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Older Pedestrians More Likely to be Injured in Falls Than Auto Accidents

While pedestrians overall are more likely to be injured in auto accidents, older pedestrians above the age of 50 are more likely to suffer serious personal injuries when they are involved in slip and fall accidents, compared to auto accidents.

There has been much focus recently on personal injuries involving pedestrians in car accidents.  The increase in pedestrian accidents is being blamed for an overall spike in the number of people being personally injured in auto accidents across the country.  Researchers at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data involving pedestrians who had suffered personal injuries in slip and fall accidents, and compared the data with the numbers involving pedestrians involved in auto accidents.

The Columbia University study found that while the risk to pedestrians involved in auto accidents remains high, the overall public burden is greater when older pedestrians are injured in slip and falls in comparison. The study found that 32 percent of pedestrian personal injuries in  auto accidents were defined as “emergency” or   “critical”.  In  comparison, 19% of persons  who suffered slip and falls had personal injuries that were defined as  “emergency” or “critical.”  However, pedestrians above the age of 50 in fall accidents were 3.9 times more likely to suffer  “emergent” or “critical” injuries,   compared to ones who had been involved in auto accidents. In fact, the Columbia University study described as alarming the number of older pedestrians who suffered serious personal injuries after fall accidents and needed emergency care.

Pedestrians who have suffered slip and falls are not just more likely to suffer personal injuries, but also much more likely to require hospitalizations and medical care in the future. They are also much more likely to suffer from   declines in functioning and quality of life after their fall-related personal injuries.

The researchers are calling for improvements in urban design as well as environmental interventions that can help reduce the risk to pedestrians, especially older pedestrians. Just as there  has been a lot of attention paid  to the need for reduction of car accidents involving pedestrians, there must also be equal importance given to the fact that many pedestrians suffer serious and life -altering injuries  when they suffer slip and fall accidents. The researchers blame the high numbers of pedestrian slip and fall accidents on a lack of accountability and responsibility, especially when it comes to the maintenance of sidewalks and the safety of these spaces. In Georgia, both a private property owner and local government may be held liable for failing to properly maintaining sidewalks. Surveillance systems on sidewalks in order to better track the causes of fall accidents and prevent them in the future could also help prevent slip and falls.

The Atlanta slip and fall accident lawyers at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons who have suffered injuries in fall accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia.  If  you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a fall accident, talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your legal options for a claim for damages.

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