Articles Posted in Slip-and-Fall Injuries

slip and fall in shower
Some vacations have been marred by terrible slip and fall accidents in hotel showers.  Between the wet surface, unfamiliar surroundings, and protruding faucets, the hotel shower has been a recipe of disaster for many slip and fall accidents.

In 2011, the CDC reported an ‘estimated 234,094 nonfatal bathroom injuries’ occurred that year requiring medical treatment in US hospitals.  Of those bathroom injuries reported, 81% of the accidents occurred in the shower.  Statistics indicate that woman and elderly are usually the most severely injured in shower slip and fall accidents.

Proving Liability

An important factor in any personal injury claim is proving “liability” — showing who caused an injury and how that happened. In some types of claims, proving liability is fairly straightforward. For example, if a motorist is stopped at a red light and is injured when hit from behind by another driver, it’s relatively obvious who caused the injury and how they did it. In other situations, however, this can be much more challenging. Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injury claims are often much more difficult situations in which to prove liability and show how a “defective condition” of some sort caused the incident. One difficulty is in understanding how and why the injured person ended up in a situation where the defect caused him or her to slip or trip. This is where the element of human factors in personal injury claims becomes very important.Short_Leg_Walking_Cast

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are one of the top causes of death and serious disabilities in the United States. On an annual basis, an estimated 1.5 million people in this country suffer a traumatic brain injury, and of these approximately 50,000 result in death, and 80,000 or more result in a serious disability. The demographic group with the greatest risk of TBI is young adults, however a second group with significantly elevated risk are the elderly. In the younger group, lifestyle choices such as sports and riskier recreational activities — along with motor vehicle collisions — are prime causes of TBIs, while in the elderly there is an increase due to slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall incidents. Of those TBIs that result in death, fully half are in people over age 65, even though this age group only accounts for about 10% of the overall population. And with census estimates projecting the over 65 age group to grow from 35 million people in 2000 to more than 86 million by 2050 — including some 20 million people age 85 or older — the rate of these “geriatic TBIs” is also expect to increase substantially.brainpic

A medical study in 2002 also looked at the injury severity and recovery rates from TBI correlated with age. This study determined those patients who suffered TBIs and were between about 65 and 74 had an elevated rate of mortality from TBIs that were otherwise survivable for younger patients, and that those patients over 75 had a greatly elevated rate of mortality. Another study found that in the very elderly (over age 80), of 28 patients who suffered a subdural hematoma only 3 who received surgical intervention returned to their prior level of function, and when the hematoma was present in combination with a substantially reduced level of consciousness, none survived. Even for those older persons who survived a TBI, only about one out of five could be expected to have a favorable outcome. Studies at a microscopic level found that brain tissues in older injury victims simply do not have the same recuperative abilities as those in younger people, so that the rates and quality of recovery decreases with age.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney since 1982. Many people over the years have asked me what a “personal injury” actually is.

Legally, a personal injury lawsuit is a suit filed in a court by someone who has been emotionally or physically injured by the act of another.

The wet and cold weather of winter brings with it slippery walking surfaces and fall hazards.  Thcastere are many types of injuries common to a fall – some are relatively minor but some can be life-threatening or even fatal, especially to an older individual.

For those 65 and older, falls are the most frequent case of nonfatal as well as fatal injuries, and most fractures suffered by older adults are caused by falls.  Falls are also the most common cause of head injuries.  Seniors who have suffered a previous fall may become fearful of activity and lead a more sedentary lifestyle.  The potential for falls as we age carries with it far-ranging consequences.

rain
The days are getting shorter and cooler, and we here in Sacramento are hoping for lots of rain this winter to help our drought.  In addition to thinking about warmer clothing, hearty soups and umbrellas, it is a good time to be aware of winter safety tips as well.  One of the dangers of wet, and especially icy, weather that is often not discussed in our generally mild climate, is the risk of falling.

Wet surfaces often mean slippery surfaces.  One of the danger zones during wet weather can be the entrance to an office building or store, where the water, dirt and oil from visitors’ wet shoes is deposited, creating a slick and hazardous walking area.  It can be difficult to maintain one’s footing in such an area.  Often, but certainly not always, businesses will put up signs to create awareness of the hazard.  It is important to be aware and careful of the walking surface on wet days, but often we are rushing around and do not always remember to step cautiously.  Certain types of flooring are more prone to cause slipping.  Marble, ceramic and other smooth tiles are key offenders.

United States courts are not yet in agreement regarding the rights of privacy guaranteed individuals versus the rights of the attorneys who may request social media content during the discovery process of a legal matter. This issue continues to be debated in different types of cases such as personal injury law, employment law, criminal law and especially in family law.

It is not surprising that during the mudslinging that occurs in family law court that the unflattering social media content of an ex-spouse is often requested to be allowed to be brought before the judge. However, many may wonder why in a simple personal injury claim, would any insurance company or their attorney want a person to produce the content of their social media sites?

Subway accidents can have devastating consequences to those involved. In fact, many people do not survive pedestrian versus subway collisions. While, the subway system is designed with the intent to be safe they are not immune to issues. When things do go wrong, people suffer from serious permanent injury and death.

In one study a retrospective review occurred using information between the years of 1989 and 2003. In the study, they found 41 patients who were involved in a subway accident and that had presented to Bellevue Hospital in New York City for treatment. The researchers collected pertinent information such as the patient age, gender, the Injury Severity Score, the time of the accident, and the mechanism by which the accident happened.

Elderly pedestrian accidents are not uncommon and quite often they are injured. It usually happens when pedestrians are crossing at crosswalks or when the elderly are getting off or on public buses or taxis. Some drivers drive recklessly and do not recognize when a pedestrian is in the road. They do not recognize that elderly pedestrians walk more slowly than younger people and don’t properly gauge when the pedestrian will get off the street. There can be poorly designed crosswalks and malfunctioning traffic lights.

Even drivers traveling safely at the proper intercity speed can have an accident with a pedestrian that causes a fall in the elderly person and injuries that wouldn’t have happened if the pedestrian were younger. Older pedestrians are more fragile and can get hip fractures, leg fractures, wrist fractures and concussions, even after a slow speed accident.

A TBI is an injury to the brain, usually from blunt trauma such as is seen in an automobile accident, a fall, or a sports related injury. Some people can sustain a traumatic brain injury secondary to a projectile but this is less common. Traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of disability and death within the US. About 53,000 people die every year from a traumatic brain injury. Fortunately the number of deaths from traumatic brain injury fell from 1989-1999. They decreased by 11.4 percent, from about 22 to 99 per 100,000 in the population. The study described below involves the rate of traumatic brain injuries from 1997-2007.

The data for the study were from the public use files on multiple causes of death put out by the CDC. It looks at information gleaned from death certificates from the entire United States. They found that during the study period of 1997-2007, there were about 53,000 deaths per year, which amounted to 18.4 deaths per 100,000 population, related to traumatic brain injuries. Death rates decreased 8.2 percent or from 19 to 18 people per 100,000 population.