Car crashes can cause all kinds of injuries, some of which are objectively more severe than others. People can hit their heads and develop traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or suffer spinal cord injuries that forever alter their lives.
Compared with those catastrophic injuries, a broken bone may seem like a relatively minor medical concern. In reality, broken bones can be debilitating and expensive, especially when they are particularly bad fractures. Some people break their bones in multiple locations or suffer a compound fracture where the bone pushes through the skin.
Even a standard fracture could lead to weeks of physical limitations and lost wages. Some people tend to have a harder time recovering from broken bones after a car crash or are more likely to develop severe fractures with long-term consequences. Adults over the age of 55 may be at elevated risk for complications triggered by broken bones after a motor vehicle collision.
How age affects fracture risk
There are numerous reasons why fractures are a bigger safety concern for older adults. Reduced physical strength and bone density as people age is one consideration. Many older adults simply do not have the bone density that they did when they were younger and are more inclined to break a bone during a crash than a younger person who experiences a similar level of force.
When a fracture occurs in an older adult, it is more likely to be a major fracture with the bone breaking in multiple places. Comminuted fractures can leave older adults in the hospital for months struggling to recover after surgery. They may also need extensive rehabilitative support to regain strength and range of motion.
Healing can simply take longer because older adults may have lower-functioning immune systems. Those immunological limitations can also be an issue during treatment, as older patients may be at elevated risk of an infection. Older adults with broken bones caused by car crashes need to understand the degree of risk involved when receiving medical care and handling insurance claims.
In some cases, a seemingly simple injury could cost far more than liability car insurance can cover. Older adults sometimes need to consider a personal injury lawsuit against the party at fault for a crash when an injury forces them into early retirement, leaves them hospitalized for months or permanently alters their functional abilities.
Understanding how personal characteristics, like age, and seeking legal guidance accordingly can influence injury risk may benefit those involved in a car crash.