You should know these facts. Studies show that senior Americans are more likely to be injured, and seemingly minor accidents are more serious on aging bodies. Many seniors do not get the compensation and justice they deserve because even when the accident is a result of abuse or neglect, personal injury lawyers often undervalue these injury claims.
If you or a person close to you has been injured through someone’s fault, you should know how senior injuries occur, what prevents lawyers from getting you the compensation you deserve, and how to choose the right senior injury lawyer for your case.
How do senior injuries occur?
Senior injuries occur for many reasons. According to the National Safety Council, people over 65 have the highest mortality rate in injuries from traffic accidents, falls, medications, defective products, nursing home abuse and negligence, medical malpractice, and other misfortunes.
Why are senior injury cases so complicated?
Many lawyers are less eager to take senior injury cases for the following reasons:
- Preexisting conditions: Insurance adjusters will scour your medical records for prior health complaints. Do you have back pain? Normal wear and tear in the aging spine is usually characterized as “degenerative disc disease” and almost everyone over age 40 has some signs of it.
Do your medical records show physical or emotional complaints before your new injury occurred? Insurance adjusters look for reasons to say your injuries are pre-existing so that they do not have to pay you for being injured. Utah law says you should be compensated for the difference an injury makes in your life, even if you already have health problems. This means that you can still be entitled to medical care and compensation if your quality of life has been affected even more by the new injury, despite the preexisting condition.
- Serious injuries from minor events: For the elderly, serious and disabling injuries can happen from a simple fall, fender bender, or other “minor” accident. Don’t be deterred by insurance adjusters and defense lawyers who say you couldn’t have been hurt. Seniors are more prone to experiencing injuries from these minor accidents and it can take a long time to recover from them. The law recognizes these truths.
- Medicare: Medicare can place a “super lien” on injury awards for medical expenses it pays. What this means is that you can end up paying most of your settlement check back to Medicare for medical bills. While you are in the process of trying to get your case settled, Medicare is paying for treatment you’re receiving for your injury. Federal laws require notice to Medicare of injury settlements so the agency can claim the money back. Medicare laws sometimes require “set-asides” of money for future medical expenses. We have settled senior injury cases under these rules and know they are difficult and tricky. If your injury lawyer does not follow these laws precisely, you could lose your Medicare benefits.
Ask questions and make sure your lawyer understands these Medicare laws, so you aren’t disqualified from Medicare. Ask your lawyer how experienced he or she is with senior injuries. A good senior injury lawyer knows which cases should be pursued and how to present more compelling claims for injuries to frail and imperfect bodies.
Why you should hire us to handle your senior injury case
As a Utah lawyer with 40 years of experience in both injury law and elder law, I have a lot of insight, knowledge, and expertise in handling senior injury claims.
Younger or less experienced lawyers may not understand how vulnerable you are to “minor events” and “slight injuries.” Some lawyers are “too busy” and don’t have the time to give your case the attention it deserves. When I began my practice in the early 1980s’, my partners and I learned to treat each case differently. Senior injury cases need careful, specialized legal and personal attention, which we give to each case.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury, neglect, or abuse, contact our office for a free case evaluation to see how we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. You won’t pay legal case unless you win your case.