Anyone can suffer a serious fall if they slip on a wet surface or trip over an unexpected object or uneven surface. However, some people are more likely to fall – and to be seriously injured – than others.
As people get older, for example, any one or more of a number of factors, including balance and mobility issues, poor eyesight, cognitive decline and medications, can make them more likely to fall than younger people are. When they do fall, they’re also more likely to suffer serious injuries, like fractures and concussions, and take longer to fully recover – if they ever do. Here’s a troubling statistic: Approximately 25% of seniors who fall and break a hip die within six months.
Despite the toll that a fall can take on an older person, many hesitate to even attempt to hold a property owner liable when the fall was caused by an unsafe condition. They often assume that the fall will be blamed on their age and mobility or balance issues and they won’t have a chance of prevailing. The property owner may have already said something to that effect at the time of the fall or even gotten them to sign a liability waiver at the scene of the fall.
What matters is whether the property owner was negligent
The fact is that if a fall and resulting injuries were caused by negligence on the part of a property owner (for example, failure to clean up or cordon off a spill or not repairing a hole in the front walkway), that property owner can be held liable regardless of the victim’s age or physical condition. To prove that a property owner’s negligence caused the injury, a plaintiff needs to show that they breached their “duty of care” to those who are lawfully on their property.
If you or a loved one has suffered a fall that you believe was due to negligence, don’t dismiss your chances of prevailing in a lawsuit. Your best course of action is to seek legal guidance.