2 common fall injuries that are especially serious for seniors

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Car Accidents |

Whether it’s slipping and falling on a wet floor or being struck by a reckless driver, the severity of injuries often depends on a person’s age. Some types of injuries are particularly serious – and in some cases end up being fatal – for those in their 60s or older.

Let’s look at two types of injuries that are particularly common in a fall that can have catastrophic consequences for seniors.

Traumatic brain injuries

These injuries, known as TBIs, can occur any number of ways. For older people, they most often occur when they strike their head during a fall. In fact, over 80% of senior TBIs are the result of falls. Why are they more serious for older people? One word: shrinkage.

As people age, their brains (like their bodies as a whole) shrink somewhat. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any less smart or have less cognition. It does mean that there’s more space between the brain and the skull that surrounds and protects it. Further, the veins between the brain and the skull shrink. 

These changes increase the chance of a subdural hematoma, in which blood pools in the brain, if someone suffers a TBI. If diagnosed and treated immediately, there’s less chance of it becoming fatal. That’s why no matter how minor a fall might seem, if someone strikes their head, they should get emergency care.

Hip fractures

Fractures of all kinds are more common as people age and their bones become frailer and less dense. Hip fractures, which most often occur when someone falls on their side, can be particularly catastrophic to a person’s overall health. 

You may have heard that a hip fracture increases a senior’s chances of dying within the next year. It’s not that the fracture itself causes them to die. It’s the overall changes that are necessarily in their lives. 

A senior who suffers a hip fracture often requires surgery, hospitalization and rehabilitation. They may require a wheelchair, walker or other mobility device for the first time. They’re more likely to stay home – partly because they’re afraid of falling again. Their mental and physical health deteriorate.

Of course, that outcome isn’t preordained. With good medical care, rehabilitation and physical therapy, a broken hip and other injuries don’t have to mean permanent disability or a too-early death. That’s just one reason why it’s important to hold the party(ies) responsible for a dangerous condition that caused the injury. This can help you get the compensation you deserve.