The Elderly Face High Risk of Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused by Falls


April 28, 2014

Most people are surprised to learn that falls are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Senior citizens are particularly prone to suffering severe head trauma in slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. A third of our senior (over 65) population in the U.S. suffers a serious fall accident according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fifty percent of the elderly who suffer fatal falls experience serious TBIs. CDC data also reveals that the danger facing seniors of being involved in a fall increases to 50-60 percent each year once a person reaches the age of 75.

Changes in the physiology of seniors contributes to serious head injuries

Physiological changes in the brain of the elderly play a role in the increased likelihood of seniors suffering a traumatic brain injury when they fall. The human brain shrinks in mass as we age so the space between inner surface of the skull and outer lining of the brain increases. This space inside the skull is filled with tiny fragile blood vessels. During a fall this increased space permits more momentum and force of impact when the soft outer tissue of the brain collides against the hard bony internal surface of the skull. An elderly fall victim may suffer bruising to the brain, trauma to the brain and severing of the tiny blood vessels. When the blood vessels are severed or trauma occurs to the surface of the brain, it may result in bleeding into the space between the brain and skull causing serious brain injury and life-threatening pressure imposed on the brain.

Seniors are more susceptible to fall accidents

While these physiological changes to the brain explain why falls involving seniors tend to result in more serious injuries to the brain, the likelihood of a fall is also higher for seniors. Seniors may be less steady on their feet or become dizzy when standing quickly from a sitting position. Many seniors also take medications that may make them lightheaded and affect their equilibrium. Medications taken by seniors like antihypertensives may have side effects like a dramatic decline in blood pressure when a senior quickly goes from a sitting to a standing position.

Traumatic brain injuries may pose hidden health risks

Tragically, some elderly TBI victims do not receive prompt enough medical attention because they do not exhibit obvious symptoms that suggest a severe head trauma. The reality is that head injuries including a TBI may not manifest immediate severe symptoms. When an elderly loved one slips and falls so that his or her head strikes the floor or the hard surface of a bathtub or sink, the slip and fall victim may not exhibit obvious symptoms until after the bleeding from the blood vessels in the skull begins to cause pressure on critical areas of the brain.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For You

If you or someone you love has suffered a serious head injury in a slip and fall or other type of accident, our experienced Atlanta Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys provide a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and the possibility of assisting you in in seeking compensation for those injuries. Montlick and Associates has been representing those who suffer brain injuries in all types of accidents for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.