According to the most recent report regarding traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. In fact, 30% of all injury deaths are attributed to traumatic brain injury. About 138 people die from traumatic brain injuries every day. *Source: www.cdc.gov
The lives of individuals who suffer from traumatic brain injuries are often significantly impacted. Many individuals’ cognitive abilities are affected. For instance, they may have impaired thinking, memory problems, and/or trouble communicating. They may also be affected physically and emotionally. Their movements, and sensations, such as vision or hearing, may be affected. In addition, they may have personality changes or suffer from depression. Though traumatic brain injuries affect the injured individuals, they also have significant impacts on the individuals’ families. Individuals with traumatic brain injuries may need around the clock care and daily assistance. If they have young children, they are not able to interact with their children like before. If they are the bread winners of the family, the family may face significant financial strain.
Falls are the Most Common Cause of TBI
CDC’s report provides that falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. 40% of traumatic brain injuries from 2006-2010 were caused by falls. Children and the elderly were affected the most. Falls account for over 55% of TBIs in children ages 0 to 14. In addition, falls account for 81% of TBIs in older adults aged 65 and up.
This would make sense since young children and the elderly are often physically vulnerable and more fragile than adults. For instance, an elderly man is more likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury after a fall accident than a man in his 20s.
Recovery by Our Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers –$350,000 – Drugstore sidewalk fall accident, hip fracture with surgery, filed in Philadelphia (May 2014)
Consider the following scenario: an elderly man is walking down a flight of icy steps outside his apartment building in Philadelphia. Because the steps are icy, he slips and tries to grab hold of the railing. However, given his age, he does not have much strength to hold on to the railing and falls down the flight of stairs. His head hits the steps multiple times as he falls down the stairs. As a result, he fractures his hip and suffers a traumatic brain injury.
If the slip and fall accident happened to a man in his 20’s, the result may be entirely different. After slipping on the steps, the man in his 20s is likely to be able to hold himself up on the railing and stop himself from falling down the entire stairway.
Legal Rights of Injured Victims After Fall Accidents in Philadelphia, PA
When individuals fall and suffer a traumatic brain injury, they may have legal rights against responsible parties. In the above scenario, the elderly man who suffered a traumatic brain injury and a hip fracture may have a valid Philadelphia slip and fall accident case against his landlord.
Pursuant to PA law, landlords have the duty to keep common areas safe of unreasonably dangerous conditions for the safety of their tenants. The front of an apartment building, including the steps, is usually considered a common area. Let’s assume in this example that per the lease, it is the landlord’s duty to clear the snow and ice on the steps outside the building after a snowfall. Then the landlord would likely liable for the tenant’s fall and injuries.
However, in order to prevail in a Philadelphia slip and fall accident case, duty is not the only element an injured individual must establish. He must also prove that that the responsible party had notice of the dangerous condition. Notice can be one of two forms: actual and constructive.
Actual notice is when the landlord knows of the dangerous condition but failed to remove the dangerous condition. Constructive notice is when the landlord should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to remove it.
Let’s assume it snowed 3 days before the elderly man’s fall on the icy steps, but the landlord never came by to remove the snow and ice from the steps. The day after the snowfall, tenants called the landlord to complain about the icy steps, but the landlord still did not come out. In this situation, the landlord had actual notice that the steps were icy and dangerous. Therefore, he would be liable for the elderly man’s fall accident and injuries (hip fracture and traumatic brain injury).
What Can a Philadelphia Fall Accident Victim Recover?
In a Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawsuit, the injured victim may be able to recover for the following damages:
- past and future medical expenses,
- past and future lost wages,
- out of pocket expenses, and
- pain and suffering.
The amount of recovery is different in every case depending on the severity of injuries and facts of the case. Therefore, it is best to consult an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyer to ensure fall victims receive maximum compensation.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident Law Firm
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