Falls are a leading cause of damage to the spine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also report falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury. Many people have the misconception they can prevent fall down accidents from occurring, even after they lose their footing or start to take a tumble. People see movies where characters start to fall off a building or from other high areas and are able to hang on, catch themselves, and avoid injury. This is not reality, and NJ.gov warns most people are not able to stop a fall once they have started to go down.
Because you may not be able to prevent yourself from tumbling once you have lost your footing, the best and only way to prevent serious injuries from falls is to avoid starting to fall in the first place. Property owners can help protect people from falls by ensuring they do not allow conditions to exist in their buildings or on their land that are likely to lead to a fall. This means warning people about slippery floors or other conditions that could result in a fall. It also means maintaining stair railings and other areas of the property in order to mitigate the risks and reduce the chances of a fall. When a property owner does not take reasonable steps to prevent falls, the owner is liable for the harm caused.
Can You Prevent Fall Down Accidents from Occurring?
It is not possible for people to prevent fall down accidents from occurring because their reaction time is too slow. It takes the average person a half a second to react. In the time it takes for someone to react, the individual could fall four feet.
A person who begins to fall is going to be affected by the force of gravity and his impact force is going to increase exponentially. An individual who weighs 200 pounds and who falls six feet is going to hit the ground with 10,000 pounds of force. Because the impact force caused by the effects of gravity is so great, the only way to stop after you start falling is to hit a lower surface that stops you. When you hit this lower surface (usually the ground), the force of the impact means injuries are very likely to occur. The higher you fall from, the faster your momentum will be and the greater the chance of serious injuries from the fall.
Don't stick your hands out (an automatic reaction) when you fall because your hands cannot support your body force and you could break or seriously injury your fingers, wrists, arm, or shoulder. Try to relax your body and let yourself fall if you can, because you can hurt yourself more seriously if you tense your body. Because the fall happens so fast, however, most people are not able to take these mitigation steps to prevent serious injuries once they have begun to fall.
A Chicago, IL accident attorney can help after an injury. Call Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 to schedule your free consultation. Serving Chicago, Hyde Park, Bridgeport, Edgewater, Lincoln Park and surrounding areas.