What Are the Effects of a Fall on an Older Person?

According to the CDC, more than 1 out of 4 older people – those aged 65 or older – falls each year. Unfortunately, 1 out of every 5 falls causes serious harm, including broken bones and head traumas.

These injuries can be life-changing at any age but can have an especially severe impact on older people. Along with physical pain, seniors can be left with emotional trauma and a deep-seated fear of falling again. When seniors need long-term medical treatment, the bills can soon start mounting up.

If you’ve been injured in a fall that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about the legal options open to you, schedule a free legal session with one of the premises liability attorneys at Kiley Law Group. Call us at (888) 435-1321 or fill out our online form and we’ll be in touch shortly.

Physical Impact of Falls

The way an older person lands when he or she falls has a big impact on how severe their injuries will be. The AARP advises that to avoid injuries, the best way to fall is “on the muscles in your back, butt, or thighs. Not bone.”

All too often though, falls happen so unexpectedly that you don’t have time to plan a graceful landing. It’s easy to knock your head or to put your hands out to try to break your fall. Sadly, the result can be brain injuries and broken bones.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)

Traumatic brain injuries are caused by sudden trauma to the head, such as a blow or impact during a fall. In severe cases, it can permanently change how the brain works.

Falls are the second-leading cause of traumatic brain injuries that result in death. Additionally, non-fatal TBIs from falls can have a severe impact on a person’s quality of life. A 2021 study found that older people frequently suffered the following symptoms after a TBI:

  • Impaired consciousness: In severe cases, this can include being in a coma, a vegetative state, or a minimally conscious state
  • Focal motor deficits: Including weakness, paralysis, and involuntary movements in affected parts of the body
  • Gait disturbances: Changes to walking patterns, often resulting in greater unsteadiness

A bump on the head can be especially serious for older people who take blood thinners. This type of medication is often prescribed to patients with heart disease or heart defects. Unfortunately, while meds provide protection in many ways, they can also increase your risk of a serious injury if you hit your head during a fall.

If you’re aged over 65, you should always contact your doctor immediately after a fall. This is even more important if you take blood thinning medication, as the trauma is more likely to cause internal bleeding. Traumatic brain injuries do not always cause symptoms immediately, so get yourself checked out even if you feel okay.

Other pre-existing conditions can increase your chances of sustaining a severe TBI during a fall. This includes the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Fluid and electrolyte disorders
  • Depression
  • Parkinson’s disease

Broken Bones

Falls often cause fractures to wrists, arms, ankles, and hips. Younger people are usually able to recover from broken bones relatively quickly. Older people, though, are more likely to break a bone when they fall, and a break can be a catalyst for other health problems.

For example, let’s look more closely at hip fractures. The CDC reports that over 95 percent of hip fractures are “caused by falling – usually falling sideways.” Many people who suffer hip fractures in old age are no longer able to live independently, and in some cases, it may shorten their life expectancy.

Hip fractures can immobilize you for a long time. This can result in further complications, including:

  • Blood clots
  • Bedsores
  • Loss of muscle tone, putting you at increased risk of falling again

Broken bones often cause a permanent change to your lifestyle. It may take a long time to regain your strength, and you will usually need to undergo rehabilitation. Fractures can also make everyday tasks, such as bathing, cooking, and walking, more challenging.

Financial Impact of Falls

After sustaining a TBI or fractured bone, the medical bills will soon start to pile up. Additionally, you may need to make adaptations to your home to live there independently. You may also require caretaker assistance each day.

While Medicare may cover some of these expenses, there will be deductibles to pay out of pocket. If you are still working, you may also lose potential earnings and miss business opportunities.

Massachusetts state law requires property owners to take reasonable precautions to minimize the risk of injury to their visitors. If your injury was caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit to secure the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

Premises liability attorneys will take the entire financial impact of your accident into account when calculating your settlement. The attorneys at Kiley Law Group have more than 40 years of experience in securing fair settlements for clients injured on other people’s property.

Psychological Impact of Falls

The physical and financial impact of falls can be easier to quantify than the psychological ones. Following a fall, some seniors may suffer:

  • Ongoing anxiety: Even if you were not injured when you fell, you may fear falling again and lose confidence in everyday activities
  • Cutting down on activities: You may begin to avoid activities that take you out of the house, which can lead to reduced independence and the loss of enjoyment of activities you used to love
  • Isolation: Reduced socialization can lead to increased isolation and depression
  • Muscle weakness: As you become less active, your muscles will start to weaken. This can increase your chances of falling again

The good news is this process is not a foregone conclusion. It is possible for seniors to regain their confidence with the right support. Your healthcare provider may be able to help you reduce the risk of falls occurring again. Physical activity, such as fitness classes, can also build muscle strength and improve your balance.

If you choose to pursue a claim for compensation after a fall, it’s important to work with a lawyer who understands the full impact of your fall. The compassionate legal team at Kiley Law Group is here to listen to your story and advise you on the best course of action. In addition to economic damages, you may be entitled to seek damages for the psychological pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your accident.

Wrongful Death

Tragically, some seniors lose their lives shortly after a fall. We can only imagine the pain and anguish you must be enduring if you have recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence. If you are the executor or administrator of your relative’s estate, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim.

What to Do After a Fall

If you delay in seeking medical advice, it may be harder to prove your injuries were caused by your fall. If you plan to seek compensation, it’s important to show you sought timely medical assistance.

If you were injured in a fall that happened on someone else’s property, speak to a qualified premises liability lawyer with Kiley Law Group. Our knowledgeable lawyers can explain the legal options available for you to pursue. If we decide you have a strong case and agree to take it on, you can be sure our legal team will fight tenaciously to try to secure the compensation you require.

If your fall was caused by another party’s actions, you may be able to seek economic and non-economic damages. Under Massachusetts law, property owners have a duty of care toward people entering their premises.

If a property owner or manager was negligent or reckless and this resulted in an injury to you, you can pursue damages for economic damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Caretaker expenses

You may also be able to pursue a claim for non-economic damages, possibly including:

  • Physical pain
  • Psychological suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

How We Can Help You

After a fall injury, the last thing you want to worry about is fighting insurance companies for fair compensation. We understand that for older people, the physical, psychological, and financial consequences of a fall injury can be severe. If we take on your case, the legal team at Kiley Law Group will handle every aspect of your case for you.

It starts with a discussion with one of our experienced premises liability attorneys. He or she will listen carefully to the facts of your case and inform you of your legal rights. If you hire us, we will leave no stone unturned as we pursue the compensation you deserve. Our No Fee Guarantee® means you pay nothing until we win your case.

The compassionate premises liability lawyers of Kiley Law Group are ready to hear your case. Schedule a free case consultation by calling (888) 435-1321 or filling out the contact form on our website.

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