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Elderly people can be seriously harmed by unsafe conditions

As we get older, it's not uncommon to develop balance problems and limitations to our mobility. We also generally experience some vision and cognitive decline. For all of these reasons, elderly people may be more likely to fall than younger people.

Further, falls for elderly people can be more dangerous than for younger ones. Their bones tend to become more brittle as they age, so they may break easily. Broken bones and other injuries can take longer to heal and require more medical treatment and rehabilitation than they would for a younger person. Some elderly people never fully recover from a fall. They may require full-time care, either at home or in a nursing home.

For all of these reasons, when elderly people fall in a store or other property as the result of a potentially dangerous condition, it's essential to explore your options for seeking the compensation necessary for them to fully recover or at least be able to get the care necessary to accommodate their condition.

To seek compensation from a property owner via a lawsuit, plaintiffs must be able to show that the property owners knew or should have known about the dangerous condition that caused the fall. If the property owners should have reasonably anticipated that the condition could result in an injury, the plaintiffs can claim negligence.

There are four elements of negligence that plaintiffs need to prove.

  • Duty: The level of duty owed will depend on the circumstances. For example, people who work in nursing homes have a higher duty to keep the premises safe than a property owner may have to keep sidewalks clear of ice.
  • Breach: Plaintiffs need to show that the owner breached that duty.
  • Causation: That breach of duty must have contributed to the fall.
  • Harm: The victim must have suffered harm as a result of the fall. This can include the injury itself and resulting pain and suffering as well as financial harm, such as lost wages.

Of course, property owners may try to show that a person (particularly someone who is elderly) fell because of their own limitations. However, if the property owner should have reasonably foreseen a situation that could cause a person to slip, trip or otherwise injure themselves, an experienced personal injury attorney can work to prove their liability and seek the compensation that a victim needs and deserves.

Source: FindLaw, "Suing for Elderly Slip and Falls," Ephrat Livni, Esq., accessed April 03, 2018

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