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Catastrophic Injuries

Catastrophic Injuries

Being catastrophically injured in an accident does not allow a victim to live the normal life that they were used to before the accident or incident. Every day we take for granted our ability to take care of our basic needs and to do the things that we find fulfilling in life, such as taking our kids to the park or going out for a walk in the sun. Catastrophic injury attorneys must have a great deal of compassion and understanding for the myriad ways their clients’ lives have been negatively affected by their accidents.

A catastrophic injury can also leave an individual permanently incapable of performing any gainful work for the rest of their lives. They say that you do not know how to appreciate things until they are gone, and for victims of catastrophic injuries, whose lives have been completely altered, it is all too true. But it is important to know your rights and what to expect as you move forward and face your new life.

What is considered a catastrophic injury?

A catastrophic injury is one that can leave the victim with lifelong medical problems, shortened life expectancy, or permanent disability. Among them are: 

  • Permanent disability or loss of function
  • Inability to work full-time
  • The need for lifelong assistance, care, or accommodations
  • The need for medications for life
  • The need for prosthetics or assistive devices (like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs)
  • Severe scarring or disfigurement
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Amputation
  • Loss of sight (acquired blindness)
  • Loss of hearing (acquired deafness)
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Paralysis

There are three different types of categories of catastrophic injuries: spinal cord injuries, physical injuries, and cognitive injuries.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spine, spinal cord, or brain are some of the most devastating catastrophic injury types. These can lead to paralysis, impaired breathing after injury, and other severe, life-threatening symptoms.

Physical Injuries

Catastrophic physical injuries include the loss of limbs, severe burns, organ damage, amputations, and loss of senses (eyesight, hearing, etc.).

Cognitive Injuries

A brain injury leads to long-term disabilities and motor deficits. Additionally, family members will have to accept and adapt to a new reality. A victim of traumatic brain injuries may be able to cover damages for the symptoms that they are experiencing that can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Vision impairment
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as using scissors or buttoning their clothes
  • Difficulty with cognitive functions that were easy before, such as being able to calculate change at the grocery store 
  • Difficulty with moving objects
  • Muscle stiffness or uncontrolled movements

What is classified as a life-changing injury?

An injury is considered life-altering when it is permanent and substantially interferes with the victim’s ability to complete their regular daily tasks in life, such as bending, using their hands, or even thinking. Catastrophic injuries can also include the loss of any of the senses, such as blindness and deafness. Because of how important the spine, spinal cord, skull, and brain are to a person’s functioning, damage to these or any part of the central nervous system is usually considered catastrophic.

How Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP. Helps Victims of Catastrophic Injuries

There are some factors that will affect how much you receive in damages for your catastrophic injuries. They include the stage of life that the victim is in, the health of the victim prior to the accident, and what their future medical needs are. Prior conditions that were manageable before the catastrophic incident, for example, may be much harder to manage now. The victim’s pain and suffering, which is an umbrella term that encompasses the pain and emotional duress of the injury, will also need to be compensated. 

The injury itself will also determine what type of damages are available to you, such as whether the injured victim lost a limb or is suffering from permanent paralysis. Because these injuries are serious and life-altering, they can often inhibit the victim’s ability to earn a living or perform daily functions. Thus, the compensation for these injuries is usually higher.

Frequently Asked Questions About Catastrophic Injuries 

Although we strive to provide as many answers as possible for your urgent questions, we certainly cannot address everything here. The best thing to do is to contact Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP directly to schedule your free case evaluation with one of our catastrophic injury attorneys, who will be able to advise you further.

Is a broken arm a catastrophic injury?

No. A broken arm can heal. Of course, the victim may suffer lifelong stiffness or earlier onset arthritis or any other number of non-life-threatening symptoms or conditions, but these will not interrupt their life significantly.

However, there are some instances in which broken bones can lead to life-altering complications and could be considered catastrophic in some circumstances. These include:

  • Children’s fractures: When children are injured and suffer broken bones that could stunt their growth or cause disfigurement, then these injuries can be considered catastrophic due to their long-term effects.
  • Acute Compartment Syndrome: This is a true orthopedic emergency and occurs when there is decreased blood flow to the muscles because of increased pressure on them from the traumatic accident.
  • Compound fractures or open fractures: When bone pierces through the skin or causes other severe damage to the surrounding tissues.
  • Comminuted fractures: These occur when the bone has broken or splintered into two or more fragments due to high impact trauma

What are common causes of catastrophic Injuries?

Although catastrophic injuries can be rare, there are some common places and situations in which they occur.

  • Motor vehicle accident: Catastrophic injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents and truck accidents. Trucks moved at very high speeds and have a lot of mass to them, so when they collide with smaller vehicles, the injuries are usually a lot more severe. Motorcycle riders do not have any protection around them as they would in a car or a van, so accidents involving motorcycles tend to be catastrophic.
  • Slip and fall accidents: According to the National Floor Safety Institute and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5% of fall-related fatalities are women and 11% were men. They also report that falls are the number one leading cause of hospital emergency room visits.
  • Sports injuries: When an athlete has been permanently disabled due to a serious injury to the head, neck, or spine, then they can file a claim for their injury against the liable party.
  • Defective products: Design defects, manufacturing defects, and warning or labeling defects can all harm people significantly.

How can a catastrophic injury attorney help me?

Our personal injury attorneys will review the accident report, whether it was written up by the police or by the owner of the premises where the accident happened. We speak with witnesses to find out what happened immediately before the accident and what the response was from relevant individuals that were nearby. For example, if the injury occurred at a business that did not properly warn about a hazard, then employees or other individuals who were at that same business at that same time could be witnesses. We work hard to build a strong claim to prove who is legally responsible for your accident so you can get the full compensation that you deserve. Call us today!

Frequently Asked Questions About Catastrophic Injuries

Although we strive to provide as many answers as possible for your urgent questions, we certainly cannot address everything here. The best thing to do is to contact Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP directly to schedule your free case evaluation with one of our catastrophic injury attorneys, who will be able to advise you further.

No. A broken arm can heal. Of course, the victim may suffer lifelong stiffness or earlier onset arthritis or any other number of non-life-threatening symptoms or conditions, but these will not interrupt their life significantly.

However, there are some instances in which broken bones can lead to life-altering complications and could be considered catastrophic in some circumstances. These include:

  • Children’s fractures: When children are injured and suffer broken bones that could stunt their growth or cause disfigurement, then these injuries can be considered catastrophic due to their long-term effects.
  • Acute Compartment Syndrome: This is a true orthopedic emergency and occurs when there is decreased blood flow to the muscles because of increased pressure on them from the traumatic accident.
  • Compound fractures or open fractures: When bone pierces through the skin or causes other severe damage to the surrounding tissues.
  • Comminuted fractures: These occur when the bone has broken or splintered into two or more fragments due to high impact trauma

Although catastrophic injuries can be rare, there are some common places and situations in which they occur.

  • Motor vehicle accident: Catastrophic injuries are very common in motorcycle accidents and truck accidents. Trucks moved at very high speeds and have a lot of mass to them, so when they collide with smaller vehicles, the injuries are usually a lot more severe. Motorcycle riders do not have any protection around them as they would in a car or a van, so accidents involving motorcycles tend to be catastrophic.
  • Slip and fall accidents: According to the National Floor Safety Institute and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5% of fall-related fatalities are women and 11% were men. They also report that falls are the number one leading cause of hospital emergency room visits.
  • Sports injuries: When an athlete has been permanently disabled due to a serious injury to the head, neck, or spine, then they can file a claim for their injury against the liable party.
  • Defective products: Design defects, manufacturing defects, and warning or labeling defects can all harm people significantly.

Our personal injury attorneys will review the accident report, whether it was written up by the police or by the owner of the premises where the accident happened. We speak with witnesses to find out what happened immediately before the accident and what the response was from relevant individuals that were nearby. For example, if the injury occurred at a business that did not properly warn about a hazard, then employees or other individuals who were at that same business at that same time could be witnesses. We work hard to build a strong claim to prove who is legally responsible for your accident so you can get the full compensation that you deserve. Call us today!

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