If you’ve ever slipped and fallen on someone else’s property, you have a legal right to recover compensation for your injuries if your injuries were caused by someone’s negligence. Slip and fall injuries can cause serious harm, including broken bones, head trauma, or spinal cord damage. The costs in lost wages and medical bills can be substantial, which is why you might want to consult with a Florida slip and fall injury claims attorney if you ever suffer this sort of harm.
Falls, including slip and fall and trip and fall accidents, can occur anywhere. They routinely happen in stores, workplaces, gyms, and other public spots. While many people brush these off as “minor accidents,” they can be life changing.
Flaxman Law Group has spoken with many fall injury survivors in our Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood offices. Many are looking for a fall accident injury attorney because they have suffered serious fractures, brain trauma, or other severe or even permanent injury. Some people come to us because they have lost a loved one in a fall.
In Florida, falls are the top cause of serious injuries and fatalities for seniors. Older adults with health conditions and previous falls are especially vulnerable, but previous falls and conditions in the environment can also contribute to falls.
When older adults fall, their age is sometimes blamed for their injuries, but they can easily have a premises liability claim or a nursing home negligence claim, depending on where the fall took place. The owners of properties have an obligation to keep their properties safe and nursing homes have a duty of care to take extra precautions for vulnerable seniors. When these parties are reckless and fail to meet their duties, they can be held liable if someone is injured.
We all know that cold winter weather in much of the country can result in frostbite, car accidents, fires, and other problems. In Hollywood and the rest of Florida, we tend to feel safe from these issues, but the first few weeks of 2015 have seen unseasonably cold weather in parts of Florida. Even South Florida saw temperatures below average recently and in more Northern areas of the state colder weather prevailed. Jacksonville even saw about three hours of flurries earlier this month.
Florida remains an escape for those who don’t want to have to deal with the winter, but with cooler weather it is a good idea to review basic safety precautions:
If you have elderly family members, slip and fall accidents can be a real risk, especially at this time of year. Spills, rainy weather, and the general rush of the season can all contribute to trips and slip and fall accidents. There many ways you can help elderly family members avoid slip and fall injury in Homestead and Florida during this time of year:
1) Make sure loved ones get medical attention.
Vision problems, certain medications, and some medical conditions can increase the chances of falls. Make sure that your elderly family members have been to the doctor recently, have up-to-date medication, and have a clean bill of health. If an elderly family member has a condition that puts them at risk of falls, speak with the doctor and with your family about ways to reduce the risk as far as possible.
Many spinal cord injury patients in Homestead sustain their injuries in falls or traffic accidents. A new study, however, suggests that more patients today are sustaining their injuries in falls.
A study in the Journal of Neurotrauma reported that spinal cord injuries are on the rise across the country. The main cause of these injuries now appears to be related to falls, with seniors most affected. In the past, it was assumed that car accidents were the leading cause of these injuries.
The study looked at 43 000 spinal cord injury patients who visited emergency room departments between 2007 and 2009. In 2007, about 52 people per million in the 18-64 age group were admitted to ERs with spinal cord injuries. By 2009, that rate had dropped to about 50 people per million. At the same time, the injury rate for seniors age 65 and older increased from 79 to 88 people per million. During this period, fall accidents were responsible for 41.5% of the injuries and traffic accidents accounted for 35.5% of the spinal cord injuries studied. The rate of fall-related spinal cord injuries among seniors also jumped in the same time period. In 2007, fall-related spinal cord injuries were responsible for about 23.6% of spinal cord injuries among patients over 64. By 2009, about 30% of spinal cord injuries affecting seniors were linked to falls.
The study found some additionally disturbing news about seniors and spinal cord injuries:
•The average age for spinal cord injuries among adults is 51
•Seniors who have sustained spinal cord injuries are four times more likely to die in the ER due to those injuries, when compared with younger patients
•Seniors who have sustained spinal cord injuries are six times more likely to die due to their injuries after being admitted to a hospital, when compared with younger spinal cord injury patients.
The study’s authors have stated that the reason for the changes may be because the overall population is aging while seniors remain more active in their later years, increasing the risk of falls. Improved safety systems in cars as well as improved safety laws may also be lowering the rate of injuries in car accidents in Homestead and other communities.
According to researchers, programs targeting falls among seniors could drop spinal cord injury rates across the country. While there are no immediate plans in place for wide-reaching education programs, safety experts agree that there are things that can be done right now to prevent slip and fall injuries in Homestead and other cities:
•Help elderly loved ones get quality medical care. In many cases, falls can be caused by declining vision, certain health conditions, medication, or changing mobility. Ensure that seniors get quality medical care and advice as well as regular check-ups so that any health conditions can be managed.
•Encourage elderly loved ones to stay physically fit. Good muscle tone and strength can help prevent falls and can keep seniors active and healthy longer.
•Investigate care options carefully. Unfortunately, poor supervision as well as neglect and abuse in assisted living facilities can contribute to falls. If a loved one needs caregiving, run background checks and check references carefully.
•Remove obstacles that can lead to falls. Making a home more accessible can mean installing grab bars in the bathroom and no-slip treads in the shower and on hard surface floors. Simple changes can mean much better safety for a loved one.
Since Florida has a significant population of elderly residents, preventing slip and fall accidents in Homestead and other communities is a serious priority for many Florida families. For seniors, falls can easily lead to fractures, head injuries in Homestead, and other serious injuries. A new study from the Yale School of medicine suggests even more reason to prevent falls.
According to researchers, seniors who have sustained a serious injury in a fall are slower to recover if they have a previous disability. Researchers looked at over 100 elderly patients who had suffered a fall in the past twelve months. A year after the fall, those seniors with no existing disability had a 38% probability of a slow recovery and a 45% probability of a fast recovery. In contrast, those who had a disability had a 70% chance of not recovering while those with a severe disability were very unlikely to recover from a fall at all.
Since slip and fall accidents are a common cause of serious disability for seniors, preventing falls becomes even more important for seniors to prevent complications. Families can help by:
1) Researching caregivers carefully. Nursing home abuse and negligence in Homestead and other cities is a serious concern and unfortunately is an all-too-common problem. Researching caregivers and facilities may help prevent abuse and the type of negligence that can lead to falls and injuries.
2) Ensuring that older family members get regular medical attention and check-ups. Inner ear problems, vision problems, mobility issues, and balance difficulties can all make slip and fall and trip and fall accidents more likely. Regular check-ups can help prevent these problems and can reduce the risk of falls. It can be especially important to get follow-up care if an elderly loved one is using a new medication or has a new condition. Until the body adjusts to the treatment or new condition, falls can be more likely.
3) Making the home accessible for elderly residents. Grab bars in the shower and the bathroom can help prevent falls. Keeping a home tidy and free of clutter can also be helpful. In some cases, an elderly relative may need some assistance getting their home safer.
4) Visiting often. In many cases, dangerous conditions go unnoticed because an elderly person is concerned about asking for help or is embarrassed. In a nursing home, for example, elder abuse in Homestead may go unreported. In the home, untidy conditions or dangerous steps may not be addressed unless family or friends intervene. One of the best things you can do for someone in your life is to visit and to keep lines of communication open so that if there is a problem you will be alerted about it.
Doctors often recommend that older patients as well as patients suffering from various illnesses exercise regularly in order to keep muscle and balance at optimal levels. For the elderly, especially, proper strength training and exercise can promote a better quality of life and can help prevent some accidents. For example, elderly patients who have good balance and better muscle strength may have a lower risk of slip and fall accidents in Hollywood or their community because their muscles and mobility are improved. Exercise has also been proven to lower the risk of some cancers, heart disease, and a host of other illnesses.
For bicyclists, exercise can help promote mobility, flexibility, and strength, which can help bicyclists enjoy their sport longer but can also help prevent bicycle accidents in Hollywood and across Florida. If you bicycle, being strong and being able to move quickly to avoid a car crash is an important part of staying safe on the road.
According to exercise experts, exercise should be a lifelong endeavor and should be seen as a way of investing for the future. Basic exercises such as abdominal crunches, squats, bicep curls, and push-ups can help build strength and a strong core, helping with balance and other issues. While the number of repetitions and the range of motion may change gradually over time, healthy adults should be able to perform these exercises in some fashion well into their golden years.
Exercise will change as a person ages. The maximum amount of oxygen your body is able to will start to decrease after age 20, often at a rate of 1% per year. For people who have suffered a serious illness, the decrease may be even more rapid.
In the 30s, muscle strength will start to be affected, and will accelerate after age 50. In the older years, muscle strength may be reduced by as much as 15% every 10 years. For women especially, bone mineral density will also become an issue.
While aging is inevitable, experts say that combining strengthening, aerobic, and flexibility exercises can help maintain strength and safety for years. Balance exercises can help prevent falls, which can help prevent head injuries in Hollywood and other communities as well as fractures and other injuries. Even if a person is no longer able to maintain high intensity workouts, lower intensity exercise done consistently can still yield excellent results.
Swimming and running are both considered very heart-healthy exercises. If you’ve never engaged in these types of exercise before, you may wish to speak with a doctor before beginning these or any exercise regimen to ensure that you are in good enough shape to handle the intensity of these workouts.
For bicyclists, it is important to combine biking with other activities that develop the hamstring muscles as well as the quadriceps muscles. In bicycling, there is extra focus on the quadriceps muscles, but without balancing strength in the hamstring muscles, injuries can occur.
Florida law requires that business owners maintain their business properties in safe conditions for employees and customers. If someone is involved in a slip and fall accident in a Miami business or another Florida business, the victim may be able to seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and other damages if the business owner was negligent in providing a reasonable standard of safety and maintenance of the business property.
For victims who have sustained a fracture or a head injury in Miami or another community after a slip and fall accident, it becomes important to understand the laws that affect these types of cases. Before 2001, plaintiffs in slip and fall cases involving a foreign transitory substance had to prove that the business owner has constructive or actual knowledge of the dangerous condition. In 2001, however, in Owens v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., the law shifted and now business owners had to prove that they used reasonable care in providing a safe business premises. In 2002, Florida passed Fla. Stat. § 768.0710 (2002), which no longer required that plaintiffs prove that business owners knew about a foreign transitory substance that led to a slip and fall accident.
In 2010, Florida passed Fla. Stat. § 768.0755 which requires that in slip and fall cases involving a foreign transitory substance plaintiffs must prove that the business owner knew about the dangerous condition and failed to act reasonably to address the issue. In May 2013, in the case Kenz v. Miami-Dade County and Unicco Service Co., a judge deemed that his law could be applied retroactively.
The law has clearly shifted often, so that Florida plaintiffs now have a higher burden of proof in some slip and fall cases. If you have sustained an injury in a slip and fall case, the 2010 law may be applied retroactively. If you have sustained an injury on a business premises, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney in Miami or your community as soon as possible after the injury. An experienced lawyer will have extensive experience of current laws affecting your case and the experience to build a strong case on your behalf. If you decide to file a personal injury claim in Miami or your community, an attorney can help you pursue your claim.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of our every three senior Americans (age 65 or older) experiences a fall. According to experts, falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries and emergency room visits for seniors. The CDC reports that 20-30% of seniors who fall suffer from injuries such as head injuries, his fractures, broken bones, or lacerations. Seniors are more at risk because they tend to have pre-existing age-related ailments and because their balance and strength may be affected by inactivity over the years.
Unfortunately, for seniors, slip and fall accidents in Hollywood can become a cyclical problem. Once seniors experience a fall, they may experience injuries that increase their risk of a fall. At the same time, they may want to move less and may become less active because they fear falling, and this can cause them to increase their risk of falls.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that there are many things that seniors and caregivers can do to help reduce the risk of falls:
1) Speak to a doctor about any symptoms which can increase the risk of falls. Symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, and other problems can be the sign of a serious ailment, and getting prompt medical attention is important. Treating symptoms is also important for helping to prevent falls.
2) Get regular exercise. When speaking with a doctor, seniors should discuss exercise programs that can help them gain strength, mobility, and flexibility. Staying active ensures that muscles stay strong, reducing the risk of falls. If you are taking part in any higher-risk activities such as bicycling, use a helmet. If you are in a bicycle accident in Hollywood, a helmet can protect you against a head injury.
3) Check medication regularly with a doctor or pharmacist. Some medications cause dizziness or other side effects that can increase the risk of a fall. Medications can also interact with each other and cause new side effects, which is why regular reviews are important.
4) Keep floors in your home clear. Use non-slip backing on rugs or carpets or get rid of them entirely. Install non-slip strips in the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any area where floors can get slippery. In addition, keep pathways through the home clear of debris, small items, and low furniture which can pose a tripping hazard.
5) Keep everyday items at waist level. Having to bend over for items can cause dizziness and falls. Having to climb on a ladder or stepstool for an item can be even more hazardous. Each year, people sustain head injuries in Hollywood and across Florida because they fall from chairs and ladders.
6) Install good lighting in the home, including by the bed. Good lighting can make it easier to see the floor and any hazards on the floor.
7) Install grab bars in the tub, shower, and by the toilet if mobility is an issue. They provide support for those who need it.