Slips, trips, and falls are common occurrences, which often happen because of slippery surfaces, lack of attention, or sheer carelessness. However, slip-and-fall accidents can cause severe injuries to you or a loved one, especially older people, women, and workers. You can seek compensation for serious injuries and losses if it happened because of someone’s negligence.
Let’s explore and analyze slip and fall statistics in Canada.
A slip-and-fall injury happens when someone sustains an injury because they slipped, tripped, tumbled, or fell. Generally, the types of injuries you can sustain are scrapes, head trauma, fractures, sprains, broken bones, and spinal issues.
Slips-and-falls can happen on a flat surface, such as a road, or when you fall down stairs. Defining precisely what a slip and fall accident is tends to involve the circumstances that led to the fall. Some areas where accidents occur include:
Slip-and-fall accidents rank among the most common property accidents in Canada. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reported 162,222 unintentional slip-and-fall injuries in 2020-2021. This represents nearly two-thirds (59.5 percent) of all injury hospitalizations and emergency room visits for that year.
Most injured persons were between 18 and 64 (102,139), followed closely by people between 65 and 84 (91,380). Disturbingly, 57,835 people over 85 sustained injuries requiring hospital stays for the same period.
These figures are concerning, especially because there were seven million people in Canada over 65 in 2021. Seniors are more likely to sustain more severe injuries from a fall than younger people. They may be unable to get up without assistance, and many sustain fractures that may require surgery.
The risk of falls in older adults isn’t new. A survey of households in 2017-2018 revealed that 5.8 percent of individuals 65 or older reported fall injuries within the past 12 months. More women in this age group sustained injuries than men, and 70 percent sought medical attention. The survey also revealed a 47% increase in fall-related hospitalizations.
Most (52 percent) of unintentional falls resulting in injuries occurred at home, with 17 percent occurring in a residential care facility. Thirty-four percent involved hip fractures, with most (49 percent) occurring in a residential care facility compared to those in the home (31 percent).
The costs are also quite concerning. The latest data shows that falls for older people resulted in $2 billion annually in direct healthcare costs. On average, seniors spend 10 days longer at the hospital than for any other reason, and more than 35 percent need long-term care after a fall. Moreover, fall victims often experience chronic pain and reduced mobility, leading to a loss of independence.
Given the prevalence of slip-and-falls and their impact on physical and financial health, it’s best to prevent them. The first step in formulating fall prevention programs is to discover the common causes.
According to Statistics Canada, slips and falls occur most frequently due to the following causes:
Slipping, tripping, or stumbling on a non-icy surface was the leading cause of injury. Slipping on ice or snow also accounted for a substantial share of falls and was especially dangerous among seniors. In males younger than 65, over one-fifth of falls causing serious injuries involved high-velocity sports: skating, skiing, snowboarding, in-line skating, or skateboarding.
Another study confirms that women had higher rates of fall-related injuries than men. While fractures were the most common injury for both sexes, they also suffered head injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), muscle and tendon injuries, open wounds, and internal injuries. Therefore, preventing fall injuries must address situations involving women and those aged 80 years and older.
The most recent data from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) shows that the leading reasons for lost-time claims in 2017 were bodily reaction, exertion (102,355), and contact with objects and equipment (60,027). The third leading cause was STFs, with over 48,000 claims across Canada, resulting in 63 deaths.
The frequency of STFs and the severity of injuries at a worksite depends on several factors, such as general hazards, worker awareness, mitigation of identified risks, and housekeeping. Another critical element is worker perception of STFs. If they don’t see them as significant, then you might have a potentially big problem just waiting to happen.
AWCBC found that most (67 percent) falls occur on the same level (meaning, on a flat surface). Slips typically occur when there is insufficient traction between the surface and footwear, such as:
On the other hand, trips happen when a person’s foot strikes an object, causing them to lose balance. Frequent causes of tripping include the following situations:
Statistics indicate that slip-and-fall accidents are largely preventable. People over 65 are more likely to slip and fall than younger people because of their physical limitations. Most of these accidents happened in the home or at a residential care facility, indicating that there might be a lack of reasonable accommodation for seniors. Residential care facilities should make it less likely for seniors to slip and fall, like strategically placed handrails, anti-slip floors, and lower-level living spaces.
People between 18 and 64 also represent a substantial percentage of slip-and-fall accidents in the home or the workplace. In many cases, these incidents happen because the employer, property owner, or occupier failed in their responsibility to maintain their premises. When someone else’s negligence caused the accident, you should be compensated for your injuries.
Slips and trips typically result from accidental or sudden changes in the interaction between your feet and the walking surface. Good housekeeping, quality of walking surfaces, selection of appropriate footwear, and suitable walking pace are all important in preventing slips and falls.
A fundamental practice for fall prevention is good housekeeping, which includes the following:
Even with sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear, and safety training, the lack of good housekeeping practices can impact the effectiveness of these preventive measures.
Modifying walking surfaces is a great way to prevent slips and falls. This includes replacing floors, recoating surfaces, installing mats, and adding pressure-sensitive abrasive strips. Metal or synthetic decking may also increase safety and minimize the risk of falling.
An additional benefit of non-slippery surfaces is that it minimizes foot fatigue. However, keep in mind that high-tech flooring still needs good housekeeping.
Proper footgear is important in workplaces with frequently oily or wet floors or where workers spend most of their time outdoors. However, selecting the correct footgear might be challenging, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Consult manufacturers for assessments and recommendations for the appropriate footgear for specific conditions.
Another way to reduce the risk of accidents is by being situationally aware. When you see that the floor is wet, you should be careful. Adjust your walking pace to the conditions of the surface and your tasks. You should also point your feet slightly outward when walking and make wide turns at corners.
You can avoid tripping by keeping the halls and walkways free of clutter and the floors in good condition. Ensure the work area is well-lit, and use a flashlight when a site is dark or poorly lit. Always make sure that you have a clear view of where you’re going so that you can see if it’s free from spills and obstructions.
Most STF accidents occur at home. In these cases, the government will foot your medical bills. Canada has free public health cards that you can access through your province or territory. You need to show your health card to the emergency department, hospital, or doctor so that you can get medical attention.
However, suppose you suffer injuries from a slip-and-fall accident in Toronto while you were on someone else’s property. In that case, you should take the following steps:
You’ll need to follow these steps to file a personal injury claim against the occupier or property owner. A slip-and-fall lawyer will assist you in the legal process.
The occupier or property owner has a legal obligation to ensure that the premises are free from hazards. For example, if you enter a hotel and trip on an unsecured carpet in the lobby and break your hip, the hotel may be liable for your injuries and losses.
The same applies to homeowners and tenants. You must make sure that your guests are safe when they’re on your property. You may also be liable to passersby if they sustain injuries because of the condition of your driveway or walkway. Walking surfaces on your property must be free of snow, black ice, and debris. Tenants may also share liability with the landlord for these injuries.
Negligent slip-and-fall accidents include the following scenarios:
Most commercial establishments and property owners have liability insurance to cover injuries that result from their own negligence. A law firm in Ontario representing the injured party will typically send a statement of claim to start the insurance claims process. This will include a summary of the incident, injuries, the damages claimed by the victim, and highlight how the defendant was negligent.
The lawyer’s role is to prove that the defendant owed the injured party a duty of care and that they breached that duty, which shows that they were negligent. They’ll also claim compensation based on financial losses and pain and suffering. While the lawyer prepares to file a civil action in court, they may negotiate a settlement with the insurance company.
Financial compensation for losses from slip-and-fall injuries may include, but isn’t limited to:
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that reported fall injuries for older Canadians are about half that of Americans. The percentages are 5.8 for Canadians and 10.2 for Americans.
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can happen to anyone. While they may happen because of a variety of factors, that’s not always the case. Many incidents occur because businesses, property owners, and occupiers fail to maintain their premises. They have a duty of care to make sure that no one on their premises gets hurt. If, however, someone is injured, they may be held liable.
If you or a loved one were injured in a slip-and-fall accident in Ontario or Alberta due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult a Diamond and Diamond Lawyer to explore your legal options. They can help you collect evidence, prepare documents, and manage the legal process of an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. They’ll make sure you’re compensated for your injuries.
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A slip, trip, or fall incident has an average direct cost of $3,500 and up to $21,000 in indirect costs. These include worker and equipment replacement, downtime, legal expenses, and other expenditures.
The fall-related mortality rate was 86.4 per 100,000 Canadians in 2019. Women and people over 80 have higher mortality rates than any other group.
A Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety report states that about 60,000 workers are injured annually due to slips, trips, and falls. This represents about 15 percent of all time-loss injuries accepted by workers’ compensation boards or commissions nationwide.
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