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Personal injury as it affects the older population

Many Michigan residents are beyond age 65 and in good health. Sadly, many people in this age group have chronic adverse health conditions that require daily medication or assistance to help them function. Many of these conditions involve personal injury. Two types of situations often result in severe injuries to the older population: falls and motor vehicle collisions.  

If you suffer an injury when you’re in your 20s and suffer a similar injury in your 70s, your recovery the second time around is likely to be more difficult. In fact, injuries that might not seem so severe in a younger population could become life-threatening to an older adult.  

Motor vehicle collisions often result in chest injuries for elders 

As you age, your bones can become more fragile or brittle. It doesn’t take a lot of force to cause one to break. The strong impact of a motor vehicle collision often results in chest injuries to people aged 65 and older, specifically broken ribs or punctured lungs. If you suffer such injuries in your geriatric years, you are at great risk for secondary complications, such as pneumonia or respiratory failure.  

Lacerations and bruises are slow to heal in elderly patients 

If a child gets a cut or bruise while playing, it typically heals quickly, sometimes within days. The body’s capacity to heal (especially regarding the skin) decreases. If you’re past age 65, you might have noticed that even a small laceration or contusion takes weeks to fully heal.  

When two vehicles collide, it can cause a fire to ignite. If you were to suffer burns in a collision, it could have a devastating effect and might put your life at risk. The older you get, the less percentage of burns over your whole body it takes to be fatal. For example, it would be life-threatening to you as a 75-year-old to suffer burns on 25.9 percent of your body. Five years later, burns over 13.1 percent of your body could kill you.  

Your brain, skull and spine also change as you age 

In addition to broken ribs, those involved in car accidents at an older age are also at great risk for spinal fractures or other spinal cord injuries. Even the dura (outermost membrane covering brain and spinal cord) stretches and tightens with age. This places you at risk for brain hemorrhage if you hit your head against a hard surface.  

Getting the treatment and care you need following a motor vehicle collision 

If you’re an older person or the adult child of a geriatric patient who has suffered injuries in a Michigan motor vehicle collision, quality medical care is greatly needed. Specialized medical support is expensive, especially for those who are older and live on a fixed income.  

When another driver’s negligence has caused a motor vehicle collision resulting in injury, a recovering victim may seek restitution for damages. If a tragedy has occurred and your parent has died because of injuries suffered in a car accident that was preventable, were it not for someone’s negligence, you’re entitled to act on your loved one’s behalf in court.