At least 3 million Americans are injured in car crashes each year in the U.S. Every car accident is different, but there is little doubt that the elderly have a higher risk of severe or fatal injuries.
Their bodies tend to be more fragile and susceptible to violent injuries in car accidents. They also take longer to recover and are more likely to have complications, such as infections and pneumonia.
Anyone who has been hurt in a car accident caused by another party could benefit from talking to a car accident attorney in Hastings, and should understand the most common injuries that the elderly have in such incidents:
Older Americans have bones that are more brittle than younger people and are more susceptible to fracture. That is why the risk of falls rises as we get older. Bones break more easily and can lead to prolonged recovery times that cause other health problems.
In a car accident, the violent force of the crash can shatter older bones. A common accident injury is a fractured hip, including the top of the femur or the hip socket itself. This may happen when the driver’s knees slam into the dashboard.
Another typical broken bone among older Americans in a car accident is the kneecap. This significant bone can shatter on the dashboard, too.
Broken ribs also are common injuries with the elderly. These are painful and difficult injuries to overcome and can cause serious complications such as pneumonia from lying in bed.
Older people are more susceptible to head injuries in car accidents. They can suffer a traumatic brain injury or severe concussion that can cause permanent disability.
Diagnosing a brain injury can be difficult, and recovering from one can take months or years.
The internal organs of older people are more delicate and fragile than younger people. A violent collision can rupture soft tissues and blood vessels, leading to severe or fatal injuries.
Internal bleeding can be deadly if it is not treated as soon as possible after the accident. An older person should be taken to the ER as quickly as possible to check for blunt force trauma that could cause internal bleeding.
Herniated and Ruptured Discs
Older people may have arthritis in the spine and harder, more inflexible spinal discs. These can rupture or herniate in a crash, which can cause severe pain and limited mobility.
When an older person is limited in mobility, it is more likely they will get weaker and lose muscle mass, leading to falls and other complications. Any major surgery on the back carries a higher risk of infection.
Cuts and Scrapes
Many cuts and scrapes in car accidents are relatively minor, but they can be slow to heal in older people. The elderly have weaker immune systems and can get infections quickly. Even minor cuts and scrapes must be watched closely to ensure they do not get worse.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Not every car accident injury is physical. An older person can more easily suffer from a violent car accident’s psychological effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
A person who went through such an experience can suffer flashbacks, stress, and have difficulty driving or enjoying life for weeks or months. Any mental effect of the accident can affect the physical health of an older person more quickly.
If you are an older American who was hurt in a car accident, it is vital to be carefully checked over by a medical professional after the accident. You also should be rechecked a few days later to ensure that your injuries are not getting worse or something else cropped up.