A catastrophic injury is one that changes a person’s life by leaving them with permanent damage. These direct and proximate consequences often impact long-term and short-term functional capabilities.
If your injuries caused a deformity or are debilitating as a result of someone else’s actions, you may have grounds for a lawsuit and settlement. The team at Halunen Law understands the loss and hardship that these injuries cause. Our dedicated attorneys fight to ensure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Events Leading to Catastrophic Injuries
These injuries can be the result of a wide range of circumstances. Many of them involve the negligence of other individuals.
- Drunk driving accidents
- Premises liability
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Work-related accidents
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
Proving negligence can be challenging. You must show that not only did the person or entity owe you a duty of care, but also that they breached that duty and caused your injuries.
Types of Catastrophic Injuries
There are typically three different types of life-altering injuries: cognitive injuries, physical injuries, and back, neck, and spinal cord injuries.
Traumatic brain injury is not only devastating for the injured but also friends and family. It can take away an individual’s ability to form new memories, work, or speak. The brain is the central control of your whole body. When it sustains damage, your entire system could shut down, causing headaches, intense pain, paralysis, and loss of coordination. You may lose your memory or vision and experience a change in personality.
There are several ways a brain can suffer damage, producing mental function impairments.
- Brain swelling may follow trauma. The swelling cuts off blood supply to compressed areas of the brain. This can result in damage and death.
- Blunt force trauma to the head could be the result of a penetrating injury, such as a gunshot wound or a depressed skull fracture. It could also be the consequence of a concussion occurring from a fall or a jolt to the head.
- Hypoxemia and anoxia are conditions in which there is low or no blood oxygen to the brain. This could be caused by smoke or carbon monoxide inhalation, low or absent blood pressure, and drowning.
- Toxic brain injuries occur when environmental hazards, pesticides, chemical fumes, and other noxious substances are inhaled. They cause harm by preventing the brain from maintaining healthy oxygen levels.
A brain injury takes a huge emotional toll on the survivor as well as those around them. Loss of mobility or cognitive limitations may require around-the-clock care and a full-time caregiver. A spouse or parent may need to quit their job or hire a caretaker.
Not only do these injuries cause significant pain and suffering, but they also have lasting, long-term effects. Some of the most common physical injuries include:
- Amputation as a result of extreme harm or severe infection. The consequences can permanently alter your life.
- Burn injuries vary in severity and cause. The skin could be irreparably damaged, affecting the nerves, muscles, and tissues. Scarring and irreversible damage may never completely heal. Such disfigurement often leads to anxiety, depression, and similar conditions.
- Internal organ damage, such as punctured lungs, can cause internal bleeding. When not treated swiftly the injury can cause complications and fatalities.
- Severe fractures, especially if the bone breaks through the skin or shatters into three or more pieces, often require multiple surgeries, physical therapy, and other measures to help you return to your life. This can take years and include medical equipment and long-term care.
Paralysis acquired blindness, and loss of hearing as a result of injuries are also considered catastrophic physical injuries. Secondary, less visible conditions issues may also occur, such as UTIs and neuropathic pain. The lasting effects of this damage are not only physical but also emotional.
Back, Neck, and Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries often occur as the result of an automobile accident or fall. While most sprains and strains can be resolved with chiropractic treatment or physical therapy, severe injuries affect mobility and are accompanied by persistent pain.
Herniated discs and fractured vertebrae can result in pain radiating throughout the body, as tissues and nerves may be affected. Back pain after an accident or a fall can indicate that the damage is more severe than it initially seems. Herniated discs can cause pinched nerves and pain in the back, down the legs, and along the neck and arms. Fractured vertebrae can cause the bones to slide away from each other or push together. Each causes pain and conditions that require medical care.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord consists of nerves and tissue that run from the base of your brain, down your back. The spinal column is made up of 33 rings of bone and spinal fluid, which protect the spinal cord. This conduit allows communication from your brain to muscles, nerves, and organs. It’s how the body moves when needed and why it can feel pain.
The severity and location of the spinal injury determine the amount of movement the body retains. There are four regions of the spinal column:
- Sacral vertebrae – Pelvic region
- Lumbar vertebrae – Lower back
- Thoracic vertebrae – Chest/dorsal region
- Cervical vertebrae and spinal nerve roots – Neck area
The disruption or destruction of communication between the brain and the rest of the body can lead to paralysis, starting at the injury site or over-responsive reflexes. Damage at the cervical vertebrae is typically the most severe. These injuries can result in permanent partial or complete loss of sensory function below the neck and shoulders. As they are high on the spinal cord and closer to the brain, these injuries are often fatal.
Compensation for Catastrophic Injuries
The direct costs for medical care and treatment are significant. However, the financial implications of a catastrophic injury go far beyond medical expenses. Lost wages, modifications to your home and car, qualified caretakers, and costly medical equipment can affect the entire family.
The emotional, financial, and physical impact of a catastrophic injury can be devastating. As a result, recoveries for damages are generally higher for catastrophic injuries than for typical personal injury cases. We work through the legal process and fight on your behalf to get the justice you deserve and a settlement that can provide security and financial stability in the face of lifelong costs and losses.