Elderly slip and fall accidents are a serious concern, causing our loved ones severe injuries and threatening their independence. Health and medication issues and decreased strength and balance make seniors more susceptible to fall injuries. In fact, “Every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If your parent or other loved one is of advanced age, educate yourself about ways to reduce the risks of falls, as well as how to handle emergency situations in the event she slips and falls. Below we share some tips on handling slip and fall accidents involving older adults, concerning both medical and legal issues.
If you have legal questions regarding an elderly slip and fall accident, call the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC for a free consultation: 404-474-0804.
What steps should I take if my elderly loved one falls?
How you handle a fall depends on the severity of the accident and whether your loved one is conscious.
Conscious – If your loved one falls and is still alert:
- Quickly assess the situation. Look for bleeding and swelling.
- Ask her if she feels any pain or light headedness.
- Try to keep her relaxed.
- If there does not appear to be any injury and she feels okay, help her to her feet, slowly and carefully.
- Call 9-1-1 for medical assistance, if necessary.
- Call her doctor to schedule a check-up and to discuss your concerns.
Unconscious – If your loved one is unresponsive:
- Call 9-1-1 for medical assistance.
- Check her vital signs, e.g., her pulse, pupils, bleeding, etc. and relay the info the dispatcher.
- Do not attempt to an unconscious person.
- Stay by her side until emergency personnel arrive.
How can I prevent future fall injuries for older adults?
Before we get into the legal issues you might face following an elderly slip and fall accident, let’s review how to prevent future occurrences of these serious accidents.
Older adults are at greater risk for falls than other populations for several reasons. They may have health issues or medication side effects that affect their vision and balance, and they often have bone loss, decreased muscle tone, and reduced flexibility that can affect their coordination, gait, and strength.
And once your loved one is hurt in a fall accident, she is more likely to fall again in the future. Prevention is key. There are simple measures you can take to reduce the risk of your loved one falling again:
- Talk to her and her doctor about any medications or contraindications that could cause balance issues.
- Evaluate the home for fall hazards like loose rugs or cords, and install rails or emergency responsive devices if needed.
- If your loved one is in a nursing home or other facility, ask the nurses or administration about their fall prevention policies.
- Encourage your loved one to exercise and engage in physical activities approved by her doctor, such as walking or light stretching, for example.
There is a wealth of free information about fall prevention available, as well. NIH Senior Health, and the CDC are some good places to start.
Are there any legal measures I can take for my loved one’s fall?
Depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s fall, you might be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit and recover damages. Attorney Jason R. Schultz has handled numerous slip and fall cases over the last 25+ years and would be happy to discuss your case with you and determine if you qualify for compensation. You can reach his office by calling 404-474-0804.
To have a valid claim or suit for an elderly fall accident, another party must have caused or contributed to your loved one’s fall. We will review the facts around the accident and determine if someone is liable.
For instance, if the doctor gave your loved one too much medication or prescribed the wrong medication which subsequently led or contributed to your loved one’s fall, there may be a cause to file a claim. Likewise, if a nursing home worker abused your loved one or neglected basic caregiver duties (like cleaning up a spill) and your love fell as a result, you may be eligible to file a claim. In other situations, a manufacturer (e.g., a defective walker manufacturer) or a place of business (cords or merchandise in the aisles) may be the liable party.
Because there may be various factors involved, determining liability can be complex. Our firm has the resources and knowledge to investigate and pursue all types of injury claims, including elderly slip and fall cases. We can explain your rights and responsibilities, gather evidence to support your claim, and help you take the next steps. Explore your options with Jason R. Schultz today.
What types of damages can I recover after my loved one’s fall?
If your loved one’s fall was another party’s fault and you successfully file a liability claim, you might be able to collect reimbursement for all her expenses and emotional losses related to the fall, such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Hiring in-home nursing care
- The cost of adding features to the home like railings or a wheelchair ramp
- Pain and suffering and reduced quality of life
If your loved one’s fall injuries were fatal, you can seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim, such as for funeral and burial expenses, loss of support, and other harms.
To determine the potential value of your claim or for general legal questions about elderly slip and fall accidents or legal representation, contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, PC. for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.