Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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This summer brought the return of the vacationers in U.S. after a year of being unable to travel, and with it a return to the use of rental vacation properties.  U.S. federal regulators are calling on vacation rental websites like Airbnb to review and strengthen their policies to protect customers from injuries caused by outdated elevators on properties listed on their websites.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is specifically calling on platforms like Airbnb and VRBO to alert customers to the risks from outdated elevators on their rental properties. There have been a number of elevator-related injuries in such vacation rental properties across the country, and some of these injuries have been fatal.  The most recent incident involved the death of a seven year-old child who suffered fatal injuries when he became entrapped between the doors of the elevator. The accident occurred at a beach vacation home.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is calling on holiday and vacation rental websites like Airbnb and Trip Advisor to require their hosts who rent out these properties to disable any residential elevators on their properties. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is asking that hosts provide recent certification from inspectors, certifying that there are no hazardous gaps between the doors of their elevators.

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In 2020, when the majority of people were staying at home, there was a record increase in dog adoptions and online shopping.  Normally, these two event would seem unrelated, however a significant increase in the number of mail deliveries across the country last year led to a significant increase in the number of dog bite attacks recorded across the country in 2020. The US Postal Service recently released a statement which defined the most dangerous states for postal workers last year as well as the cities that recorded the highest number of dog bites involving mail carriers.

Fortunately, Georgia does not figure in the list of states with the highest number of recorded attacks against mail carriers in 2020. No Georgia city featured in the list of cities that saw the highest number of attacks involving postal workers. For purposes of the list, the Postal Service considered any dog bite-related injury to the mail worker, or any incident resulting in a complaint to a supervisor.

Mail workers are some of the most frequent victims of dog bites in the metro Atlanta region. With summer here, it’s time not just for families but also dog owners to be mindful of the increased risk of dog bites. Most Americans last year relied on online deliveries of their basic needs, and online shopping rates soared, leading to increased exposure of all mail carriers to dog bites. Long periods of being locked up at home without exercise and walks also led to an increase in canine aggression levels. Exercise is crucial in maintaining canine health and dog experts believe that lack of exercise led to an increase in dog bites last year, especially those involving children.

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Many may not realize, but traumatic brain injuries are some of the more common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents. New research makes a connection between the kind of mechanical forces that are exerted on the brain during an accident and the long-term consequences of such an impact.

Whenever there is any kind of fall accident that results in a person sustaining a blow or jolt to the head, there is the potential for a brain injury. Brain injuries are difficult to diagnose because they may not result in loss of consciousness after a fall. They also may not even result in any physical symptoms. You may not see any inflammation, swelling, bleeding, or cuts after the brain injury, but that does not mean that damage has not occurred. In fact, it’s not unusual for a person to bounce back to “normal” after a fall, only to lose consciousness an hour or two later when the symptoms of the brain injury begin to emerge.

Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most serious types of injuries that you can sustain in a slip and fall accident because these can have long-term consequences, unlike other types of injuries. There may be long-term memory loss, distraction, lack of attention and loss of cognitive ability. An individual’s abilities may be impacted to the extent that he may no longer be able to even work at the job that he had before the injury.

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Snow and ice accumulation, freezing conditions, slippery surfaces – all of these can combine to present dangerous conditions and serious slip and fall accident risks for seniors in Georgia.

Seniors may be at an especially high risk of falls, compared to younger adults, but these risks are more pronounced during the winter. Seniors, in fact, are much more likely to suffer falls during winter, compared to other times of the year due to more dangerous weather and ground conditions.  These accidents can be serious because a senior can take much longer to bounce back from a fall accident that results in fractures and other injuries, compared to a younger person.

A fall may be much more serious in a senior citizen because his bones are brittle and weaker making them more susceptible to a break or a fracture. Young people are much more likely to suffer sprains, while older persons are much more likely to suffer fractures in a slip and fall accident. Additionally, fractures are more difficult to heal in a older individual. Some types of fractures, like hip fractures, can permanently impair or restrict a person’s mobility.

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Winter depression is a very common occurrence in human beings.  But did you know that it can also affect dogs?  This could possibly be why dogs become aggressive, making them much more likely to be involved in bites or attacks, during the winter time.

Seasonal affective disorder is a fairly common winter-related condition that occurs in human beings. This is a type of depression, that is caused due to the fact that human beings spend less time outdoors during winter. The lack of exposure to sunlight and the dark and gloomy conditions causes symptoms that are very similar to those in depression.

There is evidence that something very similar also occurs in our canine friends. The long, dark days, and the lack of their usual physical activity outdoors could possibly cause dogs to experience some of the same type of symptoms,  including irritability and aggressiveness.  These types of weather conditions could cause dogs to exhibit behaviors that are not similar to their normal behaviors.

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Normally when you go to a hospital, you believe you will leave better after treatment.  The last thing on your mind is getting hurt in an accident while being treated at a hospital.  However, fall accidents in hospitals are a leading cause of patient injuries in a hospital. Researchers recently analyzed the results of the use of a specially designed fall prevention toolkit among hospital patients, and found that the use of the toolkit significantly helped reduce the risk of fall accidents in the hospital as well as injuries sustained as a result of these accidents.

The study was conducted by researchers who tested a special toolkit that they designed specifically to prevent hospital fall accidents, and included a number of items, including a poster that is designed to be displayed by the side of a patient bed. The toolkit also includes specifically designed prevention plans that can possibly be integrated into electronic health records, and displayed on computer screens.

The researchers tested the usefulness of the toolkit in helping reduce the risk of fall accidents, among 37,000 patients between 2015 and 2016. They found that the implementation of the toolkit directly resulted in a 15% drop in the number of patient falls recorded in these hospitals. It also directly contributed to a 34% reduction in the number of injuries that were sustained in these fall accidents.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has required restaurants, hotels, malls and other commercial establishments that are open in Georgia to adopt certain protocols to maintain safe health standards.  However, sanitization and social distancing protocols at these facilities may actually increase the risks of slip and falls at these establishments.

Businesses are now expected to protect not just employees, but also patrons, including customers and guests.  Facility Executive, a publication that caters to facility maintenance, has advice for businesses that are looking to reopen in the new “normal.”   The new sanitization protocols can lead to the creation of several unsafe slip and fall risk zones around an establishment.  It is important for businesses to identify these potential slip and fall risk zones, and take steps to mitigate the risks of fall accidents in these areas.

At many of these businesses, handwashing protocols will reign supreme. The areas around hand sanitization and washing stations are at special risk. Many of these handwashing counters are situated right at the entrance, which means a greater possibility of spillage of liquids and sanitizers on the floor, comprising a possible fall risk, when people enter the establishment.

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In a disturbing trend, federal agencies are recording an increase in the number of people killed in fall accidents across the U.S. According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and based on statistics from all states, there has been an alarming spike in fall-related fatalities.  

Between 2008 and 2017, according to the data, there was a 17 percent increase in the number of deaths that occurred as a result of slip and fall accidents and other types of falls. The rate grew from 3.86 per 100,000 in 2008 to 4.52 per 100,000 people. In 2008, 12,311 fatalities were linked to fall accidents. That number spiked to 17,408 in 2017.  

Almost all demographics recorded an increase in fall-related deaths during this period of time. However, the rise was particularly significant in certain groups such as people in rural areas and senior citizens above the age of 75.  

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Legionnaires disease is serious, and potentially fatal, infectious disease that can result in severe medical injury and extensive hospitalization. Often, outbreaks or cases of Legionnaires disease are linked to unsanitary water storage conditions in hotels, cruise ships, apartment or office building, healthcare facilities and other properties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionnaires disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria. This type of pneumonia is caused by the inhalation of tiny droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria. Interestingly enough, the bacteria is less likely to enter a person’s system through ingestion of the contaminated water. Rather, a person may be infected by inhalation of vapors and mist containing the contaminants.

The disease is fatal for one in ten people who contract the infection. Even when people survive Legionnaires disease, they may be hospitalized for several weeks or months, and may incur heavy medical expenses or experience long term health effects after the injury.

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As we age, we become more vulnerable to injuries, especially after an accident.  Senior citizens have a higher risk of suffering falls due to a variety of reasons.  Many of the reasons are caused by deteriorating health conditions, which in turn can result in serious injury after a fall accident.

As you get older, gait and balance may be affected and compromised, making it much more likely that you will lose your balance and suffer a fall. Muscular weakness is another common factor in slip and fall accidents. While bone health is a common focus of senior health, muscular weakness is often ignored. This is in spite of the fact that seniors may have a higher risk of muscular weakness as they age. Muscular strength is critical in helping to maintain proper gait and balance.  If you’re suffering from weakened muscle strength, it becomes harder to maintain your balance and avoid a fall.

Worsening vision can also increase a senior’s risk of a trip and fall.  Failing vision often contributes to falls. Ideally, a senior should have an eye exam every 6 months. If your loved one falls in this high-risk category, make sure that he takes regular eye exams.  Regular physical exams are also very important.

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