Every year, millions of people are taken to emergency rooms across the country due to slip, trip and fall accidents. In fact, in a recent publication by the Centers for Disease Control, unintentional falls accounted for an incredible 91.8 percent of injury-related ER visits. By comparison, vehicle crashes accounted for only 7.8 percent.
Of course, not all falls result in serious injury. Many victims visit the ER after a fall to learn that they have suffered relatively minor injuries, such as bruising or a twisted ankle. On the other hand, when victims are diagnosed with serious injuries after a fall, they are often life-altering. This is the case with traumatic brain injury; a fall-related TBI can cause life-long suffering or even lead to death.
How Common Are TBIs After Falls?
According to a recent study, traumatic brain injuries result in over 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths each year in the United States. Furthermore, TBIs are responsible for $76.5 billion in medical fees alone. TBIs are often the result of fall accidents, although the rate at which victims suffer TBIs from falls seems to be connected to other factors such as age.
The elderly are most likely to experience a TBI from a fall. In fact, falls are the most common cause of TBI to the elderly, representing between 50 and 80 percent of all cases. Furthermore, elderly people are more likely to suffer more serious or even deadly consequences from a fall-related TBI. They simply do not heal as quickly as younger people, and therefore are more likely to suffer long-term or life-threatening effects.
What Are the Causes of Fall-Related TBIs?
Some of the most common causes of fall-related TBIs include:
- Ice, melting snow, spilled water tracked in from rain and other weather-related hazards are some of the most common causes of falls for the elderly. Winter sees an increase in these hazards, but they can occur at any time of the year.
- Oil, grease, and slippery surfaces. When something slippery is spilled, whether in a parking lot or on a walkway, danger can result. Slick surfaces are a major cause of falls.
- Loose flooring. Carpeting or mats that are not secured, or flooring that has buckled or warped, can lead to falls and injuries. Flooring must be fixed at the first possible opportunity in order to prevent these types of falls.
- Inadequate lighting. The lighting in an area can lead to falls if it is insufficient or throws too many shadows. Elderly people in particular rely on being able to see where they are walking, so any variation in lighting that leads to dim walkways can be dangerous.
- Items left on stairs, in walkways or jutting out from structures can pose a fall risk. Walkways should always be free of debris, and items should never be left on stairwells.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury due to a fall, Barber & Associates are here to help. Give us a call to discuss your case so that we can help you collect the compensation you deserve.