Articles Posted in Elderly personal injury

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Elderly Victims
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.

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Growing older presents many obstacles and for the fortunate who live long lives in relative good health, unavoidably there comes gradual losses of independence, perhaps the most difficult of which is giving up the car keys.  The loss of the ability to drive translates into not being able to run to the grocery store, attend church or visit friends without depending on others.  It can often cause panic at the thought, but if safety is compromised by a senior continuing to drive, it becomes a necessary sacrifice.

Often the decision to give up the keys is a joint decision between the senior driver and his or her family.  The senior may be questioning when he or she will reach the point that it becomes inevitable.  Often, the driver may cling to the keys for longer than is wise, and having family and/or friends help ease that transition is crucial.

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There are unique challenges when representing elderly clients in personal injury cases.  Sometimes the injuries suffered in the subject event are discounted by doctors, insurance adjusters and opposing counsel.  Let’s look at the issue of scarring…is if fair that a scar on the body or face of an older individual may be deemed as “worth less” than scarring to a younger person?  The older person may have just as much pride in his or her appearance, and therefore scarring should not be discounted as a damage claim solely due to the age of the claimant.

One area where damages may be legitimately reduced is loss of earning capacity.  The average life expectancy of a plaintiff is used to calculate future wage loss, and obviously an senior citizen is going to have fewer years remaining to earn money than a younger person.  Often an older plaintiff is already retired, significantly reducing this area of economic damage. However, a skilled plaintiff attorney may be able to spin the retirement angle into a compelling argument about how greatly the plaintiff’s “golden years” have been affected by the pain, suffering, anxiety and inconvenience that he or she is dealing with as a result of accident-related injuries.  The plaintiff has worked hard his or her whole life with the expectation of enjoying their post-work life, and any disruption of that enjoyment could be construed as being especially valuable.

Elderly people may experience more serious injuries than younger people due to degenerative conditions, arthritis or osteoporosis.  Additionally, healing time may be longer and treatment may be prolonged.  All of these scenarios could be argued persuasively to increase the “pain and suffering” damages involved with the elderly person’s claim.