Older female driver behind wheel of car.

The season is changing, cooler weather is coming, and all of Florida’s winter residents are headed into town. That means more accidents are likely in Central Florida. As people age, chances of involvement in a car accident increase dramatically. In this age bracket, injuries are probable, and also more serious. Car crashes can lead to catastrophic, and oftentimes fatal, injuries for those over 65 years of age. It’s important to recognize the risks and help mitigate the danger for your aging loved ones.

Why are older drivers more likely to have accidents?

There are a variety of factors that can explain the increase in accidents behind the wheel for those over the age of 65, including:

  • decrease in vision
  • loss of hearing
  • increased reaction times and slower reflexes
  • physical limitations

Unfortunately, families don’t always know when it’s no longer safe for their loved one to operate a vehicle, so older victims are frequently injured or killed on Tampa’s busy roads.

Older drivers are more likely to suffer serious injuries in car accidents.

Because of health changes like bone density, muscle mass, and physical strength, aging adults are far more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car crash. According to the NIH’s National Library of Medicine, the “70 and older” group is twice as likely to die in a car crash when compared to their younger counterparts. The most common injuries reported were chest wall injuries (rib fractures, sternum fractures, and flail chest), with another common injury being traumatic brain injuries.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) occur any time an individual’s head is the focus of significant impact. This happens during a fall, when an object hits a victim, or a vehicle collides with an individual (directly or while in another car). During this impact, the brain experiences trauma (of varying degrees) that causes bleeding, bruising, and/or swelling of the brain tissue. If not relieved, this will put pressure on the brain and can lead to long-term damage. There are a variety of symptoms associated with this damage, including (but not limited to)

  • memory loss
  • headaches
  • blurry vision or loss of vision (can include sensitivity to light)
  • dizziness
  • ringing in ears (tinnitus) or sensitivity to sound
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • changes in personality, emotions, or sleep patterns
  • confusion and difficulty with finding words or retaining new information

While these symptoms stand out in young patients, it can be more difficult to recognize in older victims.

How can I recognize a traumatic brain injury in an older driver?

woman helps elderly man out of car

Would you recognize the signs of a TBI in your elderly loved one?

Because the symptoms of a TBI overlap with many common ailments of aging victims, it’s easy to miss. It’s important that you pay close attention to your aging loved one following a car accident of any kind. Older drivers suffer injuries in even minor collisions, and they require careful monitoring in the days and weeks afterward. If you notice that they’re struggling with any of the symptoms above like inability to complete basic tasks, seeming frustrated or angry (abnormally so), or suffering from physical changes like nausea or lack of balance, you need to seek treatment.

It’s best to have your loved one thoroughly examined following an accident as doctors can be better at recognizing subtle signs of injury and will be able to perform the tests necessary for diagnosis. Prompt treatment is important because certain types of TBIs are linked to Alzheimers or other types of dementia.

In an accident involving an older driver, who should families call?

Was your aging loved one injured because another driver failed to pay attention or behaved recklessly behind the wheel? We know it is both angering and overwhelming. The team at Brooks Law Group is here to fight for your family while you advocate for your loved one and help them heal. We go after the compensation you and your family deserve, making sure you get both justice and financial assistance so you can move forward with life.

Victims trust us to provide caring and compassionate legal services. We carry years of legal experience and knowledge behind our name. Drivers of all ages and their loved ones depend on us to represent them well and stand for them when they can’t stand for themselves.

When you don’t know where else to turn, you can always Look to Brooks. Contact us for your free consultation.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.