Falls remain a top cause of unintentional injuries throughout the United States. In fact, in 2011 alone, almost nine million people sought treatment at the emergency room as a result of injuries sustained in falls. An experienced Spartanburg fall injury lawyer knows that many of these ER visits could be prevented if some basic efforts were made to try to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls.
Fall Prevention Efforts Can Be Effective at Preventing Injuries
A recent article entitled Fall prevention saves money, lives provided some tips for reducing the risks of fall related injuries. The article advised:
- Removing tripping hazards from walkways and steps. This applies in both public and private spaces. In an apartment, the landlord is responsible for maintaining common areas including stairwells, hallways and lobbies. Tenants must maintain their own indoor spaces and should keep the walkways in their homes clear. In stores and restaurants, it is the responsibility of the owner or renter of the space to keep aisles clear for customers.
- Ensure that sturdy handrails are attached to stairs. It is preferable for handrails to be attached on both sides of the staircase.
- Use skid-resistant mats where appropriate. In the house, these mats are useful in bathrooms and near doorways. In public places, skid-resistant mats can also be installed near entrances and exits so people coming in will have the chance to get water from the parking lot off their feet and onto the mats before walking on tile floors.
- Provide adequate lighting. It is much easier to see trip-hazards when the area is well-lighted.
- Conduct periodic inspections to assess the condition of walkways and steps. Store owners and those who invite customers to their premises have an obligation to regularly inspect for potential hazards and to either fix them or warn customers. Although homeowners don’t have this same legal duty, they do need to take care of problems that a reasonably competent homeowner would know about.
- Remove snow and ice accumulations from exterior steps and walkways. Liability for snow-related incidents in icy parking lots is limited for stores, restaurants and building owners like landlords. However, there are situations where someone who slips in a parking lot could take legal action.
By taking these key steps to prevent accidents, lives can be saved. In 2009 alone, around 25,000 people were killed as a result of falls in their home or in their community. Almost half of the victims who died from falls were aged 65 and older. However, anyone is vulnerable to getting hurt when conditions are unsafe.
While property owners play the biggest role in taking steps to reduce the risk of falls, people can also protect themselves by taking good care of their bodies to prevent injury. The CDC recommends regular exercise to improve balance coordination, as well as routine annual eye exams since poor vision can increase the risk that a fall will occur.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
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