Falls (defined as unintentionally coming to rest on the ground, floor or other lower level with or without an injury), are the leading cause of preventable injury in Canada and can be quite serious, especially for young children and older adults.
According to new statistics released last week by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (“CIHI”), there were more than 2 million reported emergency department visits last year in Canada. Of these visits, 653,808 were the result of unintentional falls. This substantial figure accounts for 32% of all reported emergency department visits for injury and trauma in Canada.
114,383 of those falls resulting in visits to the emergency department occurred at home, which was the most typical place for falls to occur. Furthermore, it was reported that more women (67,121) than men (47,262) went to the hospital after suffering a fall in the home.
CIHI also reported that the most common type of falls, resulting in 170,000 emergency department visits last year, was the result of slipping, tripping and stumbling.
According to CIHI’s data, hospitalization stays increased last year by 146,609 due to unintentional falls. Hospitalization stays are defined as occurring when a patient is admitted and stays at least one night in the hospital.
Hip fractures were found to be the most common injury sustained as a result of falls. Lower leg fractures and head injuries were the second and third most common injuries reported to result from falls in Canada.
Hip injuries are a major concern, especially for seniors as research demonstrates that 20% to 40% of seniors who break a hip are likely to die within a year. Furthermore, head injuries are also of serious concern as these injuries can have ongoing effects that can last for as long as two years following a fall.
SLIP AND FALL LAWSUITS
According to CIHI data, almost 8,800 cases of injuries resulting from falls occurred as a result of Canadians slipping on ice. Slip and fall claims of this nature are a common type of personal injury lawsuit. You may have a right to compensation if you have suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall on someone else’s property due icy conditions, inadequate maintenance, poorly designed stairs, or other dangerous conditions.
All individuals who own, manage, or maintain a property in Ontario have a legal duty to take all reasonable steps to keep those who use the property safe. The Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes an obligation on property owners to ensure safety measures are taken and that ice and snow is removed from sidewalks, parking lots, and driveway entrances.
Some examples of slip and fall lawsuits include:
- Slipping in a grocery store on a spill in one of the aisles;
- Tripping on a hole, crack or uneven surface in a parking lot due to insufficient lighting;
- Slipping on an icy patch on a sidewalk or parking lot due to failure to plow, salt or sand sufficiently; and
- Falling as a result of dangerous stairs or other hidden hazards.
An injured person can receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, income loss, future care costs, loss of enjoyment of life, and other out of pocket expenses. In some cases, the injured person’s spouse can also seek compensation for lost wages as a result of caretaking or companionship.
SIMPLE TIPS TO PREVENT FALLS
Falling is quite common at any age, but as we get older our risk of falling increases. The good news is that many falls can be prevented. Falls usually occur due to poor balance, decreased muscle and bone strength, reduced vision or hearing, and unsafe conditions in and around your home. In order to prevent falls, it is recommended that individuals:
- Wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping;
- Pay attention to their environment;
- Keep rooms well lit;
- Keep rooms free of clutter and loose rugs:
- Install railings along staircases;
- Participate in daily exercises to maintain balance and strength (in particular leg and core strengthening exercises);
- Ask their doctor to review all medications as some have negative side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness, which may increase the risk of falling and some drug interactions can be a factor as well;
- Do not mix alcohol and medications as the combination may cause falls;
- Have their vision checked regularly;
- Choose supportive and safe footwear;
- Use assistive devices to help address any sensory or physical impairments, if necessary;
- Ensure easy transfers in and out of the shower or bath;
- Wipe up moisture or spills immediately, especially in the bathroom;
- Remove loose wires and cords that may become tripping hazards; and
- Keep front steps and walkways in good repair and free of snow, ice and leaves.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Please contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Jasmine Daya & Co. online or at 416-967-9100. We specialize in representing injured victims following slip and falls, and other serious accidents. We can help you take the steps after an accident to protect your legal rights and make an informed decision about your unique case.