Whether from a truck accident, a high-speed crash, or an explosion, catastrophic injuries are devastating. They often require the injury victim to need lifelong medical care or nursing care.
What Are Catastrophic Injuries?
A catastrophic injury is any extreme or serious injury. They usually have a considerable impact on the victim and need extensive medical treatment.
Catastrophic injuries may take months or years to heal. In some cases, the injury victim may not know the full extent of their injuries for a long time. Additionally, the extent of the injury is not just physical but often emotionally taxing.
Catastrophic injuries often affect different body systems:
- The central nervous system
- And others
Legal Definition of Catastrophic Injury
In legal terms, catastrophic injuries include any severe injury to the following:
- Spinal cord
- Or skull
This subset of catastrophic injuries relates to legal terminology and personal injury practice. The legal term catastrophic injury is based on the definition used by the American Medical Association.
What Are Common Causes of Catastrophic Injury?
While just about any serious accident can cause a catastrophic injury, here are some of the most common causes related to personal injury law:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Falling from a high place
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
Who is Liable for a Catastrophic Injury?
If the injury victim was harmed by someone’s intentional recklessness, negligence, or a defective product, you might have grounds for a personal injury claim.
To determine liability for the catastrophic injury, it’s important to look at the unique circumstances of your case. Sometimes, it’s possible for more than one party to be legally responsible for a catastrophic injury.
For example, in a truck accident case, multiple parties are often involved who could be liable. The driver, the trucking company, or the cargo company could all be liable, depending on what caused the accident.
In a car accident where the other driver runs a red light and hits you, the other driver was negligent for failing to follow traffic signals. In that case, they would be liable for your catastrophic injuries.
It’s also possible for the manufacturer of a defective product or drug to be liable if you suffered catastrophic injuries from their product. Whatever the case, you can benefit from consulting an experienced Denver personal injury attorney. They will help you investigate your case to determine all liable parties.
Examples of Catastrophic Injuries
Examples of catastrophic injuries are often caused by another person’s negligence are as follows:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death and disability; TBIs can cause life-changing damage. Any injury that affects how the brain works are considered a TBI. They can range from a concussion to a gunshot to the head.
The injury victim might suffer from long-term cognitive dysfunction, changes in speech and language, emotional changes, and limited mobility.
Spinal Cord Injury
A sudden, traumatic blunt force to the spine can lead to a catastrophic spinal cord injury. The traumatic strike to the spine can fracture, dislocate, or compress the spinal cord. In addition, they often cause changes in strength, sensation, and body functions below the injury site.
Spinal cord injuries can result in complete or partial paralysis, circulatory and respiratory issues, spasms, chronic pain, and incontinence.
Severe Burn Injuries
Severe burns often inflict excruciating pain on the victim. They will need extensive medical care and a long recovery. Very severe burn cases need skin graft surgeries and will face permanent scarring and disfigurement. The degree of disability the victim faces will depend on where the burns are located.
Amputated or Lost Limb
After a severe car crash where a victim gets trapped in the car, run over, or severed, amputating the limb is sometimes necessary. For example, a motorcyclist who gets into a collision and then gets their leg run over by a car might have to get their leg amputated.
Amputations cause tremendous physical and emotional difficulties for the amputee and their families.
Internal Organ Damage
A violent car crash can cause internal organ damage. This often happens from seatbelt trauma or a loose object flying and striking vehicle occupants.
Examples of internal organ damage include ruptured kidneys, livers, spleen, or bowels, and internal bleeding. This is a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate care.
Catastrophic Injury Often Come With Life-long Costs
If you sustain catastrophic injuries that require ongoing medical treatment and long hospital stays, you are likely unable to work. Sometimes, injury victims cannot care for their daily needs and need nursing care to get through the day.
Medical bills, nursing care, and hospitalization can leave people financially devastated. It’s likely a person with catastrophic injuries will need the following:
- Emergency medical care
- Ongoing medical care
- Nursing care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Professional mental health services like counseling or therapy
- Assistive medical equipment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges with a catastrophic injury is that the effects of the injury follow the victim long after the accident. For example, a spinal cord injury victim could be paralyzed forever. Or someone with a traumatic brain injury could appear to be completely normal yet suffer long-term memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.
The lifelong complications often interfere with the person’s ability to work and maintain interpersonal relationships. So rather than suffering in silence and assuming the insurance company will give you enough, working with a skilled attorney is better. That way, you ensure the best outcome for yourself and your family.
Working with an attorney who knows how to calculate the long-term value of your injury claim and medical needs will be able to get you the maximum compensation. Unfortunately, many injury victims don’t know what’s a fair amount or how much they will need to live their life somewhat normally with a catastrophic injury. This is where we can help.
Contact a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Our Denver personal injury lawyers believe in standing up for our clients’ rights. You don’t have to suffer alone if you’ve sustained catastrophic injuries due to someone else’s negligence. We can help you win your case, as we have for countless other clients with catastrophic injuries.
Our experience and expertise can help you win the compensation you deserve. We understand how difficult it is after an unexpected tragic accident. Therefore, we will treat you compassionately and give you the space to grieve and heal. That way, you can focus on recovering while we handle your case.
Contact us today for a free initial case review.