Slip and fall accidents are difficult cases to litigate, especially when your client is an older adult. More often than not the injuries sustained during an unintentional fall, if not immediately fatal, can cause functional impairments that may require admission to a nursing home for a year or even longer. The physical and emotional toll this inevitably takes on the client and their family is enormous.
In 2003, 13,700 persons over age 65 died from injuries sustained as a result of an unintentional fall. An additional 1.8 million older adults were treated in emergency rooms for nonfatal injuries sustained as a result of unintentional falls. As sobering as these statistics may be, they are but the tip of the iceberg. The Center for Disease Control, in an effort to examine trends for fatal and nonfatal falls among older persons, published a report which summarized the results of their analysis.
The report indicated that the overall rate of fatal falls among persons aged 65 increased during the years between 1993-2003, while the rate of hospitalizations for non-fatal injuries decreased. There was no significant overall rate of change in the statistics associated with nonfatal injuries from falls during 2001-2005.
The CDC determined that implementation of interventions on a wider and more comprehensive level would produce further reductions in those sobering statistics. The CDC recommended increased community involvement with older adults aimed at promoting:
1. Regular exercise in the target population
2. Regular reviews of medicine to reduce side effects and interactions.
All things considered, an ounce of prevention is surely worth a pound of cure.