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Protecting Older Adults From Outdoor Fall Injuries

July 12, 2017 Slip and Fall

Fall injuries can be serious for all victims, but older Americans especially could experience devastating injuries if they sustain a fall. Because of the serious risks of falls, property owners are expected to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe manner before inviting any visitors onto their property. The specific obligation that a property owner owes determined by whether the visitor is there for commercial purposes or not. If someone is hurt because a fall occurs due to a property owner’s failure to maintain the property in a safe way, New York City trip and fall lawyers can provide help to those who have been harmed.

Unfortunately, far too little is being done to help older adults avoid falls, according to Science Daily report on a study from New York University researchers.  “Despite their frequency, outdoor falls receive little attention when it comes to education and prevention,” Tracy Chippendale, an assistant professor of occupational therapy at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the lead author of the study stated.

Older Adults at Risk of Outdoor Falls

Each year, around 30 percent of adults ages 65 and older suffer falls, and often experience severe injuries as a result, including head injuries, bone fractures, and open wounds. Emotional trauma can also occur due to a fall, with some seniors becoming very fearful of repeat accidents and limiting activities as a result.

A substantial portion of the falls that occur happen when the victim is outside. Up to 48 percent of falls among older adults occur outdoors, according to recent research. Among middle aged adults, outdoor fall risks are also high, with around 72 percent of falls occurring outside.

Top causes of these outdoor falls were identified to include environmental factors, like stones or metal posts; surface conditions, such as slippery or uneven surfaces; and stairways- especially those which are located at entrances.  Icy surfaces and distraction caused by the road surface were also identified as leading causes of falls. Many of the people who sustained falls were trying to engage in healthy activities such as exercising.

Science Daily indicated that the study conducted by New York University researches was published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics.  The findings are going to be utilized in order to help develop a program in New York City that is aimed at creating an outdoor fall prevention program.

The researchers believe that educating older adults would help to reduce the number of falls that occur. Proposals include providing more information on the risks of parking lots and recreational areas, both of which are common sites of falls.

However, even if seniors and other visitors know of the risks, factors like uneven and slippery surfaces are still going to present a substantial danger that individual victims cannot easily protect against.

New York City trip and fall lawyers can help victims of fall accidents to determine if negligence of a property owner played a role in causing a fall. If so, attorneys can assist victims in pursuing a claim to obtain compensation for damages caused by the accident. Contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff today.