Slips, trips and falls are a major health hazard — particularly among the elderly. Roughly three million adults 65 years of age or older end up in the emergency room due to falls annually, and one out of every five of those people can expect to be seriously injured.
What if it’s you? Worse still: What if you fall while visiting a relative’s house on Thanksgiving?
Why do falls happen inside homes?
The holidays are a busy time, and even a home that’s normally kept neat as a pin can get messy and chaotic — especially when visitors are coming in and out for the holidays.
Short of tripping over your own feet, what’s most likely to cause you to fall?
- Wet and slippery surfaces: A little smear of grease on the kitchen floor or a couple spilled drinks can be hazardous for anybody walking through.
- Poor lighting: If the light is burned out on the porch or in the coat room, you could easily trip over something in the dark.
- Clutter on the stairs or floor: It doesn’t take much clutter to create a real hazard — a single Lego on the floor could send your sprawling.
- Uneven stairs or floors: The homeowners may be used to steps of varying heights or the slight tilt to the kitchen floor, but it could take you unawares and easily cause a fall.
- Snags and tears in the carpet: It’s easy to catch your heel on a snag in the carpet, a rug that isn’t secure or a piece of carpet tile that’s lifted at the corner.
Can you sue your relative over a fall?
Technically, you would be suing their insurance company (unless you can settle your claim through negotiations).
While there’s definitely an emotional component to the idea of pressing a premises liability claim against your relative’s insurance, you may not have much choice — especially if you’re left with medical bills, lost wages or a long recovery period. Learning more about your options can help you navigate this difficult time.