 of the falls are deadly. Topping the list of fall-related injuries are broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
What has gained attention is the increase in the numbers of falls by older adults. With the baby boomer generation approaching late adulthood, 10,000 people are turning 65 each day. The CDC’s report was released in cooperation with the National Council on Aging to coincide with its Falls Prevention Awareness Day, aimed at reversing the climbing injury count.
Most falls by the elderly are preventable
As CDC officials stress, most elderly falls are preventable. To address this, it has created the Stopping Elderly Accident, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) initiative, which calls on healthcare providers to adopt fall prevention routines.
Property owners and occupiers, including businesses, already have a duty to make their property safe and warn visitors of hazards that could cause a slip, trip, or fall. If the person or company responsible for maintaining the premises or warning of unsafe conditions fails to do so and a patron is hurt as a result, they can be liable for the injuries. Slip, trip, and fall injuries can be much more serious for elderly victims so it is imperative to keep areas they frequent in good repair and free of hazards.
When an unsuspecting victim is injured in a trip or fall on someone else’s property and the owner, occupier, or person responsible for maintaining the area is liable, the victim may be entitled to recover damages under theories of premises liability.
These can include reimbursement for:
- Medical bills
- Medication and rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship suffered by a spouse
There is a limit, however, to the length of time that an injury victim has to file a claim. The statute of limitations acts to bar claims after a certain amount of time but that time limit varies based on the specific claims involved. The best thing to do is speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer, who can advise you of the time limitations involved in your specific case.
New York personal injury attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip, trip and fall accident, and suspect that a negligent property owner is at fault, The Sanders Firm can help. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims throughout New York. We always work on a contingency basis so you do not pay unless we win for you. To learn how we can help, call 800-324-7752 for a free consultation.
- CDC, Falls are leading cause of injury and death in older Americans, www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important Facts about Falls, http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
- CBS News, Leading cause of injury, death in older Americans is on the rise, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/falls-leading-cause-of-injury-and-death-among-older-americans/