When you hear that someone tripped and fell on flat ground, you probably think, "Well, at least it wasn't a bad fall, right? It would have been much worse from higher up."While it's true that it's far harder to avoid a serious injury from a long fall, short falls can still be quite dangerous -- particularly for older people and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Consider these facts about falls:

  • One out of every five falls causes a serious injury -- including things like broken bones, hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Around 800,000 people are hospitalized due to falls every year -- most of them suffering from broken hips or brain injuries.
  • The vast majority -- 95% -- of hip injuries occur because the victim simply fell sideways.

Falls can be particularly problematic in the elderly because their bones are often more fragile than those of younger individuals. A brain injury from a fall may be worse in the elderly or ill, as well, especially if they're on blood thinners.

Even a fall from standing height can leave victims emotionally scarred by their experience. After a fall that leads to broken bones or other painful conditions, many victims become more hesitant and fearful of falling again. This can drastically affect their overall quality of life as they reduce their general activity level.

Don't discount the severity of your injuries just because you fell from a standing height or a very short distance, like off a curb. Your injuries may be just as serious as someone who fell from a much bigger height -- and the consequences can last a lifetime. You have every right to seek compensation for your losses.

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