The over-65 fall injury statistics are not pretty. Roughly a third of these individuals fall every year, and the medical bills alone add up to some $34 billion per year.
There's more. Many times, after older adults fall, they have an abnormal fear of another fall. So, they drastically reduce their daily activities. They may spend most of their time at home, and much of that time in their rooms. As a result, the coordination worsens,their muscles atrophy, and their bones weaken. These physical developments put these individuals at a higher risk for a future fall, and a higher risk of serious injury.
Typically, younger people can recover from fall injuries, even if they are quite serious. But most older adults cannot live independently after they fall. They never fully recover.
Preventing Common Older Adult Fall Causes
Poor coordination and muscle tone contribute to many falls. Additionally, many of these individuals have balance or gait disorders. They cannot avoid some flooring hazards and when they stumble, they fall.
To build muscle tone, many older adults take yoga classes. Modified instruction, such as chair yoga and swimming pool yoga, may be available for people with mobility impairments or severe joint pain.
Age-related Macular Degeneration also makes it difficult to avoid hazards. AMD affects the straight-ahead vision which we count on for balance and hazard avoidance.
AMD is degenerative, so frequent eye exams are important. The better your vision is, the better your fall avoidance capabilities become.
Legal Issues in Texas
Texas law divides fall victims into invitees, licensees, and trespassers. These labels are confusing and the categories overlap, so it's important for a Weatherford personal injury attorney to break things down succinctly.
When they leave their homes and visit someone else's property, most people are invitees. They respond to the owner's express or implied invitation and the owner benefits from their presence on the land. That benefit could be economic (grocery store shopper) or noneconomic (social guest).
If the victim was an invitee, the owner has a duty of reasonable care. Owners must ensure the property is safe and inspect their property to ensure continued safety.
Licensees have permission to be on the land but there is no benefit. Guests of hotel guests are usually licensees. Trespassers have no permission and confer no benefit. The licensee duty is limited and the trespasser duty is essentially nonexistent.
To establish liability for damages, victim/plaintiffs must also prove the owner knew about the hazard. That knowledge could be actual or constructive (should have known). Constructive knowledge claims usually involve the time/notice rule. If the owner did not correct a persistent problem, like an uneven staircase, the owner probably should have known about it and fixed it.
Damages in fall injury cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some extreme cases.
Older adults are at higher risk for serious fall injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.