Senior adults at increasing risk of fatal falls, study shows

While anyone can slip and fall at any time, the risk is often greater for older adults. The Los Angeles Times reported the results of a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that indicate the risk of fatal falls for seniors is only increasing. If you are a senior or have an older loved one who suffered injuries in a fall, you should discuss what happened with one of our Los Angeles slip and fall attorneys immediately.

Startling statistics

In 2007, the CDC reported that for every 100,000 senior adults over age 65, there were 47 fatalities from falling. Compare that with 2016, when there were 61.6 fatal fall victims for every 100,000 seniors. This equates to 29,668 older Americans who died that year from fall-related injuries. This 31 percent increase in the mortality rate for fall victims age 65 and older should serve as a warning for every senior. However, as we’ll review, some hazard-based falls cannot be avoided, even if the fall victim is “being careful” or “watching their step.”


Slip and falls among the older population

About 3 million senior citizens visit the emergency room due to serious falls on an annual basis. Some of the most common injuries suffered in these falls include:

  • Broken hips
  • Other fractures
  • Lacerations or contusions
  • Concussions
  • Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal injuries

Senior adults are at greater risk to sustain severe injuries due to a slip-and-fall incident. If your slip-and-fall was caused by someone else's negligence, call our team for a free consultation.

Many of these injuries prove to be fatal, and the risk of death from a slip-and-fall accident increase the older someone gets. For example, a broken hip often requires surgery, and an older patient is more likely to suffer from complications during the procedure. Other wounds can result in infection or hemorrhaging, which can also be fatal. Every 19 minutes, a senior in the United States dies from fall-related injuries.

The increased risk is not necessarily tied to certain geographical areas of the United States. For example, 30 states and the District of Columbia all saw an increase in fatal falls over the past ten years. The remainder of the states held even, but there was no decrease anywhere in the nation. The following are some additional fall-related facts reported by the CDC:

  • More than 15,940 women suffered fatal falls, compared to 13,720 men
  • The mortality rate, however, was higher for men at 72.3 per 100,000 senior men, compared to 54 deaths for every 100,000 senior women
  • Wisconsin had the highest rate of fatal falls among seniors, and Alabama had the lowest rate
  • The rate of fatality increased with age, as follows:
    • For ages 65 to 74, the rate was 15.6 per 100,000 people
    • For ages 75 to 84, the rate increased to 61.4 per 100,000 people
    • For people age 85 and older, the rate skyrocketed to 247.9 fatalities per 100,000
  • If the rate of fatal falls holds steady, about 43,000 seniors will die from falls in 2030
  • If the rate keeps increasing by three percent each year, approximately 59,000 seniors will die from falls in 2030

Many falls are caused by a loss of balance or an accidental trip. However, some senior slip-and-fall accidents occur due to the negligence of others, including:

  • Improper supervision or lack of assistance for seniors in nursing homes or hospitals
  • Unmarked wet or slippery floors in stores and businesses
  • Dangerous staircases or broken railings
  • Debris in walkways or aisles

Contact our Los Angeles slip and fall attorneys for assistance

The Los Angeles slip and fall attorneys at Blair & Ramirez LLP work to hold negligent nursing homes, hospitals, and other businesses accountable for serious or fatal slip-and-fall injuries. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a slip-and-fall accident, call (213) 568-4000 or contact us online for your free case evaluation.