The National Safety Council reports that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for adults 65 years of age or older. More than 8 million senior citizens arrive in emergency rooms across the country every year for fall-related injuries. These accidents often occur in the home or in senior care facilities. The statistics are troubling for Florida, as nearly 17 percent of the state’s population are older adults.
If you’re a senior living in Florida, here’s what you need to know about receiving compensation for your slip and fall injuries.
When an older adult falls, they frequently suffer fractured hips, arms, wrists and shoulders. A senior citizen may require hospitalization and surgical intervention to repair the fracture. In the event that an older adult needs surgery, general anesthesia poses a risk of cognitive impairment.
Some elderly people may endure a traumatic brain injury from hitting their head. A traumatic brain injury can cause cerebral hemorrhage, blood clots, brain swelling and neuron damage.
As older adults often have a number of medical conditions, they are more susceptible to developing complications after a fall, which might include cardiovascular disease processes, dementia, strokes or heart attacks.
When an older adult suffers an injury, their body requires more time to heal. They may need long-term physical therapy. A senior may also need the assistance of family members or in-home care to help with the household duties they cannot perform while recovering. They might also require help with personal care ranging from position changes, mobility, dressing, bathing, toileting and meal preparation.
There are many different strategies that seniors and their family members should implement to decrease the risk of falls in the home. These include:
Prescription medications commonly have a number of side effects. Different formulations may induce drowsiness or dizziness that increase the likelihood of slip and falls. If a medication alters an elderly adult’s perception or balance, discuss the prescription with a physician to determine if a dosage adjustment is necessary, or if a different medication might be more appropriate.
Also, ensure that seniors regularly have their vision and hearing checked. Poor vision, in particular, may lead to visual perception problems that lead to falls.
Retirement communities, long-term care or assisted living facilities may have property maintenance hazards that pose a fall risk. For instance, a senior resident might encounter a wet floor in a hallway, a bathroom, a public area or their room. Obstacles may block or obstruct walkways. Electrical cords may be out in the open and present a trip hazard. Handrails might be loose or missing.
An older adult having cognitive impairment or a physical disability may not be able to safely change positions or ambulate without supervision and assistance. If fall precautions are not implemented or the senior is not sufficiently monitored, they may become a fall victim.
Administrators, property managers and owners are responsible for the upkeep of properties in order to ensure their safety at all times. If a senior suffers an injury secondary to circumstances that should have been remedied, the administrator, manager or owner is liable. However, Florida law does make difficult for seniors or family members to realize compensation for liability, which is why it’s important you consult a slip and fall lawyer near you.
Florida’s Liability Law was amended in 2010. The current slip and fall law passed by the state is known as Florida Statute 768.0755.
If a person slips and falls on a transitory foreign substance in a business establishment, the injured person must prove that the business establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and should have taken action to remedy it. Constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence showing that:
(a) The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the condition; or
(b) The condition occurred with regularity and was therefore foreseeable.
(2) This section does not affect any common-law duty of care owed by a person or entity in possession or control of a business premises.
In short, the new law requires that a plaintiff, a senior or family member has the responsibility of demonstrating the burden of proof that a defendant or property administrator had knowledge of the danger or should have known about the danger but failed to make the necessary correction or repair.
If an elderly loved one falls, they should receive immediate medical attention. The expenses that a senior or their family members might incur secondary to medical treatment and ongoing care may not be covered by private insurance or Medicare.
If a senior loved one falls and suffers an injury due to the neglect of another, he or she (or a family member) should consult with experienced slip and fall lawyers for compensation. The attorneys at Tragos Law Firm are trained and experienced in dealing with personal liability cases. We have the knowledge and skill needed to navigate the litigation needed to prove liability.