Slip and fall injuries are much more dangerous for the elderly than anyone else and they are, unfortunately, relatively common. The problem is that when an older person falls and breaks a bone, healing occurs more slowly or not at all.
A minor fall can mean a major life change for a person of advanced age, necessitating full-time in-home care or a move to a nursing home. So let’s consider what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages in case of a slip and fall or another injury.
Generally speaking, in slip and fall cases, a plaintiff must show that there was a dangerous condition which the premises owner knew or should have known about. Owners are responsible for reasonably foreseeable conditions arising on their property. In other words, owners are expected to anticipate certain conditions and accommodate all kinds of people on the property.
If a person falls on the premises, elderly or otherwise, there may be a basis for a premises liability lawsuit. Depending how the injury occurred and the plaintiff’s relationship to the defendant, an injury attorney might additionally claim negligence.
Recovering for Negligence
When a person is injured due to the negligence of another, they can recover damages for medical expenses and future care, pain and suffering, and more. A retired person can’t recover lost wages, for example, but damages for medical care may be higher because the elderly experience the consequences of injury more severely.
In order to recover anything, however, a plaintiff must prove the four elements of negligence — duty, breach, causation, and harm. The context of the injury will determine these elements to some extent.
For example, the duty of care of a nursing home to its residents will be higher than the duty owed by a store owner to passersby on the sidewalk. Still, all of us owe a duty of care to others to act as a reasonable person would in same or similar circumstances and to prevent reasonably foreseeable injury.
If a plaintiff shows that duty of care was breached and caused an injury resulting in a compensable harm (damages such as medical expenses for example), the plaintiff has proven negligence and will be awarded a judgment. But cases are very complex — even proving a simple slip and fall was someone else’s fault requires extensive experience reading and understanding medical records and comfort with mathematical calculations.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured, whatever your age, talk to a lawyer. Tell your story. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.
- Have an injury claim? Get your claim reviewed for free. (Consumer Injury)
- Conditions Leading to Indoor Slip and Fall Accidents (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Conditions Leading to Outdoor Slip and Fall Accidents (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Slip and Fall FAQ (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)