When a fall occurs, there is a significant risk of serious injuries. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports falls are the single leading cause of traumatic injury to the brain. Around 40 percent of all cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) occur because of a fall. Mayo Clinic also reports on fall accident risks, indicating a quarter of new spinal cord injuries each year occur as a direct result of a fall. Seniors are among the demographic groups who face the most serious injuries from falls. Falls are the leading cause of spinal cord damage for senior citizens. A senior who falls and breaks a hip may also be forced into assisted living and unable to return home.
Prevention of fall accidents is imperative, but a personal injury lawyer knows a victim can do little to prevent serious injuries once he starts to fall. While NJ.gov reports some victims who start to falls erroneously believe they can catch themselves or reduce the chance of getting hurt, stopping yourself mid-fall is something which actually only happens in the movies.
Once you have lost your footing, there is no averting the catastrophe of the fall or preventing the injuries likely to result. Because of the serious dangers, it is imperative property owners and employers do everything they can to reduce the chances someone will fall in the first place.
Serious Fall Injuries Can Result from Force of Impact
The reason injuries from a fall are so serious is because gravity has tremendous force. As you start to fall, gravity causes you to speed very quickly towards the ground. The impact force starts to increase by many orders of magnitude. The father the fall, the greater the impact force. A person who falls six feet and who weighs 200 pounds would hit the ground with 10,000 pounds of force. With this level of impact, it should not come as a surprise falls can cause head injuries, permanent spinal damage, and other serious medical conditions.
Preventing injuries or averting the fall is impossible because people's reaction times are too slow. A person generally takes 1/2 a second to react to something. When your feet start to slip out from under you or you lose your footing, you'll take at least this half-second to try to catch yourself or to try to reduce the chances of injury. In the time it takes you to formulate a reaction, you will fall four feet.
You can try to do things like avoid putting out your hands when you start to fall, since landing on the hands is likely to cause a broken wrist, broken arm, or other arm and shoulder injuries. Your hands cannot support your entire body weight or absorb the full impact from the fall. However, it is instinct to put your hands out when you are tumbling forward and you may not be able to stop yourself since you could hit the ground before reacting.
Nothing is going to stop your trajectory once you have lost your footing, until you hit a solid object forcing you to stop. Because fall injuries cannot be prevented once you start to fall, property owners need to be sure they try to prevent the injuries before the fall happens.