While there is nothing quite like exploring New York City in the wintertime, the colder, snowier months mean today’s older Americans face higher risks of suffering slip-and-fall accidents and related injuries. Winter in New York means icy sidewalks, puddles of melted water in stores and office buildings and other related seasonal hazards. While younger people may be able to avoid some of these hazards with relative ease, older populations often struggle to do the same.

In fact, today’s older Americans are suffering falls at high rates, with the National Council on Aging reporting that falls have become the leading cause of death, nonfatal injury and hospital visits among seniors. Just how often are today’s older people falling and injuring themselves?

Senior fall statistics

Slip-and-fall accidents have become so common among elderly populations that a senior dies because of fall-related injuries every 19 minutes in the United States, with more than 27,000 older Americans losing their lives due to falls each year. Furthermore, a senior seeks treatment in an emergency room every 11 seconds because of a fall, with the nation’s fall-associated medical costs in 2015 exceeding $50 billion. Why are today’s older Americans so likely to fall and injure themselves?

Fall risk factors

Many seniors have existing risk factors in play that make them more likely than younger Americans to fall and injure themselves. For example, when people age, certain parts of the body typically decline, and individuals may find that they suffer problems relating to vision, mobility, flexibility and so on, all of which can exacerbate the risk of falling.

As people age, they may rely on prescription medications to treat various medical conditions. Some of these can increase the risk of falling. Seniors may find that they are also more susceptible to falls when they are recovering from certain surgeries common among older populations, such as hip replacement procedures.

While exercising care when moving about can reduce the risk of falling to some extent, certain environmental hazards may prove unavoidable, particularly if home and business owners are negligent in taking care of their properties. If an injury occurs due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for medical costs and more.