Car accidents can range from minor rear-end collisions to high-speed crashes resulting in fatalities. Crashes at higher speeds often end in more significant property damage and severe injuries. Moreover, the physical, emotional, and financial consequences can be overwhelming.
In the worst cases, car accident injuries can leave victims with permanent disabilities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports over 32,000 fatalities and an additional 2 million injuries from car accidents annually. Sometimes, injury victims make a full recovery with appropriate medical care or rehab services. Sadly, however, some injuries don’t heal with time. As a result, some car accident victims are left with permanent disabilities that forever affect their physical and mental lives. In addition, many cannot return to work or find a job after being left permanently disabled from car accident injuries.
When someone is permanently disabled after a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, they might be entitled to compensation. If a reckless, distracted, or drunk driver hit you and caused life-changing injuries, here’s what you need to know.
Car Accident Statistics
Here are some startling car accident statistics that reflect how serious car accidents are:
- Car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 54
- People aged 35 to 64 are the highest population group for those with disabilities from car accidents.
- The US has over 37,000 car accident fatalities per year (Association for Safe International Road Travel)
- Over 2 million suffer injuries or disabilities from car accidents.
- The cost of motor vehicle collisions in the US is $230 billion annually.
- Over 1.2 million adults in the US live with a disability caused by a motor vehicle accident.
- Nearly half (41%) of people who end up permanently disabled after an accident cannot return to work or get a job after the accident.
- Distracted driving is a major contributing factor to accidents in Colorado.
- In 2020, there were 10,166 crashes involving a Colorado distracted driver.
- Of those, 1,476 resulted in injuries and 68 fatalities.
- Over 90% of Colorado drivers self-report having driven while distracted before
Sadly, statistics show that debilitating injuries are the most prevalent for people in their prime working years. As a result, injury victims and their families often suffer a lifetime due to reduced quality of life, less productivity, inability to care for themselves, and feeling lower self-worth.
Liability for Severe Injuries or Permanent Disability
Car crashes happen for many different reasons. The cause of your crash will determine who is legally responsible or liable for your injuries. In some cases, liability is clear, and it’s obvious who is at fault for the accident. However, that’s not always the case. Some car accident situations have unclear liability due to how the accident happened, and sometimes both parties are at fault. Determining liability requires a thorough investigation.
The most common causes of accidents that lead to permanent disabilities include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Violating traffic laws
- Aggressive driving
- Reckless driving
- Accidents in winter weather or poor visibility
What Is Considered a Permanent Disability After a Car Accident?
A permanent disability is an injury that prevents you from performing regular work duties and engaging in typical daily activities. Injury victims often cannot do the daily activities they did before the injury. They are ongoing and life-changing. The degree of disability will determine how or if one can continue to function in daily life and work. Disabilities generally range from partial to complete disability.
Permanent Disabilities and Impairments Common Among Car Accident Victims
The most common disabilities after a car accident are:
- Partial paralysis or total paralysis.
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Crushed or amputated limbs
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Mental and emotional distress or trauma, like PTSD
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Severe burns
- Scarring and disfigurement
Injuries of this caliber don’t just affect the victim. They affect the lives of the victim’s family and support system.
What Are the Consequences of a Permanent Disability?
Any car accident can be potentially devastating. But one that leaves you with life-altering disabilities is unthinkable and particularly tragic. It can adversely affect all areas of your life, from personal to work and quality of life. That’s why it’s so important for injury victims to seek fair compensation for everything they’ve suffered.
Permanent Injury victims often face extensive medical and therapeutic treatment. Additionally, they might incur costs from hospital stays and ongoing or future medical costs. Every case is unique, so each one should need personalized attention. An attorney should specifically evaluate your case to determine the actual value of your losses, damages, and any projected losses for the future, like reduced earning potential. That’s why a skilled Denver personal injury lawyer can be beneficial. They can help you navigate the often confusing and stressful legal proceedings after a catastrophic car accident. Lastly, they can help you establish the extent of damages you’ve suffered and seek fair compensation.
How A Permanent Disability Can Affect Your Life
A permanent disability can change the entire course of your life. Some may need to re-learn daily routine tasks that they used to do without thinking twice. For example, many peo[le are unable to brush their teeth, shower, or clean the house unassisted.
Ongoing Financial Struggles Due to a Permanent Disability
A person who sustains a permanent disability may face long-term financial difficulties. For starters, since they will miss work and potentially not be able to return, their earned income will reduce. While some disabled people can get government income, that’s seldom enough to cover living expenses and maybe a fraction of what they used to earn.
It’s often difficult for people with disabilities to find a job with proper accommodations. While some injury victims can still use their arms and legs, others may experience complete paralysis. As such, the degree of disability will affect your ability to find work. If you used to have a job that required physical labor, you most likely can’t return to that job.
Permanently disability injuries have a lengthy recovery period. Nobody can heal from them overnight or in a short period. It often takes months or years of physical therapy to re-larn basic life skills and meaneuvers. To make matters worse, injury victims will also accumulate medical bills during that time on top of lost wages.
Medical bills are not the only burden that permanently disabled people face. Perhaps they were the breadwinner for their family and now cannot provide as the head of household. Now they are on the hook for paying bills and daily living expenses for their family without income and while disabled. No amount of money can even begin to justify a family’s primary income earner losing their ability to provide for their family. It’s an almost incalculable financial strain for the victim and their loved ones.
Other Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents That Can Lead to Permanent Disabilities
- Motorcycle accidents are notoriously known for causing catastrophic injuries or permanent disabilities for riders. They don’t have the protective barrier vehicle occupants have and are, therefore, more vulnerable to life-changing injuries.
- Truck accidents also have dire outcomes due to trucks’ sheer mass and size. When a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the smaller car will likely suffer extreme injuries or even death.
- Pedestrian accidents happen when a motor vehicle strikes a person. They often happen at crosswalks or intersections and leave people with devastating injuries. While pedestrians are not moving at breakneck speeds, they have no protection from whatever motor vehicle hits them. At high speeds, pedestrians are left with debilitating injuries or lifelong disabilities.
- Bicycle accidents often happen when drivers fail to pay attention and hit bicyclists. Like pedestrians, they have very little protection when struck by a car and are more likely to suffer disabling injuries.
Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
TBI can lead to permanent disability that is physically, emotionally, and financially taxing. TBI happens after blunt force trauma smashes the brain against the skull. The blow to the head and the sudden back-and-forth motion cause trauma to the brain.
Our brain is the central command center, and any injury can lead to severe complications. The scariest part about a TBI is that it can go undetected in some cases. A person might have a TBI and not even realize it for weeks after the accident. Getting immediate medical care is crucial, even if you believe you’re not seriously injured. Common symptoms of TBI include:
- Chronic headaches
- Bouts of unconsciousness
- Feeling extremely tired
- Sleep disturbances that you didn’t have before
- Sudden loss of coordination
- Sudan onset of confusion
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sudden mood swing
- Personality changes
- Speech problems that occur suddenly after the accident.
TBI’s permanent mental and emotional effects can be just as harrowing as physical ones. Many TBI victims find that they have no control over their emotions after the injury. Consequently, they may become socially isolated and develop mental health issues.
Car Accidents and Physical Paralysis
Paralysis happens with a complete loss of function in a given body area. The result is permanent impairment due to the inability to feel or use certain body parts. Paralysis is the most severe type of permanent disability for car accident victims.
People who experience paralysis become paralyzed, losing sensation and control in the affected area. Losing sensation and being unable to move can completely disrupt one’s life. They must learn how to live a completely new life, with limited sensation and movement. It can be excruciating, traumatic, stressful, and financially burdening.
Spinal cord injuries are the most common cause of paralysis after car accidents. Depending on which part of the spinal cord you injure, the victim can suffer different paralysis. Paralysis is generally referred to in four different categories:
- Monoplegia: one paralyzed limb
- Hemiplegia: arm and leg on one side of the body are paralyzed
- Paraplegia: part of the lower body and both legs are paralyzed
- Quadriplegia: both the arms and legs are paralyzed
Some Permanent Disabilities Are Less Obvious
Sometimes, permanent disabilities are less visibly conspicuous. Injury victims can retain physical health but suffer life-altering emotional, mental, or cognitive trauma from the accident. They might require long-term counseling or therapy to cope with their distress.
It’s also possible for people experiencing emotional pain and suffering to feel a reduced quality of life. Such disabilities should never be overlooked or minimized, as they, too, can have a drastic effect on the victim’s life.
Can I Seek Compensation for a Permanent Disability?
Permanent disability can completely change the victims’ and their families lives. The costs are incredibly high and not just financial. An experienced Denver car accident lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim.
You can recover the damages you suffered from your injury through the claim. The financial compensation will help you recover and get your back as close to normal as possible. Damages you might be able to recover from a personal injury claim include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning potential
- Loss of future income
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Contact a Denver Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you suffered an injury that left you with a permanent disability due to someone else’s negligence, you need solid legal representation. For example, we understand how traumatic a car accident can be especially if you are left with a permanent disability.
You may be eligible for financial compensation, so take steps to protect your legal rights. Rather than relying on insurance companies to make a settlement offer, it’s best to consult a legal professional to help you plan a winning strategy. Insurance companies often try to lowball injury victims and minimize payouts.
Your rights and recovery matter to us. That’s why we will fight tirelessly to get you what you deserve.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation.