For many older adults and their younger caretakers, a slip and fall accident presents a medical nightmare. Anyone can slip and fall. However, the older we get, the more brittle our bones become. So, if you are elderly, you face a higher risk of injury or death if you suffer a fall.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that slip and fall injuries actually serve as the leading cause of death among Americans age 65 and older. In May 2018, the CDC issued a report which projected that the number of slip and fall accidents will continue to increase significantly as the Baby Boomer generation ages.
At Joye Law Firm, we want South Carolina residents of all ages to stay safe. We are especially concerned about slip and falls among the elderly, including falls that result from abuse and neglect in nursing homes. The CDC reports that roughly one out of every five slip and fall deaths occurs in these facilities. If your loved one has fallen in a nursing home and you suspect neglect, our South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers can help you to pursue just compensation.
Here, we take a closer look at the recent CDC report, discuss how to prevent slip and falls and describe what you can do after a fall to protect your rights.
Slip and Fall Deaths by the Numbers
In its May 2018 report, the CDC states that the population age 65 and older in the U.S. will hit 8.9 million by 2030. The number of slip and fall-related deaths among the people in this age group will increase as well. According to the CDC:
- 18,334 Americans age 65 and older died from slip and falls in 2007
- 29,668 died in 2016
- If the trend continues, a projected 59,000 will die in 2030 (or 162 deaths per day).
As more older adults slip and fall, the cost to treat them will rise as well. Hospitalization, surgery and other costs associated with care are not cheap. In 2015, Americans as a whole spent more than $50 billion treating slip and fall injuries, Bloomberg reports. The previous year, these accidents cost $31 billion to Medicare alone. As the population ages and falls more often, those figures will continue to balloon, putting a severe strain on the taxpayer-funded social safety net programs that many older Americans rely on. These costs will fall on a younger generation that may never see the benefits.
Of course, this startling rise in slip and fall deaths – and related costs – is only one part of a larger set of health problems that confronts our elderly population in South Carolina and across the country. However, while problems such as heart disease and cancer may be unpreventable in many cases, slip and falls can always be prevented. So, this is one area where we can make an improvement if we raise awareness. We can take concrete steps to prevent these injuries.
How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
Here are some helpful steps you can take even within your own home to prevent yourself or older relatives from falling. You can:
- Clear up clutter such as electrical wires.
- Secure the edges of rugs and carpeting to the floor.
- Fix broken floorboards, cracked pavement and other uneven surfaces.
- Clean up spills immediately after they occur.
- Ensure that walkways, inside and outside, are well lit so people can watch their step.
- Arrange furniture with wide walkways to prevent tripping.
- Remove small objects from the floor that present tripping hazards.
- Add rails and bars to stairs, bathtubs and other fixtures.
Unfortunately, even if we take steps to prevent falls in our homes, we cannot control how others treat their property and their visitors. When we visit the property of another, we may face dangers such as:
- Uneven surfaces
- Wet and icy surfaces
- Dimly lit walkways
- Small objects on the floor
- Narrow walkways between furniture and other objects.
If you or someone you love suffers injuries in a slip and fall accident because a business or property owner failed to address or warn about these hazards, you should seek help right away from an experienced South Carolina slip and fall attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain, suffering and more.
Get Help from a South Carolina Slip and Fall Injury Attorney Today
Recovering from a slip and fall accident, helping a relative to recover from his or her injuries or dealing with the loss of a loved one due to a fall can present a myriad of physical, emotional and financial challenges. At Joye Law Firm, we want to make a difference for you and do everything we can to improve the quality of your life. To learn more about how we can help you after a slip and fall in South Carolina, contact us today and receive a free consultation.