Even a cursory review of recent statistics reveals that the number of Americans injured in slip and fall accidents is steadily rising. Accidents in the workplace and those affecting older citizens are particularly common, and take a significant role in total medical spending and lost work days.
In this article, we’ve gathered the most illustrative fall-related statistics, and paired them with civil lawsuit numbers from around the country.
Slip & Fall Statistics: Accidents & Lawsuits
Fall accidents account for more emergency room visits than any other injury, at more than 8 million every year. 12% of those accidents are slip and falls.
In total, slip and fall accidents result in 15% of all accidental deaths, the leading cause of unintentional fatality behind motor vehicle accidents.
Falls In The Workplace
Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of lost work days, and account for the majority of workers compensation claims in America.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that 25,000 slip and fall accidents occur in workplaces every day, and costs resulting from these falls amount to well over $60 billion every year.
Increased Dangers For Older Americans
Falls are particularly dangerous for the elderly, persons over the age of 65. One out of three American seniors will be injured in a slip and fall each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, around 22,900 elderly Americans were fatally injured after falling in 2011 alone.
Of those non-fatally injured, upwards of 30% sustained “moderate to severe injuries,” including deep cuts, hip fractures, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Falls are the leading cause of TBI in the US. 46% of all seniors who died after falls suffered from the debilitating cognitive disorder. By combining medical and non-medical costs, the Brain Injury Association of Missouri estimated that treating TBI costs the average patient approximately $151,000 in the first year alone.
Falls directly result in 95% of all hip fractures sustained by elderly Americans. Women are twice as likely to suffer a fracture than men. In 2014, a study published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research estimated the long-term cost of effectively treating a hip fracture to be $81,300.
As we’ve seen, slip and fall accidents are incredibly common. And despite their popular portrayal as the butt of numerous jokes, they can result in severe injuries, costly medical expenses, and lost work.
Civil Lawsuit Statistics
Many Americans turn to personal injury lawyers after learning that the costs they face are far more than an insurance company will provide. In this section, we’ll present a picture of just how many Americans sue others for damages, and how many are successful.
The Association of Trial Lawyers of America reports that federal courts alone see an annual average of 512,000 tort cases, lawsuits that involve concepts of negligence. Based on total accident reports, we can estimate that only 2% of injured Americans file lawsuits.
Only 2% of civil tort trials go to trial. 98% end in an early settlement.
Out of those cases that are heard in court, 48% are won by plaintiffs, the injured parties. Of those who win, 84% secure monetary compensation. These numbers have decreased since 2001, when plaintiffs won around 58% of all civil trials.
According to the National Center for State Courts, 63% of all civil tort trials are heard before a jury. Jury trials are decided in favor of plaintiffs 46% of the time. In those heard solely by a judge (“bench trials”), 54% of all plaintiffs are victorious.
In 2001, 17.1% of all civil trials involved “premises liability,” the legal theory governing most slip and fall claims. You can learn more about the doctrine of premises liability here.
The average civil trial lasts 3.7 days, but the median length of a premises liability case from filing to verdict is around 20 months.
The median compensation awarded to a fall victim in 2001 was $61,953, which would equal $83,059 in 2014.