Special Issues in Elderly Fall Injury Claims

by | Mar 22, 2022 | Injuries

Falls are, by far, the most common injury claim among folks over 65. Roughly three million elderly Americans are rushed to hospital emergency rooms following serious falls every year. These individuals often have pre-existing conditions that increase the risk of a fall. Gait disorders are a good illustration. Frequently, when older people stumble, they are unable to recover their balance. So, even a seemingly insignificant hazard, like a large sidewalk crack, could cause a serious fall.

Usually, property owners are legally responsible for fall injuries, whether they happen outside or inside. Most fall victims are invitees under Kentucky law. Since they have general or specific permission to be on the premises and their presence benefits the owner in some way, the owner has a duty of reasonable care to prevent falls and other unintentional injuries. Compensation is available if the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazard which caused the fall.

These fall victims need and deserve compensation for their physical and emotional injuries, which are outlined below. Money is available in this area, but insurance companies do not simply give these funds away. Instead, a Lexington personal injury lawyer must fight for this compensation in court.

Physical Injuries

Head injuries and broken bones are among the most common physical injuries among older fall injury victims.

Frequently, the motion of a fall causes a brain injury. When victims fall and land hard, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls. Therefore, a brain injury is almost inevitable, even if victims don’t land on their heads.

Brain injuries are permanent. Once brain cells die, they don’t regenerate. Through a combination of complicated surgery and extensive physical therapy, these victims can usually recover sufficiently to make it through everyday life.

These treatments sound expensive, and they are expensive. Frequently, insurance company lawyers challenge cutting-edge surgery and long-term physical therapy as medically unnecessary treatments. Attorneys often partner with top-notch doctors who provide testimony to the contrary in court.

As mentioned, pre-existing conditions often contribute to the risk of a fall. Furthermore, pre-existing medical conditions also contribute to the severity of fall injuries. That’s especially true of broken bones. Many older adults have osteoarthritis and other conditions which make their bones unusually brittle. So, what may be a minor fall to some people could cause a serious fracture.

The average injury-related hospital bill is over $50,000. Because of the aforementioned issues, the average fall injury bill is usually much higher. Medicare plans often include fine print that excludes coverage for injury-related costs. The resulting medical bills could therefore be financially crippling.

Lexington personal injury attorneys usually negotiate with medical and other providers, and convince them to defer billing, or at least defer collection, until the case is resolved.

Emotional Injuries

Many times, the emotional injuries related to an elderly fall are even worse than the physical injuries. Emotional injuries normally include isolation and fear.

Fall injuries often make many older people essentially bedridden, at least until they recover physically. During this time, they are usually unable to interact with friends and family in any meaningful way. This interaction is often the lifeblood of older adults. Without it, many people get depressed. This depression impedes their recovery. So, it takes them longer to get better, which means more isolation, and the downward spiral continues.

Fall-related fear works much the same way. About half of nursing home fall victims are repeat fallers. That status increases the severity of their physical injuries, as outlined above. That status also augments their emotional injuries. Many of these victims are so afraid of falling again that they become inactive, and as a result, their physical conditions deteriorate, leaving them more vulnerable to another fall. 

Resolving Your Claim for Damages

Most personal injury claims settle out of court. Informal settlement negotiations often begin once medical treatment is at least substantially complete. At that time, attorneys can usually determine a claim’s settlement value. This value, which is a little like a new car’s sticker price, serves as a starting point for settlement negotiations.

If these talks stall or break down, most Fayette County judges refer claims to mediation. Basically, mediation is a court-supervised negotiation session. Neither party can simply go through the motions or make low-ball offers. As a result, mediation usually works.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.