DAYTONA BEACH, Florida. The New York Times recently reported that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had fallen in her office and suffered three broken ribs. While the 85-year old Supreme Court Justice was able to go home after her fall, she reportedly experienced discomfort during the night and sought medical treatment. The broken ribs aren’t likely to stop Bader Ginsberg from serving on the court. She has broken ribs before and has continued her service.
Yet, Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s accident highlights a real risk facing many older Americans—the risk of slips and falls. Falls among Americans over 65 years of age can be particularly dangerous—and costly. According to QZ, falls affecting older Americans cost Medicare $31 billion in medical expenses. As many as one in four senior Americans will suffer a slip and fall in the coming year, with consequences to their financial well-being and their physical wellbeing.
Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries. Victims can suffer not only broken ribs and broken bones, but also traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken hips, and even death. As the American population ages, the risk of death and serious injury due to falls is likely to increase.
Changes to our health as we age can make us more prone to falling. Eyesight and hearing change as we age, making it harder for older Americans to detect hazards. As we grow older, our bones become weaker, making it more likely that we might suffer a broken bone if we fall. As we age, it can take longer before we can recover from injuries, and a slip and fall injury can impact our mobility, leading to faster decline. Overall, slip and fall injuries can have serious consequences.
Preventing slips and falls is everyone’s responsibility. Regardless of whether you have an older family member living in your home, or whether your loved one is in a nursing facility, everyone has a responsibility to take steps to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Store owners and property owners also have a responsibility to prevent slip and fall injuries. What are some ways you can prevent slips?
- Clean any spilled liquids immediately. Put up “wet floor” signs after cleaning a spill.
- Keep walkways and hallways free of hazards that can lead to tripping.
- Tack cables to floorboards or cover them to prevent slip or trip hazards.
- Put slip-proof surfaces on areas where floors are likely to be slick. Think about areas near bathrooms, near pools, and around sidewalks.
- Put up warnings in areas where you know there may be a trip hazard, or better yet, don’t allow others into areas where there may be a fall risk.
- Care for your loved one, by making sure he or she has good fitting shoes, and gets yearly eye and hearing check-ups.
Falls can happen when stairs don’t have proper railings, or when floor surfaces are uneven or broken. Working with ladders or while working at height, individuals should take precautions to prevent falls. Workplaces also have a responsibility to provide workers with fall safety prevention gear and training. Finally, all individuals should pay attention to their surroundings to prevent falls.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip and fall accident, you may have certain rights under the law. For example, you may be entitled to seek damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. The Graham Law Group, L.L.C. are personal injury lawyers in Daytona Beach, Florida who work closely with individuals who have suffered injuries after a slip and fall accident. We may be able to help you seek a recovery on behalf of your loved one. Visit the Graham Law Group, L.L.C. today to learn more and to protect your rights.