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New Study Reveals Rise in Spinal Cord Injuries in Slip and Falls Involving Seniors

March 04, 2014

There are few injuries as devastating as spinal cord injuries that can impact mobility, sensation and the functioning of extremities. A new study from John Hopkins University School of Medicine indicates that the number of serious traumatic spinal cord injuries are on the rise in the U.S. The researchers also have indicated that the leading cause of these severe spinal cord injuries is no long motor vehicle accidents, as they have been surpassed by slip and fall accidents.

The results of the study suggest the increased danger of falls for the elderly because the rate of spinal cord injuries that range in severity from temporary numbness to quadriplegia are growing most rapidly amongst the elderly. The researchers suggest that efforts to reduce the risk of falls for the elderly could substantially curb the increase in spinal cord injuries. The researchers found that the average age of spinal cord injury victims identified during a prior study conducted five years before the current study had increased from an average of 41-years-old to 51-years-old.

The investigators point out that the complications associated with spinal cord injuries suffered in slip and fall accidents involving seniors also present a cause for concern. According to the study, seniors who suffer a spinal cord injury face a four times higher risk of dying in the emergency room than younger adults. Those elderly patients who survived spinal cord injuries in the emergency room before being admitted into the hospital had a six-fold higher risk of dying from their spinal cord injury.

The study did not offer a definitive explanation for the reason that slip and fall accidents have surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. However, the researchers speculated that the shift might be explained by our aging population combined with improved motor vehicle safety resulting from mandatory seatbelt laws and improvements in airbags.

This study highlights the importance of developing strategies for reducing slip and fall hazards that can be particularly dangerous for the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than a one in three adults age 65 or older fall annually with ten percent suffering a broken bone, dislocating a joint or experiencing some other form of serious injury.

While falls involving the elderly may be the product of age-related changes in physical skills or vision problems, seniors also are more susceptible to hazardous conditions like wet floors in grocery stores, bunched up carpets in nursing home facilities or uneven pavement in front of a local restaurant. When a senior suffers serious injury in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident related to a hazardous condition on the premises of another, the senior may have a right to seek compensation depending on the specific facts and circumstances.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Legal Experience to Work On Your Case

If you or your loved one is injured in a slip and fall accident, our experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Attorneys at Montlick and Associates offer a free consultation so that we can evaluate an injury victim's legal rights and remedies. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.