A hip fracture is a very serious injury, especially for those 65 and older. When a hip fracture is the result of something as seemingly insignificant as a slip and fall accident, it is particularly distressing. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for victims of slip and fall accidents to suffer a hip fracture. Learn more about how and why these injuries occur in this helpful guide to hip fractures.
Falls Are the Leading Cause of Hip Fractures Among the Elderly
Men and women over the age of 65 are at greater risk for experiencing a slip and fall accident. In fact, one in three seniors will fall at some point this year. One of the injuries older people are most likely to suffer when they fall is a broken hip. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the most common cause of hip injuries in the elderly. Consider the following statistics from the CDC:
- Over 250,000 people 65 and older are hospitalized for hip fractures each year.
- More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, primarily by falling sideways.
- Elderly women suffer 75 percent of all hip fractures due to the fact that they tend to fall more often than men and many of them have osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones.
- The chances of a hip fracture increase with age.
Because of the link between falls and hip fractures, the best way to prevent a broken hip is to prevent a fall by taking safety measures in and around an elderly person’s home. Regular health screenings and strength and balance exercises are also important preventative steps you can take.
Complications Resulting From a Broken Hip
Because of the vital role the hip joint plays in mobility, a fracture can have a lasting and serious impact. You will most likely know that you have broken your hip immediately after suffering a fall. You will be unable to move and will experience severe pain in your hip and groin. Hip fractures almost always require a surgical repair or replacement of the hip joint and months of physical therapy. Life-threatening complications can arise, however, especially in the elderly. The older you are, the more likely you are to suffer one or more of the following complications:
- Reduction of future independence. Half of all hip fracture patients over 65 are unable to return home or live independently after hospitalization.
- Shorter life span. Less mobility and independence leads to depression and further medical conditions in the elderly and can shorten their lives significantly.
- Weakened bones. The long recovery from a hip fracture contributes to weaker bones which could result in another hip fracture down the road. 20 percent of people who fracture their hips will suffer another fracture within two years.
- Complications of long-term immobility. Patients who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound for a long period of time can experience blood clots in the legs or lungs, bedsores, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and loss of muscle mass.
Once an elderly person suffers a broken hip, she will almost certainly need assistance for the rest of her life. Rehabilitation and assisted living facilities are expensive and, if the fall that broke her hip was caused by a property owner’s negligence, she should not have to pay these costs.
You Need an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney
Just because older people are more susceptible to falls does not mean that property owners who do not maintain their floors, staircases, and sidewalks are not responsible when a senior trips over a hazard. You will need help proving your claim, however, and the attorneys at Kaufman Law can help. Call us now at 470-819-2273.