Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers: Older Adults More Pain Post-Car CrashAugust 11, 2015
There are nearly 36 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States, according to the most recent data provided by the CDC. In 2012, more than 5,560 older adults were killed and more than 214,000 were injured in car crashes, making car accidents the second leading cause of trauma after falls for older Americans. A new study suggests that seniors who sustain relatively minor injuries in car accidents may be at high risk of suffering long term pain that can affect their ability to perform daily activities.
Car accidents are a significant source of injuries among all populations, but researchers wanted to test the lasting effects of minor car accident injuries on seniors. They recruited 161 patients over the age of 65 who had been evaluated and released from the emergency room after being involved in a car accident. Patients with more severe injuries, such as fractures, major lacerations and brain and spinal injuries were not included in the study.
Patients evaluated in the emergency room were asked to describe any pain they were experiencing as a result of the crash as well as their perceived overall health and depressive symptoms before the crash. Emergency room doctors also noted whether the expected time to physical recovery was more than 30 days.
Follow-up interviews were conducted at six weeks, six months and one year after each victim’s accident. During each interview, patients were asked to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10, both overall and in 15 different areas of the body. Those reporting pain severity at a level of four or greater attributed to the car accident at six months were defined as having persistent pain.
Of the 161 study participants, 72 percent reported moderate to severe pain at the initial ER visit. Six months later, more than half were still taking some type of pain reliever and more than a quarter of all the participants indicated they still experienced chronic, severe pain as a result of the motor vehicle accident. Additionally, patients with persistent pain were also more than twice as likely to report a decline in their physical abilities than those without persistent pain. They described finding new difficulties in the performance of daily activities, and many were forced to make a change in their living situation in order to obtain more help.
The researchers concluded that patients with severe pain in the emergency room who were expected to require more than 30 days to recover and who reported symptoms of depression were more likely to develop persistent pain following a car accident. They hope that the findings can be used to help emergency room doctors identify patients at high risk for developing persistent pain. From there, doctors can initiate therapies to prevent the transition from acute to chronic pain in older car accident victims.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Car Accident Victims’ Right to Adequate Care
As this study points out, the lasting effects of a crash can be devastating for car accident victims, particularly if they are of advanced age. For these individuals and their families, it is critical that their Maryland personal injury lawsuit yields maximum awards. At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, our dedicated Baltimore car accident lawyers have successfully obtained more than $100 million for accident victims and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced and highly skilled Baltimore personal injury lawyers or contact us online. Someone is available to answer your questions and address your concerns 24-hours a day.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.