Fall Prevention Tips That Could Save Your Life
Falls are a common occurrence, especially as a person ages and experiences a variety of physical changes and health issues. For individuals over the age of 65, falls are one of the leading causes of death and serious injury. Falls result in more than 2.8 million injuries treated in emergency rooms annually, including over 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 27,000 deaths, according to the National Council of Aging (NCOA).
Considering the aging population in Florida, it is extremely important that seniors and their loved ones understand how to prevent these falls, as well as how to handle a legal claim if they are ever injured in a slip and fall accident.
1. Preventing a fall at home.
Many falls occur within the confines of a person’s home. One of the best ways to avoid a fall at home is to clear your home and living space of any tripping hazards. Make sure there is access to a clear walking path. Remove any cords and rugs that could be a tripping hazard, move tables and other furniture from areas that are high-traffic ones. If any floorboards are loose or are not fitting properly, have those boards repaired so they do not present a tripping hazard. Keep nonslip mats in any area that can get wet, such as the kitchen or bathroom, as well as in the bathtub or shower.
2. Wear proper footwear.
Wearing proper footwear is important when it comes to preventing a fall. Warmer climates, such as Florida, it can be tempting to wear flip flops or sandals, but many times, this type of footwear can make falling that much easier. Wearing high heels and shoes with slicker soles can also cause a person to fall. If you believe you will be walking around a lot, or even if you have fallen in your home before, wear shoes that are sensible and provide plenty of support and traction to prevent any further falls.
3. Stay active.
One of the best ways to avoid a fall is to remain physically active. If your doctor approves it, keep active doing exercises, such as walking or water workouts. The more active someone is, the more he or she will improve strength, balance, coordination and flexibility, which can all help prevent a fall.
4. Keep walking areas well-lit.
Falls often happen at night or in areas that are not well-lit. To avoid tripping over any objects, it is important to keep walking areas well-lit so you can see hazards that may not be otherwise visible in the dark. A nightlight is a good idea to have on, if you frequently get up at night. Also, keep a flashlight on hand in the event of a power outage.
5. Use assisted walking devices when needed.
If a doctor recommends you use a cane or walker to keep your balance, use that device, especially if you are out walking. If you need assistance in the home, such as hand rails or grab bars, make sure these are installed in your home, including the bathroom or hallway. If you are unclear of what devices you need, ask your doctor for an occupational therapist referral. These professionals can be good resources for evaluating what needs to be installed to make your walking space safe and appropriate.
The Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Cases in the State of Florida.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident outside of your home, it is important you understand the time you must file a claim for injuries. In Florida, anyone who is hurt from a slip and fall accident has four years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the property owner or business establishment. This timeline covers personal injury, as well as property damages. If you wait too long and the statute of limitations passes, you will be barred from filing a claim for any injuries or damages sustained.
Where Do These Injuries Occur?
Slip and fall accidents often occur in the comfort of your own home or in another person’s private residence. Those types of lawsuits can be tricky, especially if the property owner is a family member or friend. They can also occur in common areas in rented apartments, which would be the fault of the property owner or landlord.
Falls also can occur in public spaces, such as big box retailers or grocery stores. For example, you could be walking in a grocery store, not notice a wet surface, and suffer a slip and fall. Slip and falls can also occur at a public park, or even on a public street or sidewalk, and depending on where the fall occurred, the entity responsible could even be a government body. In addition, falls can occur in the workplace, which are normally covered by workers’ compensation, and if not, they require legal action against your employer.
Depending on where your fall occurred, you will likely need the help of a lawyer in proceeding with your claim. The location of the fall is important because it decides the duty of care the property owner has to others who come onto his or her property and the type of claim that can be pursued.
At the Law Firm of Michael T. Gibson, we have seen the devastating effects a serious slip and fall accident can have on the client and their family. It is important you contact an Orlando slip and fall attorney immediately after your fall. These cases often require interaction with insurance companies, government officers and other professional entities that have their own team of attorneys and legal experts. We will fight on your behalf and help you obtain full compensation for your medical bills, future medical treatment and lost wages. Feel free to fill out our quick contact form on our website to discuss your legal options in greater detail. We can help you obtain compensation for medical bills, future medical treatment, property damage, loss of wages, pain and suffering, etc. Our office is open daily from 8AM – 5PM. We are also available by phone 24 Hours a Day, 7 days a week at 407-422-4529.