Accidental falls are very common, causing millions of injuries every year throughout the United States.  While anyone can have a slip and fall accident, elderly adults are at heightened risk due to age-associated health factors such as muscle weakness, poor eyesight, sensory deficits, slowed reflexes, and circulatory problems affecting the feet.  Sadly, many older adult falls are preventable accidents which occur due to the negligence, or carelessness, of others.  If your mom or dad was injured after falling at a grocery store, nursing home, restaurant, shopping mall, or other type of property in California, you should talk to an experienced Ventura slip and fall lawyer.  Depending on why, where, and how the fall occurred, the property owner may be liable for providing personal injury compensation.

Statistics on Deaths and Injuries Caused by Senior Adult Falls

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year approximately 2.5 million older adults – defined by the CDC as adults aged 65 and above – require treatment at an emergency department for fall-related injuries.  Roughly 28% of these injury victims – about 700,000 people – need to be hospitalized.

Some of the most common injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents among the elderly are pelvic fractures (broken hips) and head injuries.  Nearly all pelvic fractures among senior adults – 19 out of 20 — are caused by unintentional falls, which were also reported to be the number one cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) from 2006 to 2010.  During this time period, falls accounted for more than 40% of U.S. TBI cases among all age demographics, substantially more than other leading causes like object strikes (15.5%), car accidents and traffic (14.3%), and assaults (10.7%).  Specifically among older adults, falls cause 81% of TBI cases – about twice as many as within the general population.

Severe TBI is a catastrophic injury that can fundamentally alter everything about the victim’s life, potentially resulting in cognitive impairment, balance problems, loss of mobility, loss of sensation, and problems with memory and communication.  He or she may require constant professional care, depending on the effects of the head injury.

Pelvic fractures, which may require surgical repair, can also have serious complications for seniors.  According to a study published in peer-reviewed medical journal Surgery, “Elderly patients sustaining a pelvic fracture were more likely to have a… longer hospital length of stay, and die despite aggressive resuscitation…  [T]rauma surgeons [should] recognize that the elderly patient sustaining a pelvic fracture is at increased risk of death.”

In addition to having a high potential for causing devastating injuries, falls also cause approximately 27,000 deaths annually among older adults.

What Do You Need to Prove to Be Compensated for a Slip and Fall Accident in Ventura, California?

Many unintentional falls, including falls from heights, occur because of property hazards, such as:

  • Chipped, cracked, or crumbling stairs and steps.
  • Flimsy, wobbling railings or banisters that aren’t properly anchored.
  • Inadequate lighting to illuminate the floor.
  • Rotting floorboards that collapse under a normal amount of weight.
  • Unrepaired leaks, puddles, and wet spots.

In many cases, these and other property hazards develop because the property’s owner does not take reasonable measures – often for the sake of saving money – that are necessary to maintain the premises in a state that is safe for inhabitants, guests, and patrons.  For example, a landlord might delay repairing a cracked tile or broken railing in a common area of an apartment building, or a maintenance worker might fail to adequately perform repairs that were scheduled to a pipe, floor, electrical system, or elevator.

When an elderly person is injured in an accidental fall which occurs due to the negligence of a property owner, the property owner may be liable for the resulting injuries, or, if the accident is fatal, for wrongful death.  This concept is known as premises liability.  Many of the personal injury claims our California premises liability lawyers handle involve accidental falls.

Property owners have a duty of care toward residents and visitors, which involves ensuring that their grounds, parking lots, and/or buildings are safe.  When this duty of care is breached, or violated, causing a senior to be harmed as a result, it may be possible to recover compensation.  A slip and fall accident attorney may draw upon evidence such as maintenance records, photographs, and witness statements when trying to prove that the property owner was negligent and should be held liable for compensating the victim.  The plaintiff is responsible for proving that negligence caused the injury or death, which is called the “burden of proof.”

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Was Your Parent Injured on Someone Else’s Property? Contact Our Premises Liability Attorneys

If your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather suffered a hip fracture, head injury, or other serious injury after they fell on another person’s property in California, you should consult with a personal injury attorney about the possibility of getting compensated.  If your loved one’s accident was caused by negligence, he or she may have a slip and fall claim, and may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses, including anticipated losses.

To talk about your family member’s accident claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the experienced premises liability lawyers of The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC at (805) 643-5555.  Proudly serving Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, we have over 20 years of experience helping injured Californians recover the compensation they deserve.