According to the American Medical Association, a catastrophic injury is a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord, or brain, and may also include skull or spinal fractures.
Certain accidents, by their very nature, are severe and result in injuries so atrocious, they are defined by law as "catastrophic."
Catastrophic injuries can be caused by any number of different circumstances and can leave a person suffering from permanent disabilities, long-term medical problems or a reduced life expectancy.
Common types of catastrophic injuries
Catastrophic injuries can cover a wide range of damages varying in complexity. We are qualified to take on such complex cases. The following are some examples of catastrophic injuries and the effect may have on victims:
- Traumatic brain injury. The most common causes of a traumatic brain injury are motor vehicle accidents and slips or falls. The impact to the neurological system can be debilitation, and sometimes brain injury can have a dramatic effect on the victim's quality of life.
Even a seemingly minor head injury can require long time rehabilitation and others may never fully heal. This category of injury can be especially difficult for families, as the victim may have memory loss and severe emotional issues which can be incredibly difficult to cope with.
- Burn injury. Burn injuries do not only occur after being exposed to a fire, but they may also be caused by electricity, friction, car accidents, radiation or chemical substances. First and second-degree burns can be extremely painful. Third degree burns damage all layers of the skin, while fourth-degree burns may involve bone and muscle damage. Burn injuries can leave severe scarring; the majority of burn victims also suffer from emotionally and psychological distress.
- Neck and spinal cord injury are often debilitating. The spinal cord is in charge of sending messages from the brain to all parts of the body. The result of spinal injury is a partial or total loss of sensation and mobility, and that's likely to have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life. A spinal cord injury closer to the neck will cause paralysis throughout a larger part of the body than one in the lower back area. In extreme cases, the victim might even be left in a coma or vegetative state, incapable of communicating with the outside world.
- Broken bones or amputation of a limb. Many types of fractures or amputations result from car accidents. These orthopedic injuries can severely affect a person's quality of life and ability to earn a living. They can also require expensive medical treatment and lengthy recovery. Unfortunately, some limbs may ultimately require amputation to save the patient life. This can lead to anxiety and emotional fallout of having to face the unwanted challenge of learning anew how to perform routine tasks, all while facing depression.
- Trauma to internal organs. Because there are not always outward symptoms to warn out, internal injuries may be sometimes deadly. When a car hits a fixed object or when vehicles strike each other, the body is not able to safely absorb the force, resulting in internal bleeding, organ damage or other internal injuries. For example, those who sustain internal injuries in a car crash may suffer from pneumothorax, damage to the liver, kidney damage, blood vessels injury or lung puncture. Internal injuries can leave a person dealing with severe long-term debilitating effects.
- Eye injuries. After a catastrophic accident, the wounds and inflammation may cause blindness or blurred vision. Loss of sight in one or both eyes is a severe impairment that can be permanent and irreparable. Some of the most common causes of loss of vision are car accidents, head trauma, injuries from sharp objects, chemicals, and electric shocks. Eye injury is a blow to the victim and often requires expensive specialized treatment and medical rehabilitation.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event, experienced or witnessed. It may occur after a victim is involved in a workplace accident, after a car accident, or any other traumatic event. A serious accident may have psychological consequences. The symptoms of PTSD can cause significant problems in social situations, relationships and work activities.
Recovering compensation from a negligent party
Healing from a catastrophic injury can be a complex, long-term and expensive process. Victims may need multiple surgical or rehabilitative procedures resulting in long-time hospitalization. Treatment requires ongoing care for physical and emotional scars, and the pain can last a lifetime.
Another important side of living with a catastrophic injury is handling the loss of wages and also future wages. If someone else's negligence caused your catastrophic injury, then you may be able to recover compensation for your expenses and other damages by making a personal injury claim.
At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we have successfully represented clients in cases where they sought substantial damages after being catastrophically injured in many types of accidents, including:
- Automobile and Motorcycle Accidents
- Trucking Accidents
- Product Liability
- Premises Liability
- Medical Malpractice
We can help you and your family, recover compensation for the damages experienced including lost income, mental anguish, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost future wages, permanent disability, and medical bills.
Why is it important to have a personal injury lawyer in catastrophic injury cases?
The legal process is complex and often strongly contested by many lawyers and insurance companies involved. A personal injury lawyer knows the tactics used by insurance adjusters to downplay serious personal injuries. Because of the burden of proof, of enormous costs, and high damages involved in a catastrophic injury case, it is important to work with an experienced attorney. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, you can find an unsurpassed level of experience and skill when it comes to catastrophic injury cases. If you have experienced a catastrophic injury, contact us to schedule a free consultation.