Senior citizens are typically more likely to suffer slip-and-fall accidents than younger people. As we age, our balance and mobility often decline. The rate and amount of decline vary considerably from one person to the next. People's eyesight deteriorates, making it harder to notice things like an uneven carpet, a patch of ice or a small step.

When an older person falls, they're more likely to suffer a serious injury like a fracture. These injuries can take considerable time to heal. An older person may never be the same after a serious fall-related injury. Among the many frightening statistics related to falls among older people is this: A quarter of seniors who break a hip due to a fall die within six months.

Medical care, therapy and ongoing needs after a fall (such as the need for assistive devices or home remodels to accommodate mobility limitations) can run into a lot of money. However, many seniors and their families believe that even if the fall was caused by the negligence of a property owner, they won't be able to successfully sue for damages. They assume that the fall will be blamed on age-related factors like compromised mobility or sight.

That's not necessarily true. As with any slip-and-fall claim, if a plaintiff can show that a property owner and/or manager knew or should have known about a dangerous condition, they can be held liable. A spill in a grocery store aisle that was left unattended for an hour could pose a danger to anyone, regardless of their age or fitness level. A cord stretching across the length of an office could cause anyone to trip.

To prove negligence in court, a plaintiff needs to show four things:

  • The defendant had a duty of care.
  • That duty was breached.
  • The breach caused harm.
  • That harm requires compensation.

Plaintiffs generally seek compensation to cover things like medical care, physical therapy, lost wages and noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. Even if the injured person is retired, so their income isn't impacted by the injury, they can still seek both economic and noneconomic damages.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a fall that you believe was caused by a property owner's actions or negligence, even if they've offered you money to settle the matter, it's wise to discuss the situation with an attorney. It's important that you get the compensation you need and deserve as you heal.

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