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What Is a Catastrophic Injury

Auto collision with bicycle scene

When an injury happens suddenly, with no warning, and leaves the victim with life-altering changes and long-term consequences, it is considered to be "catastrophic." Many people believe that paralysis after a spinal cord injury is the only type of catastrophic injury. There are many different types, with SCI being the most common. Catastrophic injuries often leave victims with loss of hearing, sight, paraplegia, or brain injuries.

Types of Catastrophic Injuries

When looking at catastrophic injuries there are generally classified into three types:

  • Spinal Cord Injuries – Specifically affect the spinal cord, resulting in permanent mobility issues for victims.
  • Cognitive Injuries – Typically the most expensive catastrophic injuries of them all. These brain-related injuries take away the victim's ability to speak, work, or form new life memories.
  • Physical Injuries – Typically include burns, fractures, amputation, or damage to orthopedic tissue.

Examples of Catastrophic injuries include:

  • Head trauma
  • Severe burns
  • Neck injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neurological disorders
  • Paralysis
  • Organ damage
  • Accidental amputation
  • Multiple bone fractures
  • Eye injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Birth injuries

Causes of Catastrophic Injury

There are a limitless amount of catastrophic injury causes. The most common type is auto accidents, specifically ones that involve big rigs or semi-trucks. During the warmer months, boating or jet ski accidents also often cause these devastating injuries. Some other causes of catastrophic injuries include:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Trampoline accidents
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Defective products
  • Sports accidents
  • Fire and explosions
  • Medical malpractice
  • Falls from heights
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Violent crime (gunshot wounds)

Long-Term Impacts of Catastrophic Injuries

After sustaining injuries that are considered to be catastrophic, there are many long-term effects victims have to live with. These effects are so life-changing that they often lead to challenging legal cases that majorly impact the personal injury claim. Some of the most common long-term impacts include:

Loss of Ability to Earn – Some injuries are so severe that they affect the victim's ability to return to work. Some victims can return to their job but have to work in a reduced capacity, which results in a smaller earning potential.

Medical Costs – Catastrophic injuries typically leave victims with significantly high medical bills, especially for those who were hospitalized for several months. Victims may also be required to live in rehab facilities while receiving physical therapy and intensive medical care. Once discharged, victims may still require additional surgeries, at-home care, or assistive medical devices.

Mental Health – When dealing with such unexpected life-altering changes, a victim's mental well-being may be questioned. It's common to see victims of these injuries suffer from depression, anxiety, and even troubles with their sleeping patterns.

Adjusting to a New Way of Life – Managing daily life after a catastrophic injury can leave a significant long-term impact on victims of catastrophic injuries. Victims may sometimes be forced to modify their homes (such as adding lifts or ramps), require transportation services, or have long-term caregivers.

Can I Take Legal Action After Suffering From a Catastrophic Injury?

If the victim can prove the injuries sustained from the accident were due to someone else's negligence, they can sue for excess medical costs and lost wages. If the victims suffered "serious impairments of bodily functions", they may also be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering. Before taking any legal action, it is also recommended to contact a trusted attorney who can help victims gain a full understanding of their case and the legal options they have moving forward.

We Can Help

If you or someone you know has been suffering from the long-term effects of a catastrophic injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Recovering from unexpected injuries can often be a significant challenge, and monetary relief may be able to make the recovery period smoother. Here at Christiansen Trial Lawyers, we have a team of skilled professionals who are experienced in fighting cases like yours and dedicated to getting you the justice you deserve. Let us help you.

Contact us today at (702) 357-9977 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.