Falls are a serious source of injury for almost all demographics. Children fall from bikes, adults slip and fall on wet floors and workers fall off of ladders.

While it is true that everyone is at risk, studies have shown that the risk is greatest for the elderly. For this age group, falls that may result in relatively minor injuries for young people -- a sprained ankle or a bruised rib, for instance -- can turn fatal.

70 Years Old

The key age to keep in mind is 70 years old. Even when falls are very short, the odds that the person passes away increase dramatically if he or she is over 70, as compared to the odds of a fatal injury for an adult who is under 70. For the elderly, the odds of a fatal fall are three times as high. Even for those who live, the odds of serious injuries, as opposed to minor ones, increase as well.

Ground Level

It is important to note that this study specifically looked at ground-level falls. The people were not at any elevation at all. Right before falling, they had their feet planted on the ground.

The fact that these falls -- such as slipping on a wet floor, as referenced above -- can be deadly is concerning since they generally do not involve any high-risk activities. This makes it harder to be proactive and prevent falls. It's difficult to predict something as simple as slipping and falling in the store, in an assisted living center or at home.


That said, steps can be taken to prevent these falls. Wet floors can be cleaned, adequate lighting can be installed and staff members at assisted living centers can identify high-risk residents and give them extra support and mobility assistance.

When people fail to do these things and negligently allow risks and hazards to remain, it is important for the families of those who are seriously injured or even killed to know all of their legal rights.