What Is Considered a Catastrophic Injury?
Were you recently injured in a car accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of your current and ongoing care.
As part of your claim, you’ll need to clearly document the extent of the damages you suffered. These can range from minor cuts and bruises to severe, catastrophic injuries.
A catastrophic injury is one that occurs suddenly, leaving the victim with significant, long-term consequences. Today, we’re discussing this type of injury in greater detail and sharing how a personal injury attorney can help you understand and fight for your rights.
Catastrophic Injury: A Basic Overview
Catastrophic injuries are immediate and life-altering. They happen without any indication or prior warning and leave a permanent impact.
One of the most common types of catastrophic injuries is a spinal cord injury that results in paralysis. However, while paraplegia and quadriplegia are certainly considered catastrophic conditions, they are not the only ones.
Any injury that drastically and dramatically changes your quality of life can fall into this category. Often, catastrophic injuries result in some type of disfigurement or functional disability, requiring long-term care, multiple surgeries, and acute rehabilitation treatment.
The list is broad, and navigating these next steps can be a challenge. A qualified, experienced personal injury attorney will understand how to clearly represent the extent of your suffering, ensuring that you receive the maximum compensation you need as you move forward.
The Different Types of Catastrophic Injuries
There are many different types of injuries that can be categorized as catastrophic. Some of the most common ones include:
- Severe burns
- Organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Skull or spinal fractures
- Birth injuries
- Facial injuries
- Eye injuries
- Crush injuries
- Brain injuries
There are many different types of accidents that can cause catastrophic injuries. From the workplace to the roadway, there are obstacles and threats that exist on a near-constant basis. While there are many different scenarios, car accidents are an especially common cause.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 20 million and 30 million people suffer non-fatal injuries following a road traffic crash. Collisions with large vehicles, including tractor-trailers and semi-trucks, can be especially disastrous.
Car accidents often lead to injuries involving a victim’s neck, brain, and spinal cord. Let’s take a look at these catastrophic injuries in greater detail.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Severe, catastrophic injury to someone’s neck and spinal cord can have devastating, permanent effects. In many cases, these injuries can result in paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Paraplegia is the full or partial paralysis of the lower half of the body. Quadriplegia is paralysis of both legs and both arms. Often, these victims require around-the-clock care to perform everyday activities, including bathing and eating.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
There are many different types of accidents that can lead to a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but car accidents are among the most common.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that TBI is a contributing factor to one-third of all injury-related deaths in the United States. Specifically, an estimated 292,202 people die, are hospitalized, or visit the emergency room each year after experiencing a TBI in motor-vehicle traffic.
A TBI is any type of injury that directly affects how someone’s brain functions. It may be caused by a forceful impact to the head, such as a bump, jolt, or blow. Or, it could result from a penetrating injury to the head.
The three main types of TBI include:
- Mild TBI (Concussion)
- Moderate TBI
- Severe TBI
Like a spinal cord injury, a TBI can leave a victim unable to perform basic functions. They may also experience cognitive and emotional issues, in addition to their physical limitations. Many victims have to re-learn skills they’ve known for most of their life, such as walking, speaking, or brushing their teeth.
Understanding the Long-Term Impact
One of the most significant points to understand about a catastrophic injury is the extent of its impact. With other types of injuries, such as soft-tissue injuries, the victim suffers initially and then progressively heals and gets better over time.
This isn’t usually the case with a catastrophic injury.
When these occur, they often have lifelong repercussions. They also affect more than just the victim, requiring family members to cope with the loss of ability. Often, relatives are required to either hire at-home or residential care for their loved ones or step in and assume the caretaker role themselves.
Then, there’s also the financial aspect to consider. Victims of catastrophic injuries may not be able to return to work. They may also be required to enter into a lengthy rehab program or undergo extensive surgeries. All of these treatments can be expensive, leaving families with a monetary burden to shoulder as well as a physical, mental, and emotional one.
That’s why one of your first decisions after an accident should be hiring a personal injury lawyer. You will need support moving forward, and your lawyer will be with you every step of the way.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
If you or someone you love has suffered a catastrophic injury, it’s important to speak to an attorney. This is especially the case if the accident occurred as the result of another party’s negligence or wilful misconduct.
They work side-by-side with you throughout the complicated legal process, fighting for your rights. Their goal is to ensure that you receive compensation that will appropriately cover your immediate and long-term care, and they can represent you in court if your claim progresses to a trial.
Our team at Alpha Accident Lawyers is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.