West Virginia residents may not be surprised to learn that changes in balance that occur naturally as people age cause one in three elderly Americans to fall each year, but they may not know that young people may fall at an even higher rate. A report published in the scientific journal Human Movement Science looked into the fall rate of older individuals with college students, and they found that college students average one slip or fall every week.
The report contained the findings of researchers from Purdue University who followed 94 undergraduate students for a period of four weeks. During this time, the students sent the researchers a daily survey containing details about any recent slips or falls they had experienced and what sort of activities they had been engaged in at the time. While the students tended to slip at least once each week, they were usually able to regain their balance or suffered only superficial injuries in a minor fall. The researchers also noted that most of the slips and falls occurred while the students were performing everyday activities such as walking.
The researchers concluded that the recklessness of youth may have contributed to the findings in a small way, but the underlying cause of the high fall rate was the inherent instability of moving around on two legs. They said that the reduced fall rate among older individuals was likely due to their increased caution. Senior citizens are likely the veterans of hundreds of falls, and they understand that minor stumbles can cause major injuries.
While most slips or falls may be caused by the physics of walking, others occur due to the negligent behavior of property owners. Personal injury attorneys may initiate premises liability lawsuits against property owners when inadequate maintenance or lax oversight allows a dangerous situation to develop or they fail to address a known unsafe situation.