Understanding How Falls Can be Fatal

A “slip and fall” accident may sound like something minor. In fact it can be deadly serious.

Falls cause more than eight million visits to hospital emergency rooms every year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, accounting for about 1/5 of trips to the emergency room. Slip and fall accidents lead to one million emergency room visits per year.

On the job, falls lead to 5% of job-related fatalities for women and 11% for men.Slips and falls are the leading cause of occupational injuries for workers 55 and older.

Falls in the home can also be dangerous. Half of all accidental death at home are caused by falls. Most of these falls happen at floor level. For example, people slip and fall in the shower or trip over something in their path.

As recently reported by NPR, a bad fall can be equivalent to a death sentence for an older person.

Falls are the leading cause of death from injuries for older people, especially women. Three fourths of those who suffer hip fractures are women, and women are especially vulnerable to fractures due to osteoporosis.

It’s important to get help as soon as possible after a fall. Delaying surgery for a fracture for just one day significantly increases the victim’s chances of complications and death. A common scenario is for a patient with a hip fracture to die of pneumonia, rather than directly from the injury.

The risk is so serious that about one out of 10 people over age 50 die within a month of undergoing surgery for a broken hip. That risk factor rises to one out of five if the patient already has serious medical problems.

Over 90% of hip fractures are due to falls. Falls can be prevented by taking precautions around the home.Precautions include:

  • removing scatter rugs, especially on slick wood or tile floors
  • improving lighting
  • moving or relocating power cords or other tripping hazards
  • adding traction strips to stairs and tubs

If you or your family member have suffered a fall due to someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the New Jersey Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. for help.

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