The term ‘older adult’ is often used to describe anyone over the age of sixty-five. People this age and older maintain healthy, active lifestyles today and typically see no need to slow down. However, it is important to be aware of the risks that go along with aging. In addition to an increase in chronic conditions and other health concerns, older adults are more likely to suffer personal injuries. Our Portland personal injury attorneys explain why, the impacts they can have, and your rights in seeking compensation.
Common Causes Of Personal Injuries Among Older Adults In Portland
Older adults today hold important jobs, engage in challenging sports and recreational activities, travel extensively to visit family or friends, and generally maintain a fast-paced and active lifestyle. Considering the large number of aging baby boomers, they have no problem finding others within their age group.
Unfortunately, one area in which they are vulnerable is in terms of accident risks. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are a major problem and impact more than 36 million older adults each year. When they do happen, they can result in serious and potentially life-threatening personal injuries. Other risks that older adults in Portland often face include:
- Car accidents: Over 8,000 older adults are killed in car crashes each year while more than 250,000 suffered personal injuries that required immediate medical care;
- Pedestrian accidents: Other than children, older adults are among the most common victims of pedestrian accidents in Portland.
- Getting struck by or against objects: This can happen at local stores, restaurants, and office buildings, as well as in doctor’s offices and hospitals;
- Medical negligence: Getting quality medical care can be challenging at any age, but is a particular problem among older adults;
- Product defects: As older adults are generally more reliant on medical devices, they are also more likely to suffer personal injuries due to product defects.
Why Older Adults Are More At Risk
In certain types of accidents, such as those that occur due to defective medical devices or personal injuries that happen at hospitals, older adults are more at risk simply due to the fact they use certain products and services more often. However, when it comes to motor vehicle-related crashes, falls, or other types of accidents, natural declines that go along with aging also play a role in increasing personal injury risks.
Even the most healthy older adult is likely to feel the effects of aging. Impaired vision and hearing, reduced reflexes and coordination, heart conditions, issues with blood pressure or sugar levels, and increased reliance on potentially mood-altering medications are all common. These can make older adults more accident-prone. Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that age-related declines, such as more brittle bones and loss of muscle tone, make older adults more at risk for potentially severe personal injuries. These include:
- Severe bruising and muscle strains, sprains, and tears;
- Multiple fractures, particularly those involving the shoulders, ribs, and hips;
- Internal injuries, resulting in damage to body organs and systems;
- Back and neck injuries, such as herniated discs and damage to the spinal cord or column;
- Traumatic brain injuries, which can happen due to any type of bump, blow, or jolt to the head.
Your Rights In Seeking Compensation For Personal Injuries Suffered By Older Adults
Personal injuries that happen to older adults can lead to an overall decline in health. This can result in loss of mobility or certain body functions and may necessitate the need for nursing home care. In severe cases, it can also increase the risk of otherwise premature death.
When these injuries happen due to the reckless and negligent actions of others involved, you have the right to seek compensation either through insurance policies they have in place or by filing a personal injury lawsuit through the Multnomah County Civil Court. Compensation available includes:
- Coverage of current and future costs, including in-home or nursing home care;
- Reimbursement for lost income or other benefits impacted by your injuries;
- Compensation for pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment in life;
- Funeral costs and other expenses, in the event personal injuries prove fatal.
Contact Our Portland Personal Injury Attorneys
At the Johnston Law Firm, we provide comprehensive legal services to older adults and their families, helping them get compensation when personal injuries happen. To request a consultation with our Portland personal injury attorneys, call (503) 546-3167 or contact us online today.