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Nahon, Saharovich, & Trotz

Dangerous Conditions and the Risk of Complications for the Elderly

Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury related death for adults 65 and older across the country? With the elderly population steadily growing along with the rate of high risk falls, it comes as no surprise that treatment costs for fall injuries are also on the rise. Just last year, Medicare paid over $31 billion to treat fall related injuries, with the average hospital cost averaging in at over $30,000.

These types of accidents are often commonly referred to as “slip and fall.” Unfortunately, many of these falls are the result of a property owner or management company failing to take proper precautions to keep their premises safe. Knowing this, it is only natural to wonder how many deaths or serious injuries could have been avoided had the property owner been more proactive.  The good news is statistics can change with action.  The bad news is many times prevention is only realized after an injury has occurred and bills have accumulated for hospital treatment, rehabilitation, prescriptions and maybe even nursing home care.  After treatment is completed, there is also the issue of whether there will be long term effects for the injured party and their family. The outcome of a slip and fall can be traumatic and life changing, which is why it is important to know what to do if you find yourself in this situation when there is so much at stake.

In Mississippi and many other states, property owners have a duty to invitees to exercise reasonable or ordinary care to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. In addition, if a property owner has knowledge of a dangerous condition on their property or should have knowledge that a dangerous condition exists, he has a duty to warn the invitee.  Problems arise when a property owner is either aware of a problem and does nothing to remedy the issue, or a property owner is unaware of a hazard because he failed to inspect the area within a reasonable period of time after the condition occurs. If either of these situations exists and someone is injured as a result, the property owner could be held liable for the injuries. Thus, victims may be able to assert premises liability claims against the property owner or manager.

Naturally, the first thing the injured party typically does after falling in a store, shopping center, or apartment complex is call for assistance. Although this is clearly important, it is just as imperative to document the cause of the fall at the time of the accident. Time is of the essence, because by the time the extent of the injury is realized, it may be too late to capture evidence needed to protect the injured party’s claim against the property owner. This is often the case when the property owner or manager takes measures after an accident to prevent future falls. Common culprits for slip and fall injuries that can be easily documented in a photograph include spills, items left in walkways, uneven or broken surfaces, or steps and inadequate lighting. Other good practices include taking photos to show geographic reference, securing a copy of the incident report, and noting the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it is important to understand that although insurance companies are experienced in handling injury claims, they are not in a position to act as a fiduciary to the injured party. In this situation, it is important to secure representation from an experienced slip and fall attorney in Mississippi so you can protect your claim and recover fair compensation for your injuries. Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz has represented injured victims for more than 25 years. Call us toll-free at 1-800-LAW-4004 for a free consultation on your case.