Age Groups

Traumatic Brain Injury at Different Ages

brain injury at different ages

How does age affect the brain after a traumatic brain injury? A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen to anyone at any age. However, certain age groups are more susceptible to TBI than others. In fact, the rates of TBI-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits differ greatly among children, adults, and seniors. Know more about brain injury at different ages here. 

Are certain ages more prone to TBI than others?

While anyone can suffer a traumatic brain injury, certain age-related factors may make the condition worse and have a significant impact on one’s life. For example, elderly patients are more likely to suffer from complications after a TBI. This is because the brain tissue of seniors is more fragile and less able to heal properly. In addition, preexisting medical conditions can also contribute to difficulties in recovering from head injuries.

Most people sustain a TBI from falling, being in a motor vehicle accident, or being assaulted. According to research:

  • Falls are responsible for nearly 50% of all TBI-related hospitalizations.
  • Firearm suicides or gunshot wounds are the most common cause of death by TBI in the US.
  • Motor vehicle crashes and assaults are also leading causes of severe head injuries.

TBI in Children, Adults, and Seniors

TBI is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of long-term disability. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 223,135 TBI-related hospitalizations in 2019 and 64,362 TBI-related deaths in the United States in 2020. On average, 611 people are hospitalized and 176 people die each day as a result of TBIs.

TBI-related hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and deaths were most common among people aged 75 years and older, comprising 32% of hospitalizations and 28% of total TBI-related fatalities. A total of 16,070 children aged from birth to 17 years old were hospitalized due to TBI in 2019, and 2,774 died from TBI-related injuries in 2020. 

The CDC also reports that traumatic brain injuries account for 2% of all hospitalizations and 14% of all injury-related deaths among adults aged 18 to 44 years.

Effects of Age on Brain Injury Recovery

Does TBI get worse with age? Unfortunately, severe injuries from a TBI can be long-lasting and often worsen with age. The brain is an incredibly complex organ, and even a minor injury can cause serious damage. In addition, the aging process itself can make it more difficult for the brain to heal after an injury.

One common effect of TBI is cognitive impairment, which can include problems with memory, attention, executive function (i.e., planning and problem-solving), and language. These difficulties and persistent symptoms can make it difficult to return to work or school and can cause problems in relationships.

Cognitive impairment is often worse in older adults because the brain tissue of seniors  is more fragile and less able to heal properly. In addition, preexisting medical conditions can also contribute to difficulties in recovering from a brain injury.

TBIs pose unique challenges to children that differ from those experienced by adults. A brain injury in children, regardless if it’s a severe or mild injury, can hamper a child’s development and normal brain function, and inhibit their ability to take part in school and other activities, like sports.

Consequently, due to a TBI and secondary injuries, kids may suffer changes in healthiness, thinking patterns, and behavior which influences learning abilities, self-control, and social interactions — skills that are integral for leading a successful life as an adult.

Brain Injury Across Age Groups

Age-Related Factors that May Affect the Value of Claim From A TBI

The value of a traumatic brain injury claim may be affected by a number of factors, including:

  • The severity of the brain damage
  • The ability to recover from the brain injury
  • The cost of medical care
  • The impact on the victim’s ability to work and earn an income
  • The need for long-term care

Age-associated risk factors are important to consider when evaluating head injury severity vis-a-vis a TBI claim

The amount of potential financial compensation may also rely on the victim’s age. For example, an elderly victim who suffers a severe brain injury may require treatment options that involve lifelong medical care, which can be very costly. In contrast, a younger victim with a mild head injury and fewer persistent symptoms may have a better chance of making a full recovery.

Another example is that an elderly victim may have a shorter life expectancy than a younger victim, which could impact the value of a claim. If the elderly victim has a poor medical history and does not have many years left to live, their expected future earnings may be lower than someone who is younger. As a result, the value of a claim may be reduced.

Age can also play a role in how juries perceive the victim’s injuries and their effects on normal brain function. An elderly victim with a poor medical history may be seen as more vulnerable and less able to recover from their injuries than a case involving injury in children. This could result in a higher damages award. TBI-related deaths are also worth so much more. 

At this point, it is important to note that age should not be the only factor considered when evaluating a TBI claim. Every case is unique and the value of a claim will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case. If you or a loved one has suffered severe head injuries, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, consult with an experienced brain injury lawyer with expertise in handling brain injury cases. An attorney can help you pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering — all within the statute of limitations set by the state as regards the time of injury. In California, the deadline to file a lawsuit for a brain injury case is typically two years, but if the claims are against the government and public entities, the statute of limitations is six months. 

The California Brain Injury Help Center Is Here For You

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury due to someone else’s fault, the California Brain Injury Help Center is here to help. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys can help you pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

We offer free initial consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so you will not owe us anything unless we recover compensation for you. 

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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