Catastrophic Injuries from a Car Accident
When someone else causes you harm, the amount of compensation you may receive can depend on whether you suffered a minor, serious, or catastrophic injury.
What is Catastrophic Injury?(Definition)
There is a distinct difference between a serious and catastrophic injury. Many types of harm caused by car accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, are considered serious because they lead to a great deal of pain and suffering and medical bills. Brake a leg or an arm and recover filly in a few months while in a car accident and you have suffered a serious injury, but not a catastrophic injury. Catastrophic injuries are more severe, life-altering, life-threatening and one that leads to severe disability or disfigurement.
A disability is a physical or cognitive limitation that makes it difficult or impossible to work. It might be so severe that you require daily or round-the-clock assistance. Disfigurement is a significant negative alteration to your appearance. Disfigurement can be losing an arm or a hand, a leg or a foot, paralysis, or severe burns that affect your appearance.
This type of injury has long-term or permanent consequences in regard to your physical capabilities and your ability to work, live independently, participate in hobbies, have intimate relationships, and fully participate in your family and home life. In sum, it is beyond life altering.
Common Types of Catastrophic Injuries
The most common catastrophic personal injuries include:
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete, which refers to whether there is permanent or partial damage to the spinal cord. A complete spinal cord injury can lead to paraplegia or tetraplegia. The person is paralyzed from the injury site downward. The effects of an incomplete injury vary greatly in type and severity. A person suffering from a spinal cord injury will likely deal with the loss of sensation, loss of movement, sexual dysfunction, inability to control their bladder and bowel, and an increased risk of other medical conditions.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): TBIs range in severity based on the Glasgow Coma Scale which rates a person's eye-opening, verbal, and motor responses, and results in a number of points between three and 15 points. The lower the score, the more severe the brain injury. A score between nine and 12 denotes a moderate head injury and a score of eight or fewer points is severe head trauma. Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI's) are associated with permanent cognitive and physical disabilities, behavior changes, a minimally conscious state, a vegetative state, coma, and even brain death.
- Amputations: A traumatic or necessary surgical amputation can result in the loss of a hand, arm, foot, or leg. Recovering from an amputation can be traumatic in and of itself. First, the surgery site must heal, and it is at a high risk of infection. The victim of amputation will require physical rehabilitation for the use of the affected limb as well as relearn how to perform daily tasks. Amputees often suffer from psychological effects, including depression and PTSD. They also can suffer from phantom pain or phantom limb syndrome.
- Severe Burn Injuries: There are four degrees of burns, with:
a. first-degree burns being the most superficial.
b. second degree burns involve the epidermis and the dermis and look swollen, red, and blistered.
c. Third-degree burns destroy the epidermis and dermis and may reach the subcutaneous layer. The area can look black and charred or white. These burns require extensive medical care.
d. Fourth-degree burns go through the several layers of the skin and into the muscle and bone. All of the nerve endings are destroyed, and feeling is lost in that area. Third and fourth- degree burn victims face significant pain, risk of infection, disfigurement, and long-term physical limitations.
- Car accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries including damage to vital organs, those discussed above and more.
Did You or a Loved One Sustain a Catastrophic Injury?
- Will you heal fully and regain all previous function and feeling in the affected body part, organ, or system?
- Did you sustain a long-term or permanent physical limitation or disability and, if so, is that limitation enough to impact your ability to work or care for yourself?
- Did you suffer a significant alteration to your appearance (burns, paralysis, amputations) that impacts your quality of life, mental health, and relationships with others?
Let a Knoxville Personal Injury Attorney Help You Pursue Damages
If you are dealing with a long-term or permanent disability, disfigurement, or other ailment from a car accident Betz and Baril is standing by to give you and your family the peace of mind necessary knowing you have hired a team of lawyers who have handled over a hundred catastrophic injuries. Betz and Baril will talk with you and review your medical records. Then, we can advise you as to the severity of your injury under the law and how this impacts the valuation of your personal injury claim.