Surviving an accident can leave you with anything from small cuts and scrapes, to a catastrophic injury from which you never completely recover. Whether you were involved in a car accident, you sustained devastating burns in a fire or explosion, or you suffered a head injury from a fall, catastrophic injuries are severe and require life-long medical care and often nursing care just to get through the day.
What are catastrophic injuries?
A catastrophic injury is a severe injury to the spine, spinal cord, or brain, and might also include skull or spinal fractures. This is a subset of the definition for the legal term catastrophic injury, which is based on the definition used by the American Medical Association.
What are a few of the common causes of catastrophic injury?
There are countless potential causes of catastrophic injury. Here are a few examples:
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Falls from height
- Sport and leisure activities
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Faulty medical devices or medications
Examples of catastrophic injuries
Here are some examples of various kinds of catastrophic injuries caused by the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of another individual:
- Traumatic brain injury can lead to life-long cognitive dysfunction, irregular speech and language, emotional difficulties, and limited ability to move their arms and legs.
- Spinal cord injury can result in partial or complete paralysis, respiratory and circulatory problems, exaggerated reflexes and convulsions, chronic pain, loss of bowel and bladder control.
- Serious burn injury can lead to infections, limb loss, disfigurement, and long-term disability depending on the location and degree of the burns.
- Limb loss in an accident can cause significant physical and emotional challenges for the amputee and their loved ones.
- Ruptured kidneys, spleen, liver or bowels from an auto accident or other accident can cause internal bleeding, which can be lethal.
Lifelong costs related to a catastrophic injury
If you sustain an injury which requires ongoing medical care and long periods of hospitalization, you will be unable to work and in some cases unable to take care of your own day-to-day needs. The medical expenses, the cost of regular nursing care and other associated costs can destroy a person financially. Some of those costs consist of:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Continuing treatment
- Visiting nursing care
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Medical equipment such as a hospital bed at home, wheel chairs, a lift
- Costs to retro-fit a home to accommodate a wheelchair
- Lost earnings
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
One of the greatest challenges with a catastrophic injury is that the results of the injury remain long after the accident. An individual that sustained a spinal cord injury might develop respiratory problems long after the injury occurred, or an individual that suffered a traumatic brain injury might seem perfectly normal in appearance, but experiences problems such as blinding headaches, memory loss, as well as cognitive problems which can make it practically impossible for them to maintain a job and to keep up personal relationships.
What is a Catastrophic Injury Claim?
As with all personal injury claims, the person injured is entitled to receive compensation for all expenses associated with the injury and treatment. However, damages in a catastrophic injury case also include future treatment costs. Damages might also include pain and suffering the person has had to endure, and the loss of enjoyment of life.
A catastrophic injury case can be far more difficult to pursue, because of the intricacies of the injury and future prognosis, assessing the decreased quality of life and identifying future needs of the victim.
If you or a loved one has sustained a catastrophic injury immediately pursue guidance from an experienced lawyer. Get in touch with us at the Drake Law Firm for answers to your questions regarding how to properly bring a catastrophic injury case.