Slips, trips and falls may seem like minor inconveniences, but whether you fall on the same level or fall to a lower elevation, you could be seriously hurt as a result. Fall injuries can happen anywhere, but are especially common in workplaces and in nursing homes. For example, NFSI indicates that falls account for 16 percent of all claims made by injured workers for benefits and account for 26 percent of the total amount of workers’ compensation benefits paid out to injured employees. In addition, slip and fall accident lawyers in Columbia, SC know that in nursing homes, the CDC says that an average of 1,800 seniors die because of fall-related injuries annually.
Falls can also occur in public locations where customers are invited to gather. For example, Consolidated Floor Safety says that the leading cause of injuries that happen in public locations such as hotels and stores are fall injuries.
Unfortunately, while falls are already really common in workplaces, public places and nursing homes, the number of people who suffer serious fall injuries each year is expected to increase. In fact, the results of a recent study published in Pain Medicine News revealed falls could soon overtake auto accidents as the top cause of deaths due to trauma. This disturbing news should prompt property owners and nursing home managers to begin taking action now to reduce the potential risk of customers and residents.
Fall Injuries Increasing
In 2002, fall injuries were the cause of an average of six deaths out of every 100,000 people. By 2010, there had been a 46 percent increase over just eight short years. In 2010, fall injuries accounted for nine deaths for every 100,000 people.
At the same time as fall injuries were becoming more dangerous, the risks associated with car accident injuries decreased. In 2002, car accidents were the cause of 16 deaths out of every 100,000 people. By 2008, car accident fatalities had fallen and auto accidents were causing 12 deaths for every 100,000 individuals.
The decrease in the number of car accident injuries can be partly attributed to ongoing advancements in motor vehicle safety. New technology in cars means that people who get into accidents that might have caused serious injury in the past are now better protected from harm. The decrease could also be explained by the fact that doctors have had a lot of practice dealing with many of the most common types of car accidents, and advancements in medical technology have made it possible for doctors to make tremendous progress in the treatment of auto accident injuries. As a result, doctors may be able to save more people in crashes and the overall rate of auto accident deaths thus the declines.
The increase in the risk of fall injuries, however, may be driven by a different factor: the aging of the population. Seniors are more vulnerable to getting seriously hurt if they fall and are more likely to fall because of physical and mental limitations that are a natural part of growing older.
These seniors, along with the rest of the population, deserve to have a safe environment both where they live and when they visit stores or hotels. Nursing home operators and owners of public facilities need to take steps to make their facilities safe and reduce the risk of falls.