Traumatic Brain Injuries in Elderly Victims Present Unique Concerns
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can be serious, life-altering injuries. Traumatic brain injuries in elderly victims present unique concerns. The most severe traumatic brain injuries can leave the victim with lifelong disabilities and restrictions, even if the victim was previously young and healthy. When a person of advanced age suffers a TBI in a personal injury accident, the harm done can present unique challenges and concerns for the victim and his or her attorney. If not properly addressed during the investigative stage of the case, the elderly TBI victim may find the amount requested as compensatory damages reduced or even denied altogether.
TBI victims who are over the age of 40 years should seek legal assistance from a personal injury attorney who understands the effects that age and other conditions that frequently occur among older individuals can have on the brain when these are combined with a TBI. In doing so, older TBI victims can maximize their potential compensation award.
Special Concerns Amongst Older TBI Victims
The brain is a marvelous and fascinating organ that can be irreparably damaged as a result of a TBI. A TBI may result in the death of brain tissue, which can in turn affect the victim’s ability to return to his or her “normal” life. Some of the issues that are commonly present in TBI injury cases involving an older victim include:
- The effects of age on the outcome of the TBI: In short, the older a person is, the poorer the expected outcome after a TBI injury. The brain loses some ability to heal itself and restore brain functioning as the person ages. Older TBI victims also tend to experience a higher rate of disability and placement in nursing homes. A lawsuit seeking compensation should take these adverse effects into account.
- The combination of age and TBI: As individuals age, their brains tend to atrophy or decay. A TBI may advance or aggravate the rate of decay in older TBI victims. You are not entitled to compensation for any brain atrophy that occurred naturally prior to the TBI; however, atrophy attributable to the TBI can establish the severity of your injuries and thus affect your compensation award. It falls to you, the TBI victim, and your attorney to present evidence that distinguishes naturally-occurring atrophy from atrophy attributable to the TBI. An experienced TBI attorney should be aware of this burden and should have the medical experts and resources necessary to meet it.
- The interplay between Alzheimer’s/dementia and TBI: TBI is believed to be a risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s later in life. Where an older TBI victim had dementia or Alzheimer’s prior to the TBI, expert medical testimony and evidence may be necessary to establish the aggravation of any preexisting condition attributable to the TBI.
A skilled TBI attorney familiar with these issues should be able to weave together a narrative using expert medical testimony, the TBI victim’s medical records, and the observations and insights of the TBI victim’s loved ones (who know what the victim was like before the TBI and who have helped the victim after the TBI) to describe how the TBI has negatively impacted the victim’s life above and beyond the impact caused by advanced age or a preexisting condition. Traumatic brain injuries in elderly victims require the assistance of a skilled Sacramento Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer.
Seek Counsel from an Experienced TBI Attorney
Image Attribution: Public Domain Images, via Wikimedia Commons (Elderly.jpg)