Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, there has been heightened concern regarding the safety of older adults. COVID-19 appears to target them more frequently and the ramifications are often far more severe. As Florida begins the process of reopening businesses and returning to normal life, those over age 60 are encouraged to continue taking precautions. Alongside following social distancing guidelines, there are other safety measures they need to take. Older adults, in general, are at greater risk for accidents resulting in personal injuries. The following details three of the most common causes.
Older Adults and the Risk of Personal Injuries
Each year during the month of May, the Administration for Community Living leads the nation in observing Older Americans Month. The purpose is to highlight the contributions older adults make in our communities and throughout our society at large, as well as some of the special issues they often face.
As cases of COVID-19 slowly drop, many older adults are eager to resume their normal activities. However, there continue to be risks in terms of contracting the virus in the coming months. If you are over the age of 65, the last place you want to be is in a hospital emergency room, where you stand a greater chance of being infected.
To protect yourself, it is important to be aware of these three common causes of personal injuries among older adults and how you can prevent them from happening:
While older drivers have more experience behind the wheel than their younger counterparts, factors that go along with aging put them at an increased risk for car accidents and injuries. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), common issues that contribute to crashes and collision among those age 65 and over include:
- Vision problems: Reduced vision and depth perception increase the risk of running into other motorists. One of the most common vision problems among older drivers is diminished night vision and sensitivity to glare.
- Reduced reflexes: Strong reflexes help you respond to unexpected events that occur on the road. Unfortunately, reflexes become slower as you age, making older drivers more vulnerable.
- Lack of coordination: Muscle weakness can make it more difficult to grip the steering wheel, apply the brakes, or turn to look for other drivers when passing or merging into traffic.
- Cognitive impairments: Loss of memory and increased likelihood of confusion can prove extremely dangerous while behind the wheel.
In addition to the above issues, medications older drivers may be taking can cause serious impairments. Discuss these and other concerns about driving safety with your doctor and reach out to family or friends for rides as needed.
Even when older adults do not drive, they still face increased dangers on the road. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults are among the most likely to be victims of pedestrian accidents. Places these are most likely to occur include:
- In parking lots;
- In crosswalks at intersections;
- When crossing driveways in neighborhoods;
- When walking in areas without sidewalks.
To protect yourself, it is important to be aware of the dangers and to never assume a driver sees you or will stop to let you pass. Avoid walking in high traffic areas, wear bright colors to increase visibility, and pay close attention to what is going on around you at all times.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls are one of the most common causes of personal injuries among all age groups and can be particularly devastating for older adults. Soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and impacts to the head, back, and neck are all common. While younger people are more likely to bounce back from these injuries, for older adults they can result in permanent disabilities and may even hasten an untimely death.
Slips, trips, and falls can occur at home, in grocery stores, at restaurants, when visiting doctor’s offices, or in any public place. Conditions that make them more likely to happen include:
- Wet, slippery floors;
- Uneven walkways;
- Loose carpeting or flooring tiles;
- Cluttered aisles and hallways;
- Lack of handrails on stairs and at heights;
- Lack of proper landscaping;
- Lack of proper lighting.
What to Do When Personal Injuries Happen
When any type of accident happens, it is important to immediately notify law enforcement so that an accident report can be filed. You also need to seek medical attention as soon as possible, regardless of the severity of your injuries. Many potentially serious conditions have symptoms that take days or weeks to appear. This is particularly true with older adults. Not following these steps could impact your health and your rights in filing a claim.
If you are involved in a car accident or pedestrian accident, the at-fault driver can be held accountable through an insurance claim. The same is true with slip, trip, and fall injuries. Insurance the property owner has in place may cover some of your medical costs or other expenses.
Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies can prove challenging. In too many cases, they either deny or downplay claims. At the Bernardo Law Firm, our Fort Myers can aggressively negotiate with these companies on your behalf, to ensure you get the amount you are entitled to.
In the event insurance is not available or a settlement cannot be reached, we can guide you in filing a lawsuit against those at-fault through the Lee County Civil Court. Compensation you may be entitled to includes:
- Reimbursement for property damages you suffer;
- Coverage of both your current and future medical costs;
- Reimbursement for any lost wages you suffer;
- Compensation for the pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment in life your injuries result in.
Let Our Fort Myers Personal Injury Attorney Assist You
At the Bernardo Law Firm, we provide the trusted legal guidance and professional representation you need when injuries occur. To request a consultation, contact our Fort Myers personal injury attorney today.