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Slip-and-Falls Are More Than a Visit to the ER

By Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie on May 4, 2020

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Most people brush off slip-and-falls as clumsiness, even if it was someone else’s fault. When no injuries are involved, this makes sense; no one wants to make a fuss over something small. But if you fall down a dark staircase or cracked your head because restaurant staff didn’t clean up a spilled drink, then a small fuss would be the least of anyone’s worries.

Potential Costs Associated With Slip-and-Fall Injuries

Slip-and-fall accidents can result in serious injuries, from broken bones to permanent brain damage, and none of these injuries are cheap to treat. Pain and suffering aside, economic damages for slip-and-fall injuries can quickly ramp up to tens of thousands of dollars within weeks.

Every year in the U.S., non-fatal fall injuries result in approximately $50 billion in medical costs, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An additional $754 million is accrued as the result of falls that result in death, and none of these numbers appear to be going down. Falls are more likely to occur among adults aged 65 and older. CDC predicts that, as the number of Americans in that age group grows, the costs of treating fall injuries will soar. Just for older adults in California, the total cost rose to $43 billion in medical costs, combining Medicare, Medicaid, and out-of-pocket expenses.

Costs of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Severe TBI not only have life-altering effects on victims and their families, but also come with a massive financial toll – an estimated $76.5 billion, as reported by the CDC.

In addition, severe TBI can have long-lasting effects on a victim’s:

  • Ability to move and control their body
  • Ability to process thoughts
  • Ability to hear, maintain balance, see, taste, and feel
  • Ability to control emotions

While some of these issues can be managed with surgery, medication, physical and psychological therapy, and assisted living equipment, a TBI ultimately has a significant impact on the quality of one’s life, which is not directly tied to a bill or invoice.

Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries

After motor vehicle accidents, falls are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for approximately 29%, as reported in a study by the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. Spinal cord injury survivors can expect to incur significant costs related to their injuries, including:

  • Medical expenses (often well in excess of $1 million)
  • Lost wages and earning potential
  • Related medical issues, such as respiratory or urinary tract infections
  • Expenses related to travel for treatment or day-to-day life
  • Home modifications (ramps, elevators, etc.)

Lost Income

In slip-and-fall accident cases, lost income is a significant expense for the injured. As of January 2020, average wages in the U.S. are $23.87 per hour, as reported on Trading Economics, or about $49,650 per year. If a disabling slip-and-fall injury occurred at the age of 30 and the victim would have worked until the age of 65, that individual would have lost an estimated $1,737,750, not including salary increases that are expected over a lifetime of employment.

Importance of Assessing the Full Extent of Your Losses

Determining the total cost of an injury is a crucial aspect of any personal injury claim. The compensation you receive must cover your medical treatment, lost income, and assisted living equipment if you are left disabled. Our Orange County premises liability lawyers at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie can thoroughly investigate your accident and assess the full extent of your losses – past, present, and future. Call us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a free consultation if you have been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence.

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Posted in: Premises Liability

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